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CAMPBELL BROWN

Health Care Loophole; Tiger Woods Steps Back From Golf

Aired December 11, 2009 - 20:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Breaking news: Tiger Woods taking a -- quote -- "indefinite" leave from golf. We will have up-to-the-minute details.

A Capitol Hill whodunit -- who slipped a line into the Senate health care bill that could cut off your coverage right when you need it most?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really caught patients-rights advocates off guard.

BROWN: Plus, reining in Wall Street cowboys.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're sending a clear message to Wall Street. The party is over.

BROWN: The House takes a major step towards sweeping reform, giving Washington the power to break up too-big-to-fail firms. Republicans war it goes too far, setting up a permanent bailout fund.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people say no more bailouts. It does not work.

BROWN: Will it stop another massive Wall Street collapse?

Also, a CNN exclusive: terror across the border.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Since the killings this afternoon that we saw, there's already been another homicide.

BROWN: Michael Ware out on the streets of Juarez tracking lives lost in a raging drug war.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hi, everybody.

We're going to start as we always do with the "Mash-Up." We are watching it all, so you don't have to.

And our top story tonight, breaking news. Golf legend Tiger Woods has just announced he's taking an indefinite leave of from the sport that made him a star. Woods of course is embroiled in this sex scandal that just keeps getting bigger. Well, he announced his decision on his Web site tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: He goes on the say: "After much soul- searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father and person. Again, I ask for privacy for my family.

CHARLES GIBSON, HOST, "WORLD NEWS": Woods has not been seen in public for two weeks since he was involved in an accident outside his home and reports surfaced of his extramarital affair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With Tiger's reputation in free fall, down 24 percent by some estimates, experts say sponsors still have to honor their contracts, whether Tiger's hurting their brand or not. Almost every day, another self-described mistress comes out of the woodwork.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It kind of became clear to me that Tiger was interested. I didn't know how far it would lead. The more we drank, the more, I guess, flirtatious we got. So, it just -- it kind of went from friendly conversation in the nightclub into -- back into his hotel. I got nothing out of this relationship but a broken heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You loved him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And stay with us for much more on this breaking story tonight. We are going to have the latest developments and analysis about what this means for his career as well.

Turning to Washington, where today, the House passed a massive bill to reform the financial industry, the goal, of course, to prevent another meltdown.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The legislation would give government new powers to break up companies that threaten the economy and it would impose more oversight on the largest banks and Wall Street financial firms.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are sweeping reforms, the biggest changes to financial system regulation since the Great Depression. This bill would create a new consumer financial protection agency. This was something that Wall Street lobbied hard against. And it would make these companies pay into their own bailout fund.

BLITZER: It passed by a party-line vote. Lawmakers used the vote as an opportunity to argue about the merits of extending the Wall Street bailout, also known as TARP. REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Let's do the right thing for the American people. They are already saying enough is enough. Let's end TARP. Let's pay down the deficit.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Will someone tell the minority leader, it ain't over until it is over on Main Street, all throughout America?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The bill now heads to the Senate.

And moving on now to Pakistan and new details tonight about the five Americans under arrest on suspicious of terrorism, a developing story that just gets stranger.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: We are learning more about the suspects and their journey from Washington, D.C., from the area around Washington to a jail cell in Pakistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ramy Zamzam was a dental student at Howard University, Umar Farooq an accounting major at George Mason University. Waqar Hassan Khan worked briefly at this UPS facility in Alexandria, but was fired last year after police arrested him for allegedly stealing packages.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This Pakistan politics interrogation report, which contains the men's passport information and pictures of laptops and mobile phones confiscated when they were arrested in this house. Seized computer files suggest the group had reached out to a terrorist operative through the Internet.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mustafa Abu Maryam, youth coordinator for the local chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America, has known these five young men for years. He says, in his dealings with them, they were interested in basketball, swimming, helping out at mosque functions, never in conflict or politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: A spokesman for the Virginia mosque says it will conduct its own investigation into the arrest of the five men.

Turning now to the war in Afghanistan and strong words from President Obama in an interview with "60 Minutes." He's defending his decision to start withdrawing troops in 2011.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE KROFT, CBS CORRESPONDENT: There are people that say, why set a deadline, I mean Senator McCain most prominently?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right. And the answer is that, in the absence of a deadline, the message we are sending to the Afghans is, it's business as usual, this is an open- ended commitment.

And, very frankly, there are, I think, elements in Afghanistan who would be perfectly satisfied to make Afghanistan a permanent protectorate of the United States, in which they carry no burden, in which we're paying for a military in Afghanistan that preserves their security and their prerogatives.

That's not what the American people signed off for when they went into Afghanistan in 2001. They signed up to go after al Qaeda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The president said he's counting on Afghan forces to take over security when American troops begin to pull out in 2011.

Over to South Carolina, where long-suffering Jenny Sanford is finally giving her philandering husband the heave-ho. She's announced she's filing for divorce from the governor six months after he admitted to an affair with a woman in Argentina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Jenny Sanford governor says, their many attempts at reconciliation were unsuccessful.

GIBSON: The governor says, "I want to take full responsibility for the moral failure that led us to this tragic point."

BRIAN WILLIAMS, HOST, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": He's facing censure from state legislators there, continuing calls to step down, though he says he will not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican governor says he was hoping for a different outcome. He calls his wife a remarkable mother and first lady.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Lousy week for Governor Sanford. Wednesday, the South Carolina legislature censuring for bringing -- quote -- "ridicule, dishonor, disgrace, and shame" to his state. On the plus side, he did manage to avoid impeachment.

And that does bring us to the "Punchline," courtesy tonight of Mr. Conan O'Brien, who had his eye on Oslo yesterday. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN": President Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize today in Norway, and the audience included Will Smith and Wyclef Jean, yes, yes. Wyclef Jean, yes.

No, it truly was a historic day, because, for the first time ever, there were three black guys in Norway. That's never happened.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Conan O'Brien, everybody. That is the "Mash-Up."

Still ahead, tonight's breaking news. Tiger Woods takes an indefinite break from professional golf. We are going to talk about that.

And then, later, Washington tells Wall Street the party is over. Lawmakers pass the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulations in generations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never again will Wall Street take massive risks with the expectation that they will be bailed out when they fail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Tonight's breaking news, the latest stunner from Tiger Woods. He's giving up golf, at least for now, as he struggles to keep his family together.

Here's his statement tonight -- quote -- "I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness. After much soul-searching, I have decided to take an indefinite break from professional golf. I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person."

Joining me right now to talk about this is David Dusek, who is senior editor of "Sports Illustrated"'s Golf Group. Also in Chicago with us, CNN analyst Roland Martin, and on the phone tonight sports attorney David Cornwell joining us as well.

David Dusek, you just told me that you had had some information about some of the companies he has deals with actually now stepping back a little bit.

DAVID DUSEK, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Yes, it's possible. It's certainly early, and a lot of these different things are just breaking now, Campbell, as you're well aware.

But there's been a lot of talk over the last 14 days, really. It's hard to believe that this is only a 14-day-old story at this point. But Accenture it looks like has pulled Tiger Woods' image off of the home page of their Web site. And there's been a lot of reporting that a lot of the signage that is related to Tiger Woods's endorsement with Tag Heuer, the watch maker and timepiece maker, are starting to come down from various sites. Now, a lot of these things cycle off as various ad campaigns come on and come off, but it's -- certainly the timing is interesting as you look forward to what all of this stuff is going to mean for Tiger Woods and his endorsement deals going forward.

BROWN: But talk to me, too, just about your general reaction to this news that he -- that Tiger is taking a break. Can you even imagine the game without him?

(CROSSTALK)

DUSEK: It's unbelievable. So much of what people think of, of professional golf is all around Tiger Woods. People tune in to Tiger Woods and they tune in to golf when he's playing. If he's not playing in a tournament, the ratings on television go down dramatically.

For him to take an extended hiatus, whatever that is going to mean, will be tremendously damaging, both to the television value of the sport, to the general buzz that he creates wherever he goes. If you think that the least watched U.S. Open in the history, since they started marketing these things, was in 2006, which was actually in a great television market here in New York City at Wingfoot. Tiger Woods missed the cut.

You know, two years ago, when Anthony Kim wins the AT&T National at Congressional, an up-and-coming star player here in the United States, it draws a 3 share over Fourth of July weekend on television. This year, Tiger Woods wins it, triples the ratings, goes to an 11 share.

That's the power of him as a brand and what he brings. And if he's out for an extended period of time, then it's going to have a tremendous effect across certainly golf and sports in general.

BROWN: David Cornwell, going back to his endorsements, he made $92 million -- a stunning amount -- $92 million -this year.

And you just heard David tell us a little bit about how some companies are trying to take a step back. But what does this mean in terms of his actual endorsements and his money-making potential?

DAVID CORNWELL, SPORTS ATTORNEY: Well, one point I wanted to add to David's that in that eight months that Tiger was off recuperating from his knee injury, TV ratings dropped 50 percent. So, we have an actual number telling us what is going to happen going forward.

As to his sponsorships...

BROWN: But let me ask you for a second, though, David, that was Tiger pre this scandal. This has certainly damaged his reputation. And do you think that you're going -- he would be the same draw that he certainly was before this happened?

CORNWELL: I think he would be if it has not damaged his golf. If he can come back and be as phenomenal as a golf player as he was previously, I think, largely in part because of the statement that he issued today, that people will be prepared to forgive him.

I think the sponsors pulling back, it doesn't mean that they're going to terminate the agreements. They're going to wait and see. This indefinite period gives both the sponsors, the public a chance to cool off and Tiger a chance to heal with his family.

So, I think there's a good chance that the slate will, to a certain level, be wiped cleaner. It won't be clean. But if he comes back and he's the Tiger Woods of old, doing remarkable things on the golf course and winning tournaments, I think all will be forgiven by the public and consequently the sponsors will come back.

It remains to be seen whether or not he will be able to heal the wound in his family, though.

BROWN: David Dusek, you wanted to respond to that.

DUSEK: Yes. Yes. I think something in addition to that is, at whatever point Tiger Woods eventually does come back, whether it's three months, six months, who knows, maybe even a year -- maybe Tiger Woods comes back in 2011 -- the first event that he comes back out to play, all of a sudden, I would anticipate it's going to get, in terms of ratings and general interest, we're something along the lines of a Super Bowl.

It was going to be enormous to begin with.

BROWN: Really?

DUSEK: Tiger Woods is a global brand. You have to understand that. All of a sudden -- it was always going to be sports people who were going to cover -- "Sports Illustrated" and the like was always going to be there to cover Tiger Woods.

Now, all of the sudden, you have got tabloids that were interested before he sort of takes the extended hiatus. When Tiger Woods finally does back now, all of a sudden, depending on exactly where that tournament is and how it sort of falls on the calendar, there's going to be this enormous buildup.

It's not going to be like we're not going to find out until a day before that, all of a sudden, Tiger Woods is going to be there. We're going to have a feeling at least for a week or two that he's going to make the announcement that it's going to be whatever tournament. And that, all of the sudden, is becoming the biggest tournament that's going to be -- that's going to be event going on that weekend for sure. So, his reach is global. I think that we lose perspective of that here in the United States. This is a global conglomerate that we're talking about.

BROWN: And, Roland, I know you're a huge golf fan. What do you think the fan reaction is going to be?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I will use an example. Kobe Bryant was on trial for rape. They moved away from that. Frankly, he didn't go to trial, wasn't convicted. Right now, Kobe Bryant's jersey is the number-one-selling jersey in the NBA. Ray Lewis was on trial for much in Atlanta, took a plea. What happened? He goes on to win the MVP.

The reality is, we look at our sports stars as sports stars. Michael Jordan, folks know about his infidelity, but he's still considered the greatest basketball player ever. It's a question of short-term and long-term. This decision by Tiger, first of all, he cannot focus on the golf course by having all the acrimony at home. So, he needs to deal with that, deal with himself to get his mind right and then all of a sudden come back.

But I think there's no doubt if Tiger Woods comes back and he begins to win, he has 14 majors, he begins to win more majors, people will talk about his golf game and not his private life. They're not watching him change diapers or fix breakfast his wife. They're watching him play golf. Let's just be honest about that.

BROWN: Right. All right. Let's hold it right there. We're going to come back in a second.

But, to that point, it's after going through this, can he come back and play the same way? It's little bit of a mind game to say the least.

DUSEK: Absolutely.

BROWN: Stand by. We got more right after the break on Tiger Woods' decision, again this breaking news, to take a break from golf. Can he salvage his image? What should he do next? When we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: We're back, talking about Tiger Woods and tonight's breaking news.

The world's best-known athlete, perhaps, is taking what he calls an indefinite break from golf as he deals with the scandal that started with his car crash last month and has exploded into headline- making revelations of infidelity.

And joining us right now is David Dusek, who is senior editor of "Sports Illustrated"'s Golf Group, Marvet Britto, the public relations guru who was behind Mariah Carey's comeback, Roland Martin back with us from Chicago, and in Los Angeles, Howard Bragman as well, Hollywood P.R. man who special sizes in crisis management.

Howard, clearly, this has gone beyond an image problem. Are you surprised by this announcement, I guess, as many of the sports reporters were?

HOWARD BRAGMAN, FOUNDER, FIFTEEN MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: Yes, I'm shocked, Campbell.

And I will tell you what. I sort of work backwards with my P.R. clients and say, well, what's the result that we want to achieve? If I'm Tiger Woods, what I want more than life or what I want for Christmas is this story to go away.

And this is having just the opposite effect, Campbell. People are going, why did he make this decision? What he's going to do? What's it going to do to the game of golf? This is making this story, which is already a mega-worldwide story, a huge, huge, bigger, bigger story. And I feel really sad for the people who manufacturer Tiger Woods golf clubs and Tiger Woods merchandise.

BROWN: But you know what? Can I stop you for one second, Howard?

BRAGMAN: Yes.

BROWN: Because Tiger Woods is not a story. He says he's going home to deal with some pretty major issues with his family. Doesn't that -- if you're Tiger Woods, that takes precedence over the story, in my view.

I'm willing to give him that.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAGMAN: Tiger Woods is a story. And I have said all along he needs to do deal with this. I think a smarter way to deal with this would have been to go into perhaps some sort of rehab for prescription drug or sexual addiction for a few weeks, come out...

BROWN: Really?

BRAGMAN: Yes, really. Clean this out and come out and be ready to go.

If we find out that his wife made him quit golf to do this, the anger is going to turn to her and not him, number one. And I just think it's a really odd, kind of surrealistic decision. And because it's such an unusual decision, it's going to generate a lot more press.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Yes, but it might save his marriage, which I think should be the priority right now.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Go ahead, David

DUSEK: I think that if it were to come out that Elin Woods was the person who really instigated this and sort of told Tiger Woods I that we need to take an extended break to recover as a family, I think that it would be nothing but positive for them.

It would be one of the first times in the story that actually the right thing is being done, that family life and the life of their children -- there are two kids involved here who have yet to be able to understand this, because one of them is 3 and one of them is less than a year old.

BROWN: Fortunately, they're too young, frankly.

(CROSSTALK)

DUSEK: Exactly. But someday they're going to.

(CROSSTALK)

DUSEK: At some point or another, they're going to. And exactly how their parents go about the next couple of months is I think going to be really important.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Go ahead, Roland,.

MARTIN: A U.K. newspaper reported this morning that she gave him an ultimatum: Deal with me or quit golf.

That was this morning. Now, quitting golf and taking a leave of absence are two separate things. But that story is already out there. One of the other issues you also have to contend with is that all of these stories out here, you really can't figure out right now what's true, what's false.

You had that "Life & Style" or whatever it's called supposedly talking to two PGA golfers who were dogging Tiger. They came out and said, we never even talked to them.

So, right now, you have an issue of proof. Also, understand how Tiger operates. He typically plays in mid- to late January. He begins to get back into the swing of things playing five, eight, 10 hours a day practicing around the third week of December and the first, second week of January.

This guy's not in a mental state of mind to begin to do that. So, frankly, it's smart to say, let's step away, because if he came back and played and he was losing, and not making cuts, then, all of a sudden, it's a whole different story. So, he has to be mentally ready to play.

This is a smart move, frankly, for him to do this.

DUSEK: Excellent point.

BROWN: Marvet, do you agree with Howard going back to how he's handling this or should handle it, I guess?

MARVET BRITTO, ENTERTAINMENT AND BRAND STRATEGIST: I agree that he should handle it, he should address it.

But I don't agree that he should have stepped away and dealt with this story, rather than hi family. I think the thrust and the gravity of this story has really indicated that Tiger has always been fiercely private. I think that is what we're forgetting. This was never a guy who has been anything but proactive to media. He's never had to be reactive. He's never had to gather team Tiger to deal with the thrust and gravity of a story of this magnitude. So, yes, he's going to take the time away from golf.

And maybe the media that's been so harsh on him will understand that -- his value to the sport. Yes, what he did wasn't ethically right, but it wasn't a crime. And ,more importantly, I think we need to allow Tiger the time to heal with his family in private, to heal with his wife in private, so that he can, like his statement said, emerge a better person, a better player, and a better golfer.

And only time away from the sport will allow him psychologically to be able to do that. He's going to emerge from this, I believe, a better person, but, more importantly, the media will follow him in a way that they never have. He's used to having sports media. But now he's going to have an entirely different type of media hunting him, haunting him everywhere he goes.

So, he needs to step back and prepare for a type of media that he's never had to deal with in his entire career. So, it's a brilliant strategy. And I think we should allow him the time to step away.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Howard, it does make you wonder, though, that I heard Roland mention and David did, too, about how he's an athlete. And at the end of the day, as long as he's playing golf well, no one cares about any of this stuff.

But, at the same time, you wonder, because of his public image, because it was so squeaky-clean, in a way, has he been held to a higher standard than a lot of these other athletes, Howard?

BRAGMAN: I think many athletes are held to this same standard. But in the end of the day, it's about forgiveness. And we will forgive an athlete much quicker than we're going to forgive say a politician, who we're going to hold to a higher moral standard.

And I want to correct something. I'm not saying that there's anything more important than his family. But I will tell you, from the first clip we saw when Tiger Woods about 3 years old swinging a golf club on TV, and we have all seen that clip, he loves the game of golf as much as he loves breathing.

And if somebody wants to take that away from him, that's sad, and that's a loss to really the whole sport of golf and the economic structure of golf. Jobs are going to be lost. And there's a bigger picture here. I support him doing what he has to do to save his family. I think there's a way to do both.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Campbell, one name, Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, he was known for infidelity as well. Look at how the world still loves him now, Michael Jordan. Again, it goes back to, they look at the sport. It's how you recover, as opposed to how you simply go through this kind of tragic situation.

BROWN: David.

DUSEK: Yes. I mean, let's say that, for example -- and it's impossible to predict exactly when Tiger Woods is going to come back.

But let's say that he comes back later in the year in 2009.

MARTIN: Oh, it's going to be crazy.

DUSEK: Yes. Number one, it's going to be an absolute circus. I totally agree, like he has never seen, like our sport, at least, golf, has never seen before, which is why I said earlier Super Bowl kind of ratings for whatever television it creates.

But I think, more importantly, if he's able to come back from this and is able to come through and actually play well, that to me is like one of the all-time great achievements. If he were to come out now, I don't see how he can be a human being and actually put the blinders on to ignore all the stuff going on and actually perform to a level that he has set.

(CROSSTALK)

DUSEK: The bar he has set is ridiculously high.

So, if he doesn't achieve that, then everyone will say, oh, wow, he's still thinking about this. And it goes on and on. By getting his priorities straight now, coming out, as he has always said in the past, whether it was from physical injury or not, I will return to the game of golf when I feel I'm ready to win, when I can compete at the level that I am satisfied with, that may be three months from now. It may be next year. Who knows how far it's going to go.

But at some point or another, when he does come back, we will know that, number one, he feels that his family situation is going to be the best it can be. And whatever that is going to be, we don't know right now. And number two, he will be ready to compete.

BROWN: All right.

We have got to end it there. David Dusek, Marvet Britto and Howard Bragman, Roland Martin, as always, thanks. Appreciate it, guys.

MARTIN: Thank you.

DUSEK: Thank you.

BRAGMAN: Thanks.

BROWN: We have some pretty dramatic video of a man literally wrestling for his life coming up in tonight's download.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: The House took action today to try to reform the financial industry, but will Congress ever really be able to rein in Wall Street?

We're going to talk about that. But first, more must-see news happening right now. Erica Hill with me for tonight's "Download."

Hi.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, nice to see you. Dozens of drivers trapped have spent most of last night trapped in their cars by blizzard-like conditions in upstate New York. Finally been rescued tonight. A stretch of Interstate-90 from the Buffalo area into Pennsylvania was closed. State troopers used snowmobiles to bring those stranded drivers gas (ph). Well, they waited for snowplows to get through.

Meantime, have a little bit upbeat news for you, another would-be sign of economic recovery today. Americans spending more money. Retail sales actually jumped unexpectedly up 1.3 percent in November. That's actually twice the increase economists were expecting. It was also the second straight month of growth. A little early Christmas present for you.

And a dramatic confrontation caught on camera. Gunfire outside a pub. Everyone, as you can see, ran except for, look, this one guy, walks up to the man with the gun, very calmly, head butts the man then wrestles the weapon away. Turns out the incident took place last May in the U.K.

Why are we showing this to you today? Well, because we just got the video and the man was sentenced this week to three years in prison.

We see a lot of that in the U.K.

Finally, how would you help -- just how far would you go to help a co-worker. A Colorado teacher lost an envelope with her $100 cash Christmas bonus inside. So what if a co-worker said, don't worry, I'll go through all the trash -- all the trash outside in the dumpster.

BROWN: Ooh.

HILL: And he did. And he found it. No word if he's going to get a cut on that bonus, but let me tell you, if Santa's really watching, I think somebody is clearly on the nice list this year.

BROWN: That is a true friend.

HILL: A dumpster of trash. I mean I love you, but I don't know if I'd go through dumpster. Don't take it the wrong way.

BROWN: Erica Hill tonight. Erica, thanks. Breaking news to tell you about. A controversial loophole in the health care bill, one that threatens to cut off insurance coverage when you need it most. Well, now, the White House putting its foot down. We have some brand-new details on that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: There is breaking tonight in a controversy that has had Washington in an uproar all day today. A loophole in the health care bill could have capped the amount of insurance coverage you get even if you're facing a major health crisis, and that's something President Obama said flat-out he would not allow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Well, now, it looks like the White House and Congress are racing to close that loophole. Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley joining me from Washington right now.

Candy, first explain to us the loophole that's got people so worked up here.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, let's just take a look at it because it's pretty simple even in the 2,000 pages it kind of sticks out. And what it basically says is that insurance companies may not establish lifetime limits, so far so good. But then it says, may not establish unreasonable annual limit. So it's that one word, unreasonable in there which brought up all these questions what's unreasonable.

If you are a cancer patient, it is so costly. And so, the political arm, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society, got into this and said, wait a second, they said no limits on reasonable is very different depending on what you're suffering from and began to push back on this. And, of course, now what we're told is, that there has been discussion between those representing the American Cancer Society and the White House, and the White House is assuring them that they will work to remove that one word, "unreasonable."

It is not in the House bill. They are not yet reconciled for that matter. There's not a Senate bill yet. But there does seem to have been some meeting of the minds. So I will tell you that on the Senate side, they have said that one of the reason they put that in there was an attempt to try to control costs.

BROWN: And, Candy, let's go to how the senators responded today when the news broke. They didn't seem to be expecting to have -- to answer, I guess, so many questions about this.

CROWLEY: Well, and that's the problem again with a 2,000-plus page bill. Because they were in fact asked, listen, what is this? What is this provision here? When you talk about unreasonable, we have Tom Harkin with answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is this going to be mean for say, the colon cancer patient whose bills top $200,000 a year?

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: Well, again, one of the compromise we had to make, we do have no lifetime caps. And we put in there no unreasonable annual caps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But what does that mean?

HARKIN: Well, that's to be developed by the secretary of Health and Services.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is something very concerning to patient advocates, though. What do you say to them?

HARKIN: Well, the -- correct me if I'm wrong -- there's no unreasonable annual caps. Does that phase out in 2014 and we go to no annual caps?

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I'd have to go back and look.

HARKIN: I'd have to go back and look at that. But again, these rules will be developed, as I understand, by the secretary of Health and Human Services.

DODD: Yes.

HARKIN: Because I don't know if you know.

DODD: No, and that's about it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: I'm sorry, but it's like hilarious to actually watch them. I know, you don't really need to say anything. You just need to watch the tape.

CROWLEY: Yes, interesting. Interesting.

But I mean, you know, to be fair, this is, if you have not been intimately involved in the paragraph by paragraph, and not many of them have, these things come up and you find yourself explaining them. And we're going to see a lot more of these, by the way, because that's how this works is that people begin to focus on the detail.

BROWN: Right. And I know you reached out to the White House. What are they saying about this? CROWLEY: Actually, our Brianna Keilar has been on this. As you mentioned, I was talking to someone on Capitol Hill. And I said, what was the point of this? This was on the Senate side. Top leadership aide. And, they said, you know, quite frankly, we are simply operating with the fiscal constraints that go along with the administration's desire to keep the costs around $900 billion.

So they're saying, we're trying to figure out, we talked a lot about how this is whack a mole. The minute you put, you know, eliminate something you got to figure something else out. And so what they have done is they just figured that what would happen was it would make the cost too high. They thought that there's some voluntary procedures. There ought to be some annual caps on those.

So I don't get the feeling that on Capitol Hill this is quite over yet. At least that's the signal that I'm getting from up there. But as far as the White House, the American Cancer Society is concerned they're going to eliminate this one word, "unreasonable."

BROWN: Candy Crowley for us tonight. Candy, thanks a lot.

CROWLEY: Sure.

BROWN: And just ahead, the House passes the most ambitious financial regulations since the Great Depression, cracking down hard on Wall Street. But is it going to work? That when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Congress approved to crack down on Wall Street today. One Democrat's hope will send a strong message, but Republicans say that message is a move toward socialism. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's the most sweeping changes to America's financial regulation system since the new deal just approved by the House of Representatives. It passed by a party line vote of 223 to 202, a year after Wall Street failures helped plunge the nation into recession.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would give the government power to break up big companies that are threatening the entire financial system if they collapse and would make these companies to pay into their own bailout fund. But there's still work to be done. This also has to pass the Senate.

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Our plan will stop abusive practices by creating an independent consumer financial protection agency with one mission. And that is standing up for consumers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And with me right now, Krishna Guha, who is U.S. economics editor for the "Financial Times." Also Charlie Gasparino of CNBC, also the author of the hot book "The Sellout" with us here in New York as well.

Charlie, let me start with you. The administration claims this bill, this House bill is going to save us all from another major collapse. This is the bill that's going to rein in Wall Street.

CHARLES GASPARINO, AUTHOR, "THE SELLOUT": Never have another -- no one will lose any money ever again.

BROWN: No, no. The sun will always shine. What's going to happen really?

GASPARINO: I don't put much credence in regulations, because we have a lot of regulations in the books. Regulators are generally bureaucrats who are generally less intelligent than the guys doing all the trade. So, I don't buy --

BROWN: So what? They always find a way around the regulations?

GASPARINO: They've done it for years. Listen, think of it this way. Bernie Madoff was sneered by the SEC eight times, that he still conducted a $50 billion Ponzi scheme. He was able to talk his way around it. And, by the way, with something as very simple, the SEC had to do -- all they would have to do is see if he did a trade to acquit Bernie Madoff and they didn't. So I don't put much credence in regulation.

BROWN: Krishna, what you do think? Is there any teeth in any of this?

KRISHNA GUHA, "FINANCIAL TIMES": You know, I disagree with Charlie here. I think there's some important stuff there that might make a real difference. Here's why. The most important parts of this plan have to do with strengthening market discipline not relying on clever regulators to spot every scam that's going on. The plan without a --

BROWN: What do you mean by that? Explain that --

GUHA: Here's what happens. Right? Under the plan, they want to end bank bailouts. How you do this is by creating a special bankruptcy regime so you can let these banks fail without crashing the rest of the economy, like Lehman Brothers did. But if that can work, then the market will impose much more discipline on these banks and make sure that risk taking is properly calculated.

GASPARINO: But you let -- you're saying that a regulator, some guy who couldn't catch easy stuff like Bernie Madoff is going to understand how much risk is too much risk? That's absurd.

GUHA: No, what I'm saying -- Charlie, that's not what I'm saying at all.

BROWN: All right. Hold on.

GUHA: What I'm saying is you need the creditors. You need the people financing the banks to provide the market discipline, but they won't do that as long as they don't feel their money is really at risk.

GASPARINO: You know how you do that?

GUHA: And that's what the plan does.

GASPARINO: You know how you do that? You take away too big to fail. You let --

GUHA: That's the whole point.

GASPARINO: You let people -- not really. Not really. They're not -- by the way, Citigroup is still in existence. Why don't just bring back (INAUDIBLE) where you break Citigroup up into a commercial bank and investment bank. That would be better than having bureaucrats trying to judge risk.

GUHA: This isn't about getting bureaucrats to judge risk. It's about having a situation where people putting money into banks know that that money is at risk, so they're watching what the banks do with it.

BROWN: All right. Let me ask you guys about another thing, another development today. You brought up Citigroup.

The White House announced this new round of restrictions on pay for CEOs at some of the highest paid earners at some of these companies.

GASPARINO: Right.

BROWN: Citigroup among them. AIG. What is this? Is this just a show kind of for the general public?

GASPARINO: No. Ken Feinberg is the pay czar and he is the guy who came out and said, you know, you can't get paid more than $500,000 in cash.

BROWN: $500,000.

GASPARINO: You get paid stock and there's some exception to that.

Here's the sort of perversity bull with Ken Feinberg. I've interviewed him. What he would tell you is that, listen, I don't want them taking too much risk so I don't want them paying people, people that make more than a certainly amount of money are obviously taking too much risk. The perversity of this is is that they're also making money. So if you limit the amount of money people are going to be paid, the people, the earners, are going to go someplace else.

BROWN: Right.

GASPARINO: So the taxpayers are really losing out on all this.

BROWN: Because ultimately, they would be the beneficiary. Krishna, look forward to Monday if you can with me. President Obama is sitting down with the head of all these major banks talking to leaders in the banking industry. What is the message to them? What do you think he'll say, what should he say? Does it matter?

GUHA: Well, I think there's going to be really three big issues on the table on Monday. The first thing is, the president is going to say, look, we need you to lend. We need you to lend to the small businesses who can't get credit. We need you to lend to households. We need that to get economic growth growing.

Secondly, I think he's going to say, guys, please be sensible about your bonus structure this year. The country is hurting. Everybody chipped in to bail you out. This is doing you no favor.

And finally, I think he's going say, look, we're moving to the endgame of this financial regulatory reform. Don't try to fight us but come and work with us. If you see things we can improve, come talk to us. We'll try and work it out.

BROWN: And, Charlie, they're all going to say, great, we're with you 100 percent? What do you need us to do?

GASPARINO: It's a bunch of hot air. And here's the perversity. The Main Street, 10 percent unemployment. Wall Street is rolling in dough right now.

BROWN: All right. Charlie Gasparino for us tonight, Krishna Guha, many thanks to you. Appreciate it. Have a nice weekend, guys.

When we come back, an exclusive look at the devastating drug cartel battles going on just south of the U.S. border and the innocent people caught in the middle. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Welcome back, everybody. Tonight's "Breakout" takes us to the U.S./Mexico border just steps from El Paso, Texas. It's the city of Juarez, where battling drug cartels have slaughtered thousands of innocent people. And we warn you, the exclusive report you're about to see is graphic and intense.

CNN's Michael Ware spent a day and a night with police in Juarez. And if you ever thought drugs were a victimless crime, just take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This footage is difficult to watch. These anguished cries impossible to forget. Relatives entering this building, seeking the bodies of their loved ones executed by a Mexican drug cartel.

You're witnessing the pain of the Mexican border town of Juarez, the front line in the war on drugs. And this a crime scene I just had to see for myself. (on camera): There's so much violence that occurs here in Juarez that the world just does not hear about. And now disconcerting to see this fresh paint here on these walls, as an old woman makes her home in this building. Just two months ago, this literally was a corridor of blood.

This building had been a drug rehabilitation center and one of the major cartels suspected that its rivals were recruiting foot soldiers from among the patients. So they came in this door and down this corridor, moving from room to room to room executing everyone they found.

While they're trying to build a home, this is where 17 people died, and yet another day of Juarez violence.

(voice-over): Within two days of this attack, the death toll rose eve higher when two survivors died in the hospital. And there is no discrimination to the slaughter. Under these clothes, lies a 7- year-old American boy. His father, the target but the hitman chose not to let the child live.

On this day, we're in Juarez to see the horrors for ourselves. It's just before dusk as I approach a fresh crime scene.

(on camera): In Juarez, 1,600 people died from drug-related violence last year. This year, the total is already well over 2,000. And today's total is already at 12.

(voice-over): The man in that car was hit by cartel gunmen riddled with eight bullets. His passenger tried to flee, but only made it that far.

This was yet another afternoon of killing in Juarez with a night of murder yet to follow.

(on camera): It's only 9:00. We're now going and joining this police patrol. Since the killings this afternoon that we saw, it's already been another homicide bringing today's total to 13.

(voice-over): Every night, joint patrols like this one between local and federal police and Mexican soldiers crisscross the city, trying desperately to stem the flow of blood.

(on camera): Things were so bad, that earlier in the year, the Mexican president had to call in the military to help protect the city. For a short time, there was a lull in the violence but it quickly returned. Now, it's worse than it's ever been before.

(voice-over): By now, it's close to 10:00 p.m. And the reports of violence are streaming in over the police radio.

(on camera): The patrol has just received another call on the radio. There's some kind of incident. But those lights there, that's America. It's the U.S. border. This reminds me just how close this war on drugs is being fought to American's soil. (voice-over): But before the night is over, there is even more carnage to come. All of this in our one afternoon and evening visit to this deadly city.

(on camera): This time, it's almost too much to bear. It's just after 11:00. And where you see those policemen gathered at that door, there's just been four more slayings. This time, all women.

The early reports are that a gunman walked in that door and executed all of them. One of them a 12-year-old girl, another one, 14. And in a gut-wrenching irony, all of this done with the American border crossing just here, 80 yards away.

There can be no more pertinent reminder of the Mexican blood that's being spilled in this war for the right to supply America's demand for illicit drugs.

Michael Ware, CNN, Juarez, Mexico.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And coming up tonight on "AC 360," the latest in the series of tunnel discoveries on the Mexico-California border. Anderson Cooper on the tunnels and the Mexico violence coming up tonight, 10:00 Eastern Time.

"LARRY KING LIVE" begins in just a few moments with more on the breaking news of Tiger Woods indefinite break from golf. Just minutes ago, the PGA responded saying they support Woods' decision.

But first, tonight's "Guilty Pleasure," the video we just can't resist. A 75-year-old grandma who puts kids a fraction of her age to shame.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few moments. But first, tonight's "Guilty Pleasure." Erica Hill back with the video we just can't resist.

HILL: Oh, and it is a good one especially on a Friday.

She's a British grandmother. Some are comparing her to Susan Boyle. But this has nothing to do with singing. Her talent -- acrobatic salsa dancing.

Of course, 75-year-old Patty Jones is the winner of Spain's version of "Britain's Got Talent." And check out. There you go, the look on the judges' face as she pulls up that back flip, spinning with her dance partner, who, by the way, 40 years her junior.

Jones said she was a professional dancer in her youth. She took up salsa again -- wow --

BROWN: Oh, wow. HILL: Five years ago after her husband passed away. Now becoming a worldwide sensation. Thanks to YouTube. And in case you're wondering how the British woman is on the Spanish version of, you know --

BROWN: Yes.

HILL: Apparently she moves there three years ago.

BROWN: OK. All right.

HILL: So that's why she's competing in Spain.

BROWN: Unbelievable. You found it. Video of the night.

HILL: Look at that.

BROWN: Erica Hill. Have a great weekend.

HILL: You too.

BROWN: That's it for us. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.