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Anthony Weiner Admits Lying; Sarah Palin's History Lesson

Aired June 6, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

"Keeping Them Honest," New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, one of the nation's most influential and outspoken Democratic lawmakers, tearfully admitting he lied about tweeting a lewd photo of himself and more, saying it's part of a pattern, admitting to online relationships with half-a-dozen women, exchanging explicit photos and messages with them, including after he got married.

But this is not going away. When he told Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi he's not stepping down, she called for an ethics investigation. His confession came after conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart posted this and other photos on his site and one of the congressman's online acquaintances came forward.

Now, until today Congressman Weiner had been all over the map, denying the allegations, calling the posting a prank, a hoax, suggesting he'd been hacked, denying any inappropriate behavior, but evading direct questions about whether the photo was in fact of himself.

Today, though, at a bizarre news conference that Mr. Breitbart actually spoke at before Congressman Weiner arrived, the congressman said he had been lying all along. The Huffington Post headline read, "Weiner Lets It All Hang Out."

"Keeping Them Honest," though, tonight, did he, or did he just raise new questions about his conduct? Now, we want to play you his full statement from today, because it's one of those statements that frankly stops you in your tracks, perhaps one of the strangest political press conferences in a long time. And here's what he said in its entirety before he took questions.


REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I would like to take this time to clear up some of the questions that have been raised over the past 10 days or so and take full responsibility for my actions. At the outset, I would like to make it clear that I have made terrible mistakes, that have hurt the people I care about the most, and I am deeply sorry. I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends, and supporters and the media.

Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down, and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story and to stick to that story which is a usually regrettable mistake.

This woman was unwittingly dragged into this and there's absolutely no responsibility. I'm so sorry to have disrupted her life on this way.

To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, my friends, supporters, and staff.

In addition, over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and occasionally on the phone with women I have met online. I have exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.

For the most part, these relations -- these communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time.

I haven't told the truth and I have done things that I deeply regret. I have brought pain to people that I care about the most and the people who believe in me, and for that, I am deeply sorry.

I apologize to my wife and our families, as well as to our friends and supporters. I'm deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions.


COOPER: Well, what's even more surprising perhaps is that he stuck around after making that statement for about 40 minutes, taking questions, some of which he evaded.

Now, what makes today's press conference so shocking is that for more than a week now, Congressman Weiner had been all over the airwaves giving interviews in which he now admits he was lying. Remember, shortly after the underwear photo surfaced, he put out a statement saying that he'd been hacked. But then, when CNN's Dana Bash and Ted Barrett asked him whether he'd asked for a criminal investigation, he repeatedly dodged the question.


WEINER: There are statements that I -- that my office put out.

And there are going to be people who are going to want -- look, this is the tactic. The guy in the back of the room who's throwing the pie or yelling out the insult wants that to be the conversation. I am...


BASH: ... said it was hacked, that you were hacked.

WEINER: ... let me -- Dana...

BASH: And that's -- and that's a criminal -- a potential crime.

WEINER: Dana -- Dana, let me -- I'm going to have to ask that we follow some rules here.

And one of them is going to be, you ask questions, I do the answers. Does that seem reasonable?

BASH: I would love to get an answer.

WEINER: That...

QUESTION: A direct answer.

WEINER: That would be reasonable, right? You do the questions. That would be reasonable. You do the questions, I do the answers, and this jackass interrupts me? How about that as the -- as the new rule of the game?


COOPER: So, that was last Tuesday. The next day, Congressman Weiner lied to and stonewalled Wolf Blitzer.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Did you send that picture to that college student in Washington state?

WEINER: I did not. She says she never got it and doesn't know me; I don't -- certainly don't know her.

This seems like it's a prank to make fun of my name. You know, when your named Weiner, that happens a lot. Got 45,000-some odd Twitter followers, hundreds of people that I follow. This seems like a prank that has gotten an enormous amount of attention.

BLITZER: This is the picture -- I'm sure you've seen it by now. Is this you?

WEINER: I can tell you this. We have a firm that we've hired -- I have seen it, it's -- I have seen it -- a firm that we've hired to get to the bottom of it.

I can tell you this, that photos can manipulated. Photos can be of one thing changed to look like something else. We're going to try to get the bottom of what happened. Maybe Jon Stewart last night had it right, unfortunately, but we're going to find out.

Look, this has turned into this kind of international whodunit. What it really is was, I think, a prank. I'm treating it like a prank and trying to get back to the work I'm trying to do. I understand you want to pursue the story, and we're going to try to help you the best we can.


COOPER: Well, he now admits he was doing just the opposite, also this. Watch.


BLITZER: So here's what raised some suspicion. Back on May 27, you tweeted this, you were about to be on "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC. You said, "Heading to 30 Rock to chat with Rachel at 9:00." And then you said, "That's 5:45 in Seattle, I think."

The woman in question here is in Seattle.

WEINER: Right. I had tweeted previously -- I know, it's a terrible coincidence and that's all it is. And frankly, I didn't even know the girl was in Seattle from her feed.

Look, let me say this. In the past on my Twitter feed, I had done a similar joke about other cities.

BLITZER: Why Seattle?

WEINER: It was pure, pure coincidence. I have no idea.


COOPER: Well, now we know otherwise. In admitting the relationship with her and five others, did Congressman Weiner really tell all? Listen to some of the answers he gave after making his initial statement.


QUESTION: You were on the phone. Did you have phone sex with these women. Did you ever have an affair with one of these women?

WEINER: I have never -- as I said in any statement, I never met any of these women.

QUESTION: Did you have phone sex?

WEINER: I never was in the same room with them. I was -- never had any physical relationship whatsoever.


COOPER: Notice he answered no to the affair, but totally dodged the phone sex question.

Then there's the related question that prompted Minority Leader Pelosi to call for the House Ethics Committee to get involved. Listen.


QUESTION: Did you use government resources for this kind of activity? And, if so, is that a violation of the public trust?

WEINER: I did not.

QUESTION: You did not use the congressional phones, congressional e-mails on congressional time?

WEINER: No, I didn't do -- listen, I'm going to try to tell you everything that I can remember. It was my BlackBerry is not a government BlackBerry. My home computer is usually where I did these things.

QUESTION: Usually?

WEINER: I don't have the knowledge of every last communication but I don't believe that I used any government resources.


COOPER: All right. He says no, but leaves the door open, saying he might have forgotten. He also hedged his answer to this question.


QUESTION: These were young girls, very young, at 21 years old. Does that bother you, that...


WEINER: I don't know ages. I don't know the exact ages of the women and they...

QUESTION: Young enough to be your children.

WEINER: I don't know the exact ages of the women, and I don't know if you do. I'm going to respect their privacy. But they are all adults. At least to the best of my knowledge, they were all adults.


COOPER: Well, he went on to say you can never be sure someone isn't lying about her age, but said he never had any intention of having any interaction with any underaged women.

Joining me now, Democratic strategist Paul Begala, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, and sex and relationship expert Laura Berman.

Paul, we discussed Congressman Weiner on the program last week with you. I asked you what you made of it. You faked a yawn and said, wake me up when you have a sex scandal. I take it now you are awake. PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm wide-awake. It's just bizarre, tawdry, disgusting. What it really is, though, is, also, it's dishonest.

I do think, actually, public figures have a right to a private life. They don't have a right to lie to the public, to Wolf Blitzer, to their staff, to their constituents. And that's what Congressman Weiner did.

Beyond that, just kind of picking up particularly on that last point you just made about the age of the people with whom he was apparently sexting, or texting, or whatever it is, if any of them were underage, it's game over. If any of these exchanges with these dirty pictures were non-consensual, it's game over. And clearly he's going to have a huge problem with the Ethics Committee if any -- there was any use of congressional equipment.

So, yes, I was wrong when I told you this didn't look like much of a scandal. And I stand corrected. It makes maybe me gullible, but it certainly makes Congressman Weiner a liar, doesn't it?

COOPER: Mary, when -- what was Congressman Weiner -- what he said today, I mean, was it enough, or do you think he should step down?

MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, it gave the appearance of what we call in the game a Ferraro. You will remember Geraldine Ferraro got out there and stood up and took all the questions until there were none left, very effective political tactic, but -- except for it was a -- only gave the appearance of a Ferraro.

As you just said, there was so much hedging and so much invitation of continued questioning, that it was in the end not an effective political defense, I don't think.

When I was talking to Jack, your producer Jack, earlier today, I was processing it politically. But in the interim, I took Maddie (ph), our 15-year-old, to Whole Foods, and she -- this is an engaged, smart, political kid. She goes, all politicians are weird.

I think people are going to process it that way. Our kids do not need to be having to -- we don't want to be having to talk to our kids about sexting and phone sex and all that. Paul has kids the same age as our girls. It's just not something that we want to be engaging in relative to talking about our political leaders today.

COOPER: I want to follow up with you on that after this commercial break. I want to go to Laura Berman now, but particularly, Mary, you're talking to us tonight from New Orleans, which is the state where Senator Vitter is in. He admitted, you know, basically going to a prostitute, I believe it's fair to say, or at least to indiscretions.

And yet he's been able to remain in office. I want to -- I have gotten a bunch of e-mails from viewers today saying, well, how come he can stay in office and people are saying Weiner can't? So, I'm going to talk to you about that before the break -- after the break.

But, Laura, plenty of people send intimate pictures of themselves to others online. I don't understand a congressman thinking it was at all a good idea to send intimate pictures of himself to people he had never even met, allegedly.

DR. LAURA BERMAN, DIRECTOR, BERMAN CENTER: Yes. No, this is -- allegedly, right. This is -- it's not a good idea, and he knows it's not a good idea, but his impulses got the best...

COOPER: So why do it?


COOPER: What is that impulse?

BERMAN: It's an impulse -- first of all, there are many -- he -- it's very common, as we have seen, in high-power men, especially it seems in high-power politician men, to be falling into these little snafus, if we can call them that again -- again, these sexual kind of escapades.

And part of that, many scientists believe that part of the trend is that these guys, you can see even with him all the signs of high testosterone, not that all men with high testosterone are cheaters or are going to be, you know, acting on their sexual impulses this way. But higher levels of testosterone makes you more competitive, more aggressive, more sexual, more sexually aggressive, and less in control of your impulses.

That doesn't mean he's out of control of his impulses. He used extremely poor judgment. And now America feels like his poor wife, where the average guy is going to deny, deny, deny. And then once he gets caught, he's going say he's sorry. And my guess is, this might be the tip of the iceberg. At least he got a little bit ahead of it, saying there were six women. But I'm still wondering whether there was any physical contact made.

And it brings up the question, what's cheating? Is sexting, is phone sex cheating? Is Internet sex cheating? I would say yes.

COOPER: Laura Berman, we will talk to you more again also after the break, Mary Matalin as well and Paul Begala.

A lot to talk about. Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will try to be tweeting tonight -- nothing scandalous, though.

Just ahead tonight, we will talk more about this, but also Sarah Palin's version of history, not admitting she got it wrong about Paul Revere's midnight ride. Now she's calling the question someone asked her and which she answered a gotcha question. We're going to play you the question. You can decide for itself if it's a gotcha question. We will also show you what happened when a friendly anchor on another network that actually pays her salary tried to help her set the record straight. And later, "Crime & Punishment": the murder of little Caylee Anthony. Today, in court her mom faced damaging scientific evidence. We will show you what happened in court and why the evidence seems to convincingly put little Caylee in the trunk of Casey's car.



WEINER: I haven't told the truth and I have done things that I deeply regret. I have brought pain to people that I care about the most and the people who believe in me, and for that, I am deeply sorry.

I apologize to my wife and our families, as well as to our friends and supporters. I'm deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions.


COOPER: Congressman Anthony Weiner today facing the possibility of an ethics investigation, perhaps facing the voters next year. He says he's not stepping down.

He spoke at length today about his online relationships with six women, including Meagan Broussard, who, according to ABC News, challenged him to send her this picture with the word "me' written on it. That was -- that was on May 5. The congressman was married last July. According to her, it didn't stop him from flirting.


MEAGAN BROUSSARD, HAD ONLINE RELATIONSHIP WITH WEINER: He was eager to hear about if I wanted him or thought he was attractive or that sort of thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much of it was sex talk?

BROUSSARD: I mean, he would attempt all the time.


COOPER: Back now with our panel, Paul Begala, Mary Matalin, and Laura Berman.

Paul, this really doesn't seem to be a legal matter at this point. I mean, there's no -- it doesn't seem like there's any law that was broken. There's basically going to be the ethics investigation, and if he stays and runs again, it's going to be up to the voters in his district.

BEGALA: Right.

Well, first off, there's the political matter. He's got to get right with his wife, who's a friend of mine, and she's a remarkable woman. Then there's the congressional matter. He may have -- there's -- I think it's rule one, that a member must do nothing to bring the House into disrepute.

Now, I know that's sort of honored in the breach by a lot of congressmen, but you could have an ethics problem there and they're going to look into it, I'm sure. I hope they do. And then there's the political problem in Albany. Eliot Spitzer, who knows something about New York politics and sadly these kinds of scandals, on our air earlier tonight pointed out New York loses two congressional districts.

And it could be that the politicians in Albany who are drawing the maps decide that they want Congressman Weiner to go. If he gets through all of that, then he still in 17 months has to face his constituents. I still am not ready to say he's through, but those are a lot of hurdles that he's got to overcome.

COOPER: Mary, do you think he's through? And to the Vitter question, from the tweets I'm getting, people saying, well, look, David Vitter's still in office. Why should he -- why should Weiner step down?

MATALIN: You know, cheating on your wife is not the province, exclusive province of either party.

But this is not your -- sadly, in politics, we have a reparative template for -- the beleaguered, suffering, supportive wife comes out and there's lots of contrition, and, I'm never going to do it again. This is of a different order. It's a different magnitude.

People -- maybe I'm old and square, but sending pornographic photos to young women that you don't know is an exotic behavior for most -- most people. And I would say include in that the Democratic leadership. I don't think it's in his hands.

I think it's very selfish for him to put his party through this, let alone Huma, who's a remarkable human being. It's -- and I think they gave him the opportunity to do the right thing. He didn't do it today. He made it worse. He's going to make it bad for the party. If I was the chairman of the DNC, or however your party works, Paul, I would say, hit the high road, baby.


BEGALA: I have got to say, I defended Anthony Weiner at my peril last time, so I won't do it now. But I will criticize David Vitter.

He ran as a family values conservative. He was on the list of the D.C. madam. He didn't answer any tough questions about this at all. He ducked the press. He dodged the press. He did admit to a sin of a grave nature. But that's it.

And I just don't think it's wise to say that this isn't a big difference between allegedly being on the list -- I guess not allegedly -- being on the list of the D.C. madam's customers or Congressman Weiner apparently sending dirty pictures. I just don't see the distinction. There could be an important distinction, as I said at the outset, if any of this was non-consensual. That would be a critical distinction. But I don't know. It's really kind of -- both of them, I think, are really kind of creepy and awful. People in Louisiana decided that, although creepy and awful, they wanted to keep David Vitter.

I have to say, I did some help -- I did help the Democrat in that race, so I have a bias here. I wrote a stump speech for his Democratic opponent, didn't do him any good.

But I don't think it's inconceivable that in 17 months the people in Brooklyn and part of Queens that are the Ninth District of New York, if that district is still there, they might want to keep Anthony Weiner as well.

COOPER: Dr. Berman, how much of this is -- you see these high- profile people in high-stress jobs acting out this way. I mean, is it acting out? Is it representative of some deeper emotion going on, or is it boredom? I mean...

BERMAN: You know, it could be all of the above.

But one thing I would say, and also to Mary, too, that you would be surprised. I mean, this is -- I'm hearing these stories all day every day. It's not just the high-power public figures and politicians. Men everywhere -- and women, for that matter -- there's a whole skewed sense of your level of either anonymity or privacy online and very vague boundaries people have around tweeting and posting things on their wall and e-mail.

And there are a lot of transgressions happening across the board. Weiner's behavior was abhorrent, inappropriate. He lied to the public. He lied to his wife. He seems untrustworthy. He didn't use good judgment. All of that is true. But I hate to say this. The way he's behaving is not completely unlike millions of other stories I'm hearing across the board.

So, I don't think -- we want to make him into this demonic, sick guy. And maybe there's an element. He certainly has some issues with impulse control and judgment. But I would venture to say that he's certainly not alone in these behaviors.

COOPER: Yes. Well, I certainly am not trying to make him into some demonic or sick guy. I think this is pretty standard behavior for...

BERMAN: No, I know you're not.


COOPER: ... for an awful lot of people.

But, Mary, do you think what's going to upset people, or I guess most importantly the House leadership, the Democratic leadership, and the people in his district is -- is the behavior itself or the lying about it?

MATALIN: It's both. And I want to be clear. I'm not calling him demonic.

COOPER: Right.


COOPER: Yes, none of us are.

BERMAN: I didn't mean to imply...

MATALIN: I'm saying he has issues. But I'm also saying that, however often this happens -- and maybe James and I are square, but we're pretty satisfied in the traditional realm of doing things here.

I think it's still not as -- maybe it's widespread. But we're -- he's an elected official. He represents -- or should represent, as they all should, on both sides -- and I love what you're saying about this as a more -- it's not a party problem, so much as a man problem.

In any event, Paul has to talk to his young sons and I have to talk to my young daughters. And we -- and Congress is already at an historic low. It's just -- it's just -- it's so discordant for the times in which we live. That's why I think he's not going to make it. It's just -- these are no ordinary times, and this is by most standards not an ordinary event. And he's a sitting congressman.

BERMAN: Anderson, can I just say that I would use this...

COOPER: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: I would just use this with your children as a teachable moment, because, believe me, they are doing it too, maybe not to the same extreme, but they are sexting. They're being pressured to.

So as much as we don't want our kids to be hearing about this, seize the teachable moment and talk to them about it.

COOPER: Good point.

Paul Begala, Mary Matalin, Laura Berman, thank you so much.

Up next, "Keeping Them Honest": Sarah Palin standing by her take on Paul Revere and his historic midnight ride.


SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: He who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells.


COOPER: Not the version most of us learned. Are there any facts at all in her interpretation of Paul Revere warning the British, or is she mistaken? Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley weighs in ahead.

Plus, "Crime & Punishment": a gripping day of testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial -- scientists for the prosecution describing the smell in Anthony's car and what lab tests revealed about evidence from the trunk.


COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight: Sarah Palin's version of Paul Revere's famous midnight ride.

Now, we didn't cover her initial comments about this because we didn't want to seem to be nitpicking. She made an off-the-cuff statement and made a mistake. And we just thought, OK, let's leave it at that.

But asked about it yesterday on television, Palin not only isn't backing down, not admitting she got it wrong, made a mistake. Instead, she's doubling down, rewriting history.

This all started when Palin's bus tour stopped last week in Boston for a swing by the freedom trail. Now, later, at a bakery, Palin shared her take on Revere's historic ride with a local television reporter.


QUESTION: What are you going to take away from your visit?

PALIN: We saw where Paul Revere hung out as a teenager, which was something new to learn, and, you know, he who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure, as he's riding his horse through town, to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.


COOPER: Well, fair to say her recounting of that historic moment didn't really ring a lot of bells for a lot of people, but it did raise a lot of eyebrows of Palin's understanding of the event.

That included Chris Wallace of "FOX News Sunday." But when he asked her about it yesterday, Palin, well, dug in her heels. Watch.


CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": You realized that you messed up about Paul Revere, don't you?

PALIN: You know what? I didn't mess up about Paul Revere.

Here is what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that the British were coming, the British were coming, and they were going to try take our arms, and we got to make sure that we were protecting ourselves and shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms, so that they couldn't take it.

But remember that the British had already been there, many soldiers, for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere's ride -- and it wasn't just one ride -- he was a courier. He was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that we're already there, that, hey, you're not going to succeed. You're not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well- armed persons, individual private militia that we have. He did warn the British.

And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly, and I know my American history.


COOPER: Well, we'll talk to a historian about this in a moment. But she claims she was asked a gotcha type of question, which is a statement she makes a lot. But listen again to the question she was actually asked to judge whether or not you think it's actually a gotcha question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you going to take away from your visit?


COOPER: "What are you going to take away from your visit?" That's what the local television reporter asked. What are you going to take away from your visit? It's a pretty open-ended question.

Now, Palin could have said, for example, "a deep appreciation of the city's historic past" or maybe "renewed respect for the courage of Paul Revere." No one asked her for details about this historic ride. It wasn't a trick question.

It's not the first time, though, that Palin has used the gotcha defense. Remember, during the 2008 presidential campaign when Palin said Alaska's proximity to Russia was part of her foreign policy experience, and Katie Couric asked her to elaborate.


KATIE COURIC, FORMER CBS ANCHOR: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia, as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border.


COOPER: Now, in her book, "Going Rogue," Palin wrote this about Couric's line of questioning: "Katie's purpose, shared by most media types, seemed to be to frame a gotcha moment. And it worked."

In another interview with Palin and her running mate, Senator John McCain, Couric asked Palin's response to a question about whether the U.S. should launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan. The question came from a voter, not a reporter. And Palin answered yes.

The problem was that her answer was at odds with McCain's statements on the issue. For Palin this was the upshot.


COURIC: What did you learn from that experience?

PALIN: That this is all about gotcha journalism. A lot of it is. But that's OK, too.


COOPER: Well, there was also this moment when ABC's Charlie Gibson asked vice-presidential candidate Palin her opinion of the Bush Doctrine.


CHARLIE GIBSON, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: What do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His worldview?

GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002 before the Iraq war.


COOPER: When FOX News Bill O'Reilly asked Palin about that awkward moment, she was ready with the gotcha defense.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You think that Gibson did that to demean you, to make you look stupid?

PALIN: Those are the gotcha techniques that some in the what some people call mainstream, others call now the lame stream media, want to participate in, a tactic like that.

O'REILLY: But he's not like that. Gibson's not like that.

PALIN: Had he explained a little bit more the context of the questions he was asking, probably could have answered it.


COOPER: All right. Nearly two years later now Palin's using the gotcha defense again, sticking by her version of history.

Meantime, according to reports, Palin supporters apparently tried to revise the Wikipedia entry for Paul Revere over the weekend by adding a line that supported Palin's remarks. The revision was later removed.

So how close does Palin's version come to the facts? Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley joins me now.

So Douglas, you're a professor of U.S. history. If you had a student who described Paul Revere's ride on the exam the way that Sarah Palin did, would you mark them right or wrong or give them partial credit, maybe?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PROFESSOR OF U.S. HISTORY: I wouldn't give them, really, any credit at all. It's just convoluted history.

The problem with her comment is it was sort of taking all sorts of different ideas and whirling them all together. I believe she was on her "One Nation" tour in Boston and toured the North Church, toured Bunker Hill, toured Paul Revere's house, and then answered that, taking little snippets of history.

There were two different events: one April 8, 1775, Paul Revere's ride out of Boston, where he warned the American patriots, not the British, in particular, Sam Adams and John Hancock, that the British troops were marching to Lexington to arrest them. And Revere was trying to mobilize the countryside.

I think she got mixed up that later he was arrested and told the British, you know, that the Americans had guns and that they were going to defend themselves after Revere got arrested.

So I think in her guided tours -- and this was all done very quickly in Boston -- she kind of took little bits and put them into her own Sarah Palin version of history. And it's not good history. It's convoluted.

COOPER: I mean, again, we didn't cover this initially because you know, we just thought, look, she misspoke. But then to double down and insist she is getting it right, this is why we're now even talking about it.

Part of her explanation yesterday was that she meant Revere was trying to make a statement about the individual private militia that the British were facing and about American arms. Could she have a point there?

BRINKLEY: No, it's just all a -- it's like just taking up things and putting them into a blender and then saying, "Well, this line" -- you know, the great writer William Burroughs used to do cut-up method, where you take a story and cut words and mix them all together. And if you actually read the text of what she said, it doesn't really make sense.

She has Revere kind of on a horse shooting, while bells were ringing, as if he were Yosemite Sam or something. It's not very, very clear the portrait she's painting.

And part of being a historian is to be able to explain narrative history to people. If you're going on an education tour for Boston and the Liberty Bell during Memorial Day weekend, then teach people. Have a teaching moment.

She didn't care about the history. She cared about Sarah Palin. And as you rightfully said, there was nothing "I got you" about that question. It was just her -- her spouting off.

I applauded her going to these sites. I thought that the bus tour was great, because anytime you can tell people to learn more about the American Revolution, it's wonderful. But mis-teaching people, telling, you know, bogus information like she did isn't helpful in any way whatsoever.

And then today you had people trying to put false things on Wikipedia.

COOPER: It's interesting...

BRINKLEY: And to Wikipedia's credit, they blocked her. They blocked her supporters.

COOPER: It's interesting, because politicians of all stripes -- Democrats, Republicans -- often refuse to admit a mistake, as if making a mistake is somehow a sign of weakness. When, in fact, being able to admit a mistake is a sign of your strength, is a sign that you're confident enough in yourself that, you know, people make mistakes.

BRINKLEY: I couldn't agree more. And that's the whole problem with all this. All she had to say is, "Look, I misspoke." Obviously, she should have said that "I know Paul Revere was saying the British are coming," you know, and that was the whole point of the story. And really almost every child knows that.

She misspoke but didn't want to admit it, because she's gotten into this Spiro Agnew-like war against the press, and "I'll never apologize. And I'll never give up. I'll never say I'm wrong." And that's not an educational message.

I have three kids. And you try to teach them sometimes when you're wrong, admit you're wrong. She didn't do that. And as you said, she doubled down.

And it's a big thumb -- it's a thumbs down for Sarah Palin for the way, I think, she handled this Paul Revere flap. It's minor, but it's sort of sad, because in many ways she's charismatic. And I thought being with the veterans, the Vietnam vets on Memorial Day was positive. The bus tour made some sense. But then when she can't admit when she makes a mistake, you realize that she's sort of not ready for prime time.

COOPER: Doug Brinkley, I appreciate you being on. Doug, thanks very much.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Quick programming note. A week from tonight Monday June 13th CNN's going to have live coverage of the Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire. That's at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, "Crime & Punishment." Dramatic testimony in the Casey Anthony murder trial. Today a scientist talked about the smell in Anthony's car, saying there was only one plausible explanation for it, that there was a body in the trunk, a human body.

Also dramatic testimony about chloroform being found in a carpet sample from the trunk. And those Internet searches from Anthony's home about chloroform use. We'll get the latest from Gary Tuchman in Atlanta next.

Isha Sesay is following other stories for us -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, an update on Eman al- Obeidy, the Libyan woman who said she was gang-raped by Gadhafi troops. Now, last week she was deported from Qatar, sent back to Libya. But tonight, Eman is out of the country again. I'll tell you where she is now and how the United States is helping her. That's coming up.


COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, another dramatic day in the Casey Anthony trial. Testimony focused on the smell in the trunk of Anthony's car. A scientist testifying for the prosecution says that the smell and forensic testing showed that there was a dead body in the trunk, as well as a high level of chloroform.

In cross-examination, the defense tried to debunk the scientist's testing methods.

Gary Tuchman has more from Orlando.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Casey Anthony had little expression as she entered court on Monday. And her poker face remained, even when this scientist talked about examining evidence from her car trunk that was put in a can and declaring he smelled death.

JEFFREY ASHTON, PROSECUTOR: When you first opened it, what was your reaction?

DR. ARPAD VASS, FORENSICS EXPERT: I essentially jumped back a foot or two.

ASHTON: Did you immediately recognize the odor that was emanating from the piece of carpet in the can?

VASS: I recognized it as human decomposition.

TUCHMAN: Dr. Arpad Vass is a forensic anthropologist with the Oakridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, testifying for the prosecution. His words lay the groundwork for the picture the prosecution wants to paint: that Casey Anthony put her dead child in the back of her Pontiac Sunbird and then disposed of the lifeless little girl.

Vass specializes in a type of science which tests air samples for human decomposition. It's an unusual specialty and is believed to be first-of-its-kind testimony in a U.S. court.

ASHTON: Do you have an opinion as to whether there was a decomposing human body in the trunk of that car?

VASS: I can find no other plausible explanation other than that to explain all the results we found.


TUCHMAN: At the beginning of the trial, Casey Anthony and her attorney made shocking statements, that Caylee Anthony accidentally drowned and that the defendant had been molested by her father in the past and learned to keep disturbing situations quiet.

Her father denies molesting Casey. But George Anthony and his wife, Cindy, still appear to be supporting their daughter as they sit in the back row of the courtroom.

Anthony's attorney tried to impugn the credibility of the government's science witness, saying in part that he may be a scientist, but he's not specifically a chemist. They also questioned his credentials.

BAEZ: You are not a member of any professional organizations that would govern its members, are you, sir?

VASS: No. And my background is so diverse I wouldn't even know which one to possibly join.

BAEZ: Because, of course, your ideas are so unique?

VASS: I'm being paid to be creative and think outside the box.

TUCHMAN: The jury seemed to listen to Dr. Vass very carefully, particularly when he talked about finding chloroform in the sample from the car trunk, which can be used to incapacitate or even kill someone.

ASHTON: Did the amount of chloroform you that found in the chromatogram surprise you?

VASS: We were shocked.


VASS: We have never seen chloroform in that level in environmental samples before.

TUCHMAN: It did not seem to be a good day for the defense. But prosecutors are still the ones calling the witnesses.


COOPER: Well, Gary Tuchman joins us live from Orlando, Florida. Did the defense attorney score any points at all in his criticism of the scientist, Gary?

TUCHMAN: I don't think so, Anderson, because Dr. Vass came off as someone who was very smart but not slimy. A lot of times these expert witnesses, who do get paid to testify, come off as people who want to make money and gain some -- gain some fame.

But this guy seemed to be very, very enthusiastic about a job that I lot of us would consider very weird and unsettling. And the jury seemed to buy what he -- buy what he said.

COOPER: And what's Casey Anthony's demeanor like in court, I mean, during seven hours in court today?

TUCHMAN: Yes. I mean, she maintained the same expression virtually the entire time. There were some funny moments in court where she could have smiled. There were lots of sad moments where she could have cried. And just kind of looked kind of with a blank stare most of the day, the seven hours while she was in court.

The only time I saw her smile was after the jury left for the day, and she smiled and then she walked out. And she'll be back again tomorrow.

COOPER: Gary, thanks.

Just a short time ago I spoke with Jean Casarez, who's covering the trial for TruTV's "In Session," and forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter.


COOPER: Dr. Hunter, in court today a scientist testified that a decomposing human body is the only explanation for the odor coming from Casey Anthony's trunk. He's using science that's fairly new and has really never been used in court before. Were you convinced by his testimony?

DR. MICHAEL HUNTER, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: You know, I really was. There was initial testimony that placed a hair that appeared to be a human hair. And then the testimony today regarding the decomposition in the fluid, certainly kind of -- I was initially somewhat suspect about it. But as I got a better understanding about it and what his findings were and what they meant, and his background with the body farm, I felt pretty confident that the prosecution had a really strong witness today.

COOPER: Jean, the defense was countering, calling it junk science, and implying that the scientist had a financial interest in promoting his research, that he would get a patent and would get income from that. Do you think they succeeded in casting doubt on his testimony?

JEAN CASAREZ, CORRESPONDENT, TRUTV'S "IN SESSION": You know, it was tough because they said that, because of this sniffer machine that he has that sort of emulates a cadaver dog and it sniffs, that he's going to make money off of that. But that wasn't a part of this case. And he testified that he didn't even know if he would actually get royalties from it.

So, since the defense couldn't prove that he was going to get royalties from it, if it's even patented, I don't think it was that strong of an argument.

COOPER: Jean, the scientist today also said that the level of chloroform found in the trunk was shockingly high.

CASAREZ: It's amazing. You see the air from the trunk of Casey's car was sealed in this tin can. And then it was tested. And what it found was not only chemicals of decomposition but chloroform levels above and beyond, he testified, that any decomposing body would have.

So Anderson, for the first time chloroform, in and of itself, was introduced to this jury today.

COOPER: And that, coupled along with the fact that police found an Internet search for chloroform on Anthony's home computer.

CASAREZ: That's exactly right. Not only chloroform but how to make chloroform. And that was March of 2008, three months before Caylee went missing.

COOPER: Dr. Hunter, I mean, there's no cause of death on record. The prosecution's relying basically on circumstantial evidence. Does the prosecution have a strong enough case, do you think, to convict Casey Anthony?

HUNTER: You know, at this point they have Caylee in the trunk of that vehicle, I think, pretty soundly.

They brought up something with the second witness, and that's the chloroform. I think we may hear more about that down the road.

What they're trying to do is build the cause of death here. They were unable to establish a specific cause of death through the examination and autopsy, but they're going to try to continue to build this background, this forensic background to subsequently allow the medical examiner to testify as to what her opinion is. And it's a big job for the prosecution to do.

COOPER: And the DNA, the mitochondrial DNA testing that they're doing, it can't say for sure that that was Caylee's hair, but it basically is -- there's three options. I think it was Casey, her mom, or Caylee. And, given the fact that there was decomposition on the hair, it can't be Casey or it can't be her mom, right?

HUNTER: Right. I mean, mitochondrial DNA is basically maternally derived. So it's going to be grandmother, mother, or it's going to be an offspring.

Now, you know, in this case, that hair not only had mitochondrial DNA that would be consistent with Caylee, but it showed features of decomposition. I think they solidly place her in that vehicle decomposing for a period of time.

COOPER: Jean, do we know what happens tomorrow?

CASAREZ: It's going to be a chemist on the stand to talk about these chemicals of decomposition.

COOPER: All right. Jean Casarez, appreciate it.

Dr. Michael Hunter, thanks.



COOPER: Still ahead tonight, new violence in Syria. More than 100 people killed. But who's doing the killing?

Also ahead, Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who claims she was gang- raped by Gadhafi's soldiers, finally escapes Libya. We'll tell you where she is now.

And the RidicuList. I wanted to bring it to you Friday night, but my producer's birthday surprise got in the way. Paris Hilton is not on the list, by the way. We'll explain ahead.


COOPER: All right. Let's check in with some of the other stories we're following tonight. Isha Sesay has a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, new fighting in Syria today left more than 100 people dead in one northern city alone. State TV says security forces were killed by what it calls armed gangs, setting government buildings on fire. But accounts from social media say the violence was actually the result of soldiers defecting.

Eman al-Obeidy, the woman who says Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi's troops gang-raped her, has arrived at a refugee facility in Romania. Eman had fled Libya and was in Qatar but was deported back to Libya last week. A State Department source says the United States worked with officials in Libya and Europe to get her out of the country safely. Eman has said she wants to come to the United States. Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn pleaded "not guilty" today to charges related to an alleged incident with a New York hotel maid. The maid is accusing him of sexual assault. His next court date is set for July 18.

The man who falsified documents for more than ten years in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme pleaded guilty today to charges in the case. Eric Lipkin was charged with conspiracy, fraud, and making false statements. He's scheduled to be sentenced in December.

And Anderson, the jacket Michael Jackson wore in the "Thriller" video could be yours or mine, actually. The jacket will be auctioned off later this month and is expected to go for up to $400,000.

COOPER: Wow. Really?

SESAY: Yes. Now that your birthday is done, we can look ahead to my birthday.

COOPER: That's what you want?

SESAY: I'm just saying. If you want to start a collection.

COOPER: All right. When is your birthday?

SESAY: January.

COOPER: January. All right. Advanced planning. That's good.

SESAY: It's important.

COOPER: Time now for the "RidicuList." Tonight we're adding people who criticize Paris Hilton. And yes, I know, I know I used to be among them. It's true. I admit it. I couldn't see past the sex tape or how she talks like a baby sometimes or says "that's hot" and is famous for -- well, for having a sex tape and talking like a baby and saying "that's hot."

But I've changed my mind, because Paris Hilton has changed. She's changed her heart. How do I know this? Well, because Paris told me so. She was on Piers Morgan's show the other night to promote her new reality show, and she was talking about her goals for the show and for her image.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Would you like to be taken more seriously?

PARIS HILTON, HOTEL HEIRESS: I would. Definitely. I feel like I've really grown in the past couple years. I just turned 30. I'm an adult.

I feel like I was finally ready to show who I really was. And I'm really honest in the show.

I want to be as real as possible. And people to get to know me.


COOPER: Fair enough. She's older. She's wiser. She wants to be real and honest. I say more power to her. Let's take a look at her new reality show, "The World According to Paris," on the Oxygen Network.


HILTON: Because of a little incident in Las Vegas last year I have to do 200 hours of community service. It really sucks (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


COOPER: OK. I guess that's honest. The little incident, by the way, she's referring to, of course, was cocaine. But let's move on.

This is a whole new Paris. This is a new Paris. This is serious. She's savvy. She answered the tough questions about her sucky community service.


HILTON: Am I going to be working with, like, convicts and, like, prisoner people?


COOPER: All right. She used "like" twice in the same sentence. And "like prisoner people" probably is not the best way to describe anyone. But again, let's not split hairs.

In fact, in her new show there is clear evidence that the new Paris is nothing like the old Paris. Look, this is the new Paris.

Here she is naked in a tub on her reality show from the other night. But see, she's not doing full frontal. The old Paris, full frontal. Did you see the old Paris in that night vision sex tape? We're not going to show it to you. But it looks something sort of like this.


COOPER: We didn't really want to pay for the actual sex tape.

Old Paris was flighty, self-absorbed, didn't show a lot of responsibility. But new Paris? New Paris faces the consequences of her actions head on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is our uniform shirt. It says who you are out on the street. And we need you to put it on over your clothes. Thank you. HILTON: Do I have to wear this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to wear this.



COOPER: Why indeed.

Now, I have to admit I nearly shed a tear when new Paris rolled up her sleeves when she put the shirt on and got to work doing her community service.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you leave your bag inside because you need to work.

HILTON: Are you serious?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you take, it please?

HILTON: Oh, my God. I just got rocks in my shoe.

I have an idea of how I can get this over with a little quicker.

Am I going to get double hours because my assistant's with me?


COOPER: She's so real.

Speaking of the assistant, a scandalous detail emerged about said assistant. Apparently, she has a job on the side writing storylines for porn. Now, who knew porn actually employed writers? But maybe old Paris, you know, wouldn't have cared. But new Paris is concerned.


HILTON: Is she kidding? My assistant writes porn? What's next, my gardener works as a stripper?


COOPER: See, new Paris cares. She cares about everyone: her assistant, her gardener, even the hungry tigers.


HILTON: My friends and I call desperate people who crave attention hungry tigers.


COOPER: I'm with you, new Paris. Desperate people who crave attention are just the worst.


HILTON: Every time I leave the house paparazzi are there, blinding me with flash bulbs.


COOPER: New Paris, on behalf of the nation, I apologize. I'm sorry we ever doubted you. Though we made assumptions about who you are. And I'm sorry that some people still are. For that we put them on tonight's "RidicuList."

More news ahead. We'll be right back.