Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Iran Claims It Shot Down U.S. Drone; Bishop Eddie Long Takes Break; Search for a Serial Killer; FAMU Band Hazing Scandal; Moms of Hazed Students Speak Out

Aired December 4, 2011 - 22:00   ET

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


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Spy drone. An unmanned U.S. drone falls out of the sky over Iranian air space. Iran says they shot it down. The U.S. says its operators lost control.

Unsolved mysteries. Police in New York discuss new theories about a string of unsolved murders and bodies found dumped on beaches in Long Island.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, our theory is now that it's one killer involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: We'll have a special in-depth report.

Hazing scandal. The prestigious Florida A&M University marching band under investigation for the death of a student. We'll hear from mothers of two band members.

And the blame game and Herman Cain. It's always someone else's fault, and he's not alone. It's our "No Talking Points" segment tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These false and unproved allegations continue to be spinned in the media.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It's all right here right now on CNN.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

Winter is coming. Occupy protesters have been getting ready. This plastic bubble recently went up in Buffalo, New York. It was donated by supporters so demonstrators can stay warm and dry.

In Portland, Oregon, police moved in when protesters set up camping tents. Nineteen people were arrested. But the real drama today has been in Washington. Police and protesters have been in a standoff over a wooden building that went up overnight. Let's get right to CNN's Athena Jones.

Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Don. Well, you know, this ended just a little while ago with the police finally being able to take down the last protester who was on top of the structure that Occupy D.C. protesters had erected overnight.

Police came in late this morning and told them that they needed to take the structure down. They said that there were safety concerns, that the structure hadn't gone through the proper inspections. But protesters refused to leave, and so they occupied the building itself, which has now been torn down, as you can see behind me.

Several of them climbed on top of it. At one point, there were about a dozen of these demonstrators on top of the building, and they stayed there for hours. Throughout the day, they led chants. You had -- demonstrators here in the crowd away from the structure who were throwing them food and water.

This is a camp -- this Occupy D.C. camp here in McPherson Square, they've been camping out here since the beginning of October. We're only a few blocks from the White House. Protesters and police have both said that they haven't really had any big problems until today. And so you had this more than nine-hour long standoff. Ultimately, no one was injured.

It was a very difficult and dangerous process at one point, trying to get these protesters off the structure. At one point, one of the police who was in a cherry picker yelled to some others to be careful because there was concern that one of the rafters would break inside of the structure.

But we had them come out with a cherry picker to pull people off. They used harnesses. They used ropes. At one point, they inflated a giant cushion where some of the protesters jumped off. One somersaulted off of the roof of this structure.

So it's been quite a hectic day. Fifteen of the people who were arrested were arrested for crossing a police line. That's earlier in the day. Another 16 were arrested for failure to obey an order to vacate. And then the last person to remain on the structure was arrested and charged with several other offenses, including resisting arrest, indecent exposure and urinating in public.

And so it's been quite a dramatic day. One of the concerns early on was that the police would ask for the whole park to leave. There's lots of tents all around this park. That has not happened, and we don't expect it to.

LEMON: All right, Athena Jones, thank you. Appreciate your reporting. We want to go to news now overseas -- Iran. Iran is bragging about a new prize in its conflict with the U.S. -- a drone plane supposedly shot down over eastern Iran. And I talked with CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr about the incident. She explained that this was no ordinary drone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening. Well, Iranian authorities are saying they did shoot down a highly classified U.S. unmanned spy plane over their territory along that eastern border with Afghanistan. Iran says the drone they shot down was something called an RQ-170. Now, that's one of the most secret drones in the U.S. military and intelligence arsenal. Essentially, a stealth drone flies undetected, gathering intelligence and targeting information.

What is the U.S. saying? Well, so far, the U.S., using the NATO alliance in Afghanistan to issue a statement, it's only saying, quote, "The UAV, which the Iranians are referring to, may be a U.S. unarmed reconnaissance aircraft that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan late last week. The operators of the UAV lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status."

That is what the U.S. is saying about all of this. A loss of flight controls before the drone went down. But what the U.S. isn't saying is that it was shot down or that it was one of these highly classified drones. So, the key question now is really obvious. Do the Iranians have their hands on classified U.S. intelligence technology?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, thank you so much.

All right. Let's turn now to a bombshell announcement Sunday from the pulpit of one of the country's biggest megachurches. Bishop Eddie Long of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta says he's taking a leave of absence to attend to his family. His wife Vanessa filed for divorce a few days ago.

Long has been embroiled in controversy for -- when four young men accused him of coercive sexual relationships. But Long denies the allegations but settled the lawsuits out of court.

So I want to bring in now John Blake. He's a religion writer at cnn.com.

John, you have been doing a serious discussion on this. You've been talking about it. You were a member of the church?

JOHN BLAKE, CNN.COM RELIGION WRITER: No, I was never a member. But I've been writing about New Birth and Bishop Long since the late 1990s.

LEMON: OK. How serious is it that Vanessa Long is filing for divorce?

BLAKE: I don't think he's going to recover. I'd be very surprised if Bishop Long ever leads a megachurch again. Two big reasons. One is his whole image is built on his masculinity and being this family man. This goes to the heart of that. She's taken that away.

I mean, it's going to be very difficult for a lot of the women in the church which make up the majority of the church to say, why should I stick by Bishop Long if his wife isn't sticking by him.

LEMON: It was one of the -- was she one of the last things standing in the way from a complete departure from the church for him or a complete collapse of the church? Because if his wife is standing by, as you said the women would say, there must be something to it. Maybe these allegations are false.

BLAKE: Yes. I mean, I think it's a very serious blow. I mean -- because a lot of other people have left. Bernice King, Dr. King's daughter, left awhile ago. There have been a lot of other ministers and big shots who've left. But when she leaves, if she's not at his side, it's just going to be difficult for him.

LEMON: Before this came out, were there any signs of trouble in the marriage? I had never heard of it.

BLAKE: No. What I've heard is that she's incredible, very gracious, beautiful woman. So I didn't hear about any trouble within the marriage.

LEMON: Yes. So, one would think, and we don't know, we don't know, we're not there. One would think that maybe this had a lot to do with it. You've been out there. What is the mood?

BLAKE: It's like going to a funeral.

LEMON: Really?

BLAKE: It's like the place is dead, dying. And there's precedent for this. A lot of people think that he can recover but there was a very famous megachurch in Atlanta that's not too far from New Birth, it had a big sex scandal, Chapel Hill, Bishop Earl Paulk.

LEMON: Yes.

BLAKE: Once that happened, that church died. You would go to the church grounds and you see this big huge building, nobody in it.

LEMON: Yes. But isn't the church, isn't it about redemption and forgiveness?

BLAKE: There's little redemption and forgiveness for a pastor in a black church who is perceived as gay. If people believe that he is gay, that he has been living a double life, not only living a double like, he came out very hard against gay people. So, he might appear to be even a hypocrite. There's no precedent for a black pastor get into the pulpit to have all those shadows hanging over him and to be popular and lead a megachurch again.

LEMON: Yes. And it's interesting that you said that because no one has ever actually said that word about him being gay. Even though, you know, it's just rumors. We don't know the fact. It's been rumors for decades now about Bishop Eddie Long and that. And if this sort of comes to fruition as of now, it's going to be taken very seriously in the church.

BLAKE: Well, people speculate about all types of pastors' sexual orientation. But these charges, these four young men, I mean, that's definitely gay behavior. And for people to still think about that and say, we will still go to church when you are there. That's going to be really hard.

LEMON: Very interesting. John Blake, thank you. Appreciate that. CNN.com, writes for our belief blog and also for CNN.com in general as well and he's written on this issue.

Thank you, John. We appreciate that.

And one of our regular guests on NEWSROOM, a political analyst, Goldie Taylor. You've seen her here. Very knowledgeable about New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. She is not a member, but has many connections to the church community.

Taylor says Vanessa Long played a pivotal role in the rise of the megachurch. And while the bishop and his wife's future not clear right now, Taylor says New Birth can survive without its founders.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOLDIE TAYLOR, POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the church absolutely can survive. I've always --

LEMON: With Eddie Long?

TAYLOR: That's the question. I have always said that New Birth and its spirit is bigger than Eddie Long. But if the church decides to be smaller than Eddie Long, it absolutely will not survive.

Yes, their donations are down. Yes, they've had to lay off staff. Yes, the enrollment in membership is down. But, you know, tell me where that isn't true in any church across this country.

LEMON: You said that if the church is smaller, meaning, if they think that they can't survive without Eddie Long.

TAYLOR: Absolutely.

LEMON: That's going to be the ruination of the church, you think?

TAYLOR: That would be the ruination of the church. If they decide that their fortune or their future is tied to just one man rather than the church itself, a church without walls, then, yes, they will have a tough time surviving.

LEMON: If there is a lesson in any of this, you know, as I said when the story started to unfold, there are no winners in this, right? The Long family, as you said, there is a family.

And I know Eddie Long Jr.'s son and actually had a bit of a confrontation with him in the atrium not long ago about this story. And it was -- let's say a heated discussion about this story.

Do you think that if there's anything that will come out of this, that there's a wake-up call about people who blindly sort of follow people and who don't necessarily see the realities of the world?

Is there anything that can come out of this for people? A wake- up call for any of us?

TAYLOR: I think the lesson about this and how I've even chosen by own church. This is about stewardship. And this is about how you entrust your life, your spiritual life, your assets, you know, your family, you know underneath one leader. And you've got to choose your steward well. You've got to understand -- you've got to choose a steward that is compassionate, that is out for your greater good and not simply out for their own. And I think that's a real question here.

LEMON: And here's my thing, too. If the church is really about -- what it espouses to be and it's about redemption and acceptance and loving, then they can accept Eddie Long back because nobody is perfect. No man is perfect.

TAYLOR: There is something in Christianity called a sit-down. And that's when you willingly take yourself out of the pulpit for a time of reconciliation. Eddie Long has that opportunity now. I think that's what this is about, and if he can successfully come out of the other side of that, then sure. I think he's ready to, you know, lead New Birth again.

LEMON: Yes, but I think we're being -- you know, I may be a little Pollyannaish about this. I think that that can happen in a perfect world, it could. It would be great if that could happen, right?

TAYLOR: I think that's the process and that process of redemption is open to Eddie Long just as it's open to all of us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much Goldie Taylor for that.

Vanessa Long's divorce petition says she and her husband are separated and there is no hope of reconciliation.

The Herman Cain campaign, derailed. Now the big question is -- who is going to get his supporters? Michele Bachmann says they're already moving over to her side. We're going to talk about it in just moments.

Also ahead, new clues in the Long Island serial killings lead police to believe there's only one killer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The glitz and glamour of Hollywood can be found in Washington at the 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Actress Meryl Streep, singers Neil Diamond and Barbara Cook, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and cellist Yo-Yo Ma were honored for their lifetime contribution to American culture. At a White House reception before the gala performance, the president had a bit of fun with one honoree in particular.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the most amazing thing about Yo-Yo Ma is that everybody likes him.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: You've got to give me some tips.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: It's remarkable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Top Hollywood stars and political dignitaries attended the gala performance. Among them, actors Stanley Tucci and Sarah Jessica Parker and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.

LEMON: OK. So with Herman Cain out of the race for the White House, his supporters are now fair game for the Republicans who are still in the fight. And I asked where CNN contributor Will Cain saw those backers going.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There's two polls out. Des Moines Register and I think it's called Public Polling Policy -- Public Policy Polling. They both say about 40 percent of Herman Cain supporters see Newt Gingrich as their second choice. We should stop, you know, and kind of marvel at that absurdity. Those attracted to the ultimate Washington outsider in Herman Cain are going to opt as their second choice for the ultimate Washington insider --

LEMON: Well, also, too if you think about it, the thing that drove Herman Cain out of this race were allegations of infidelity and, you know, his shenanigans with women. And Newt Gingrich has a whole laundry list of those in his past.

CAIN: Right, right. So move to the guy with the next stellar character record. It's just that it's absurd that Newt Gingrich is the second choice. But I got to say. One thing Herman Cain was able to foster, one reputation or perception, better, that he was able to foster was that of conservative purity. And that's something Michele Bachmann has been able to do as well. She's been able to sell herself as the pure conservative.

So, yes, I think there are some supporters who right now support or did support Herman Cain who will move to Bachmann.

LEMON: How much of a boost could that give her considering Cain's dive in the polls before his exit. I mean, yesterday, I was talking to Shannon Travis who was there. Shannon said there was hardly anybody at this announcement. It wasn't a big crowd. And if you talk to other people who followed him even before, days before, there weren't big crowds showing up for him.

CAIN: Right. You know what, honestly, it's kind of like two bank robbers sitting in the vault arguing over the split. Meanwhile, the bank has already been robbed. Newt Gingrich has already stolen all of Herman Cain's support.

Look, it simultaneously flipped. Herman Cain was at 25 and Newt was at 8. Now Newt is high and Herman Cain is down to about 8.

LEMON: OK. Listen, Bachmann talked about -- and you mentioned it as a true conservative, being the tea party candidate. But is that true given her low poll numbers? Does the tea party even matter in this election?

CAIN: Well, here's the problem with that question. Here's the problem with this entire attempted analysis is we can't define the tea party. We never have been able to define the tea party. Is the tea party libertarianism by another name as evidenced by Ron Paul or Rand Paul's support or is it the religious right as evidenced by Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry?

It's been impossible to define. And the truth is, yes, the tea party does swing some support, does swing some power. But it's impossible to coalesce. It's split up among Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann. All we know is the tea party is defined by what it is not. It's not Mitt Romney.

LEMON: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. New clues in the Long Island serial killings case. Police now believe there's only one killer responsible for the murder of at least 10 people. Our Susan Candiotti has an in-depth report just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Long Island police hope a renewed search for a missing prostitute will help them find a killer. The first hunt for her revealed a sinister series of murders, 10 in all, going back some 15 years. Tonight, CNN's national correspondent Susan Candiotti takes an in-depth look at the case with some new from detectives trying to solve this eerie mystery.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's been a year since police discovered the bodies of four sex workers, wrapped in burlap, disposed of like garbage in heavy brush along a desolate stretch of highway near Long Island's south shore. From December to April, 10 victims eventually were found. One had vanished 15 years ago. All women, except for a toddler and a man. Each grisly discovery begging a question that one man is answering.

(on camera): Hi, Commissioner. Good to see you again. Susan Candiotti.

(voice over): Retiring Suffolk County, Long Island Police Commissioner Richard Dormer has a new theory.

(on camera): Commissioner, what is your theory now almost a year after the bodies were found of how many killers there are.

RICHARD DORMER, COMMISSIONER, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE: We're leaning towards the one serial killer scenario.

CANDIOTTI (voice over): One killer because of his targets. Victims in the sex trade, in their 20s, hidden in the same general area.

Seven months ago, investigators had a different theory that there was more than one person responsible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS SPOTA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, SUFFOLK COUNTY: There is no evidence that all of these remains are that of a single killer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI (on camera): What drew you to the conclusion, however, that you didn't have before?

DORMER: There was a male found with the group. And that certainly was different. And then there was a toddler found.

CANDIOTTI (voice over): Because the man shown in this police composite was dressed in women's clothes, Dormer says he probably also was a prostitute, linking him to the other victims. As for the toddler, though found seven miles from the remains of his likely mother, police theorize she was also in the sex trade.

DORMER: We find out it's -- you know, not unusual for a sex worker to bring her toddler along if she can't find a babysitter.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Do you have a profile of who you think this person is?

DORMER: No, we don't. In this case, we believe that this person is organized. He's an organized killer rather than disorganized.

CANDIOTTI (voice over): Organized and a local.

DORMER: Well, it's obvious that somebody, whoever this is, knows the area.

CANDIOTTI: The suspected killer did not dismember every victim. Dormer says that's not unusual.

DORMER: They can change their MO and it's possible that he changed his MO.

CANDIOTTI: For the first time, police are not linking Shannon Gilbert to this case. Also a prostitute. It was her disappearance last December that led to the discovery of the first four bodies. Gilbert remains missing. Police plan another search for her and the serial killer.

(on camera): Do you think he'll slip up?

DORMER: They always do. Doesn't matter how smart they are or how organized they are. They always make a mistake.

CANDIOTTI (voice over): Which means he could strike again.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Suffolk County, Long Island.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Victims' families have been following the case closely. What do they think about the new theory? Susan spoke with them and you'll see her follow-up to the story after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Before the break, we told you the latest theory in the Long Island murder investigation. One serial killer responsible for at least 10 murders. The case has troubled no one like the victims' family members. Here's CNN's Susan Candiotti.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI (voice over): Melissa Cann watches a montage of photos in tribute to her sister Maureen, a mother of two. Maureen Brainard- Barnes is one of 10 victims of a suspected serial killer who remains uncaptured after 15 years.

MELISSA CANN, VICTIM'S SISTER: Someone that disregards human life. To keep on doing it over and over again. It's horrible. I can't even flush a goldfish down the toilet let alone harm another human being.

CANDIOTTI: Brainard-Barnes left her home in Norwich, Connecticut in 2007. She told her sister she had a weekend modeling job in New York City and then vanished. Three years later, in December 2010, police found her body wrapped in burlap. Her sister was told Maureen was strangled. Three other women were also found murdered in the brush along a same isolated stretch of highway. Police say the killer chose his targets carefully, all in the sex trade.

CANN: I can't even describe to myself how bad it feels to be, you know, a family member of one of these girls that were found.

CANDIOTTI (voice over): The family of Melissa Barthelemy in Buffalo, New York is also grieving and, like Cann, is not surprised that a single killer is now suspected. He used Barthelemy's own cell phone seven times to taunt her little sister after she vanished. In one call, the family attorney says the killer even confessed.

STEVE COHEN, BARTHELEMY FAMILY ATTORNEY: He is cold. He is very precise. He's very disciplined. And he is the quintessential monster. He's a monster.

CANDIOTTI: The victims' families worry the killer may not be done.

COHEN: He's getting better and better at it. Very comfortable doing what he's doing.

CANDIOTTI: Melissa Cann says the families stay in touch daily, getting strength from each other. Last summer, they met for a vigil on the beach near the crime scenes. They plan another vigil this month.

CANN: We formed bonds that like no one can take from us. And it may not be a bond from blood, but it's a bond from tragedy.

CANDIOTTI: Detectives are poring over phone records and sifting through leads, vowing to crack the case one day.

DORMER: To the victims' families, know that we're taking this very seriously. We want to bring this to a successful conclusion. We want to catch the killer of your family member.

CANDIOTTI: Melissa Cann says families won't give up either.

CANN: I know she'd be proud and know that, you know, just say, you know, don't stop giving up. Don't give up on me.

Susan Candiotti, Suffolk County, Long Island.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: There is no place like home. American troops return from Iraq. MELISSA CANN, VICTIM'S SISTER: I know she'd be proud and know that, you know, just say, you know, don't stop giving up. Don't give up on me.

Susan Candiotti, Suffolk County, Long Island.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: There is no place like home. American troops return from Iraq. That and more of your top stories next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Let's check your headlines now. A rock star welcome for U.S. troops returning home from Iraq.

These troops returned to Ft. Hood, Texas, after being in Iraq for 10 months. Similar scenes could be seen across the U.S. throughout the weekend as the Iraq pull-out continues. Nearly all of the 11,000 troops remaining in Iraq are due to be out by December 31st.

There was no stopping this excessive celebration at Oklahoma State University Saturday night.

Ten people were hurt when OSU fans rushed the home field after they trounced rival Oklahoma 44-10 on Saturday night. The scene got crazy fast and ESPN showed the crowd tearing down a goal post. Most of the people injured were trampled in the rush. Six were treated at hospitals and released. Four others were admitted, including two in guarded but stable condition tonight.

There is something we haven't seen in awhile -- Tiger Woods pumping his fist after winning a tournament. Woods won the Chevron World Challenge Sunday in Thousand Oaks, California, with birdies on the last two holes. It's his first tournament victory in more than two years. And the win boosts his rankings to 21st in the world. His next event isn't until the end of January in Abu Dhabi.

We don't know who will be playing on the field at the Super Bowl this year, but we now know who will be the halftime headliner. It's going to be Madonna. NBC and the NFL made the announcement a short time ago. The Super Bowl is February 5th in Indianapolis. And again, Madonna will be the halftime entertainer.

Now to the big stories in the week ahead. From the White House to Hollywood, our correspondents tell you what you need to know. We begin tonight with the president's plans for the week.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Lothian at the White House. This week, President Obama will meet with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper. White spokesman Jay Carney said the two leaders would touch on the economy and security issues among other things. He would not confirm if they would be discussing the controversial keystone pipeline. That meeting takes place on Wednesday after President Obama returns from a Tuesday trip to Eastern Kansas where he will be delivering remarks on the economy at a local high school.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kate Bolduan on Capitol Hill. Both the House and the Senate will be largely focused on taking care of critical year-end issues like the big fight over extending the payroll tax cut and how to pay for it, as well as extending unemployment assistance among other big issues that are all set to expire at the end of this month which is the end of the year.

Lawmakers also need to reach agreement on how to keep the government funded beyond mid-December. All of this ahead of the coming congressional holiday break.

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM: I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. Well, coming up this week on Wall Street, some key economic reports, including the latest manufacturing and trade numbers, as well as a look at consumer sentiment in the midst of the holiday shopping season. Also the most recent RealtyTrac foreclosure numbers come out.

And Europe will continue to be a major focus as Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner travels across the continent. He'll meet with Eurozone leaders to discuss possible efforts to resolve the debt crises there.

We'll track it all for you all week on CNN Money.

A.J. HAMMER, HOST, HLN'S "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": I'm "Showbiz Tonight's" A.J. Hammer. Here's what we're watching this week. We're going to have the very latest in the Kim Kardashian divorce war. So, will Kim grant her ex an annulment?

Also, "Braxton Family Values" stars Tamar and Trina Braxton, they're going to be sharing secrets from their superstar family and their reality show with me.

Make sure you catch "Showbiz Tonight" exclusively Sunday to Friday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on HLN.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, guys.

And let's check on your commute -- tomorrow morning's commute tonight. How is it going to be for you? Jacqui Jeras in the CNN severe weather center.

What's the latest?

JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're watching two systems that are going to be affecting a lot of the country here. We'll start out with one that you've been dealing with all weekend long and that's the flood maker from the eastern Great Lakes down to the Gulf Coast.

(WEATHER REPORT)

LEMON: Oh, boy. Here we go. In the beginning of the week. Thank you, Jacqui Jeras. We appreciate it.

OK. It is a go-to tactic for Republicans -- blame the media. The lame stream media. But Herman Cain tried it and look where he ended up. "No Talking Points" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: It is time now for "No Talking Points."

So tonight, Herman Cain, the Cain train, black walnut, the pizza man, this time didn't deliver.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. In all fairness, we tried to help him out in our November 6th "No Talking Points" segment when his alleged lady troubles first surfaced. But I guess he wasn't watching or just didn't listen to us. Go ahead. Roll it, Rob.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: Excuse me -- excuse me!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What part of "no" don't (INAUDIBLE) people understand?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: The question is -- what part of running for leader of the free world does Herman Cain not understand?

You are going to be asked questions, a lot of them, on just about everything you have ever said or done especially sexual misconduct allegations. Just ask Clinton, Vitter, Weiner, Foley or Craig -- shall I go on -- Hart, Lee or Edwards.

You get what I'm saying. Yet, Cain keeps trying to block reporters. As I said, we tried to help him out. Not only did he try to block reporters' questions. He lectured them. He even handed out a journalist code of conduct.

Now, let's be honest. It's the classic. It really is. It's the classic GOP move -- to blame the media. And even though the lame stream media defense is getting old, Cain and his representatives stuck to it until the very end. Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, on CNN earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIN WOOD, HERMAN CAIN'S ATTORNEY: I'm sorry if you find me naive or if you find my statements about Mr. Cain preposterous. What I find naive is the failure on the part of members of the media to be asking the tough questions of the accuser.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: What we have here is a failure to communicate. The accuser is not, I repeat, not running for president and she was questioned a lot by the media, even provided phone records by her, Mr. Attorney Wood. Fair warning. Cain isn't alone in his media's fault strategy. Ladies and gentleman, your new GOP frontrunner, here's Newt Gingrich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I took seriously Brett's injunction to put aside the talking points and I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions.

I hope, for one, I hope all of my friends up here are going to repudiate every effort of the news media to get Republicans to fight each other to protect Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: All right. And here's another GOP frontrunner in an interview with Fox News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know how many hundred times I've said this to. This is an unusual interview. All right. Let's do it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: OK. So some real talk here. Let's just be honest about it. It doesn't get much friendlier for GOP interviews than Fox News. Huckabee, Palin, Gingrich have all worked there. Some of them still do.

Long story short -- maybe it's time for politicians who get caught in unflattering situations or who might have a bit of trouble with the truth to take responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming the media. And that's tonight's "No Talking Points."

It is a university band with historic traditions. One of the best around. But does that include a legacy of hazing? A report from the Florida A&M hazing scandal next.

And later, we're going to hear from the mothers two of the band members.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: A lawyer for the family of Florida A&M University band member Robert Champion accuses the school of turning a blind eye on hazing. Champion died last month after a halftime performance by the band. University officials say hazing was a factor. George Howell looks at the investigation into an alleged culture of hazing at the school.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Fans affectionately call it the best band in the land. The Marching 100 has long been the pride of Florida A&M University. But since two hazing related incidents, one resulting in the death of the band's drum major Robert Champion, it's a campus in mourning.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What's the mood been like here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The mood has been really sad. The Monday coming back to school was really quiet.

HOWELL (voice over): Police are now investigating a culture of alleged hazing within the band. In this 911 tape, you can hear band members on a bus with Champion, desperately trying to save him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

911: Are you with him right now?

CALLER: Yes, I'm with him, ma'am. He's not breathing. I tried to give him CPR and he started to vomit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Champion died at the hospital November 19th. Not even two weeks before that, another student told police she was rushed to the hospital with injuries after a several week-long initiation period. Dangerous and even violent behavior that former drum major A.J. Richardson says went underground after the school declared a zero-tolerance policy on hazing.

A.J. RICHARDSON, FORMER FLORIDA A&M BAND MEMBER: Those things that began as innocent pranks have been added to over the years. We were asked to do push-ups, but we did not experience the kind of hazing that involved physicality, to get beat up. That just did not happen.

HOWELL: Richardson says he's worked closely over the years with the band's former director, Dr. Julian White, to try to eliminate hazing. White dismissed 30 students from the band for hazing-related incidents prior to Robert Champion's death. A week later, University President Dr. James Ammons fired Dr. White and expelled four students.

(on camera): We reached out to several current and former band members but no one really wanted to talk about the hazing incidents or the students who were expelled. We found this to be a very tight-knit group. And many students on this campus tell me they are shocked that this even happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hear about hazing sororities, fraternities. But when we hear the band, we are like, wait. We have hazing in the band? What's going on?

HOWELL (voice over): Investigators have not yet released details into what caused Robert Champion's death but the tragedy has left a cloud of uncertainty on this campus about its beloved band and the culture within its ranks.

George Howell, CNN, Tallahassee, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: The mothers of two students from the Florida A&M marching band speak out about problems their sons are having with hazing. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: At Florida A&M University, there's nothing bigger than the marching band. Families tell me the way of life on campus resembles the 2002 movie "Drumline."

So in "Drumline," the marching band is the real featured player at football games. And the same is true at Florida A&M. And it's the reason the mothers two of band members say their sons won't leave the Marching 100 despite the hazing they have endured. I first asked Felicia Fabre and Berlinda Johnson what their immediate thought was when they learned a band member had died.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERLINDA JOHNSON, MOTHER, FLORDIA A&M UNIV. BAND MEMBER: My first thought was, I hope it was not hazing.

LEMON: Really?

JOHNSON: Yes.

LEMON: Why?

JOHNSON: I was there that weekend in Orlando when the incident occurred, and the rumors among the students within the band was that it was hazing.

LEMON: And you?

FELICIA FABRE, MOTHER, FLORIDA A&M UNIV. BAND MEMBER: I was like, just wow. I can't believe that they didn't listen. My husband and I had previously had a conversation with Dr. White and the band directors. And in our conversation, I had said to them, please, you know, stop the hazing within your band because we don't -- you know, all the accolades and all the greatness that they had accomplished, it's only going to take one thing and somebody is going to die and your world is going to come tumbling down.

LEMON: And it could have been any parent. It could have been you getting that phone call?

FABRE: It could have been anybody.

LEMON: Yes.

FABRE: Hazing does exist in the Marching 100 and within other organizations or other bands. He likes Dr. White. He loves Dr. White. He's always wanted to be a part of the Marching 100. He doesn't want to see the band end. He just wants the hazing to stop. He wants for them to treat each other with respect that they do.

LEMON: Same with you?

JOHNSON: Yes.

LEMON: You don't want Mr. White to have to resign?

JOHNSON: No. I think that others -- I think that everyone who has some knowledge needs to kind of wake up now because apparently, you know, if Dr. White knew something and he passed the information to other people, then there are other people who need to also admit that this is going on.

My son has always wanted to be a part of the band. He's been in the band since the third grade. So when you have a vision of a band and he's been down for the Marching Band camp for the last four years prior to him becoming a freshman this year. So it was not something new to him. He absolutely loves the band.

LEMON: And many people -- you saw the movie -- there's a movie called "Drumline," which is about them. And then I grew up going to Southern University football games. The battle of the bands. It was even bigger than the football game sometimes to get people to understand what this means to especially historically black colleges and universities.

What specifically what did your son go through as far as hazing? You said it's not allegations. There is hazing. What did your son go through?

FABRE: Well, he was never physically hit. His was mostly verbal abuse. They do a lot of name calling.

JOHNSON: You have a -- I want to say a handful, maybe two handfuls of people within the band unit that are making it difficult for the other students.

LEMON: Yes.

JOHNSON: I think that if you remove these elements and you send a firm message that it won't be tolerated, and although, you know, you hear a lot of people saying there's not a way to stop it.

LEMON: What do you want to happen?

JOHNSON: I want to see the band to come back even stronger than before. I am not the parent that says do away with the band. I say do away with the students who are inflicting the harm upon others.

LEMON: What will satisfy you?

FABRE: The same. I don't want to see them do away with the band. (END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Berlinda Johnson and Felicia Facre did not reveal the identities of their sons for fear of retaliation. The moms say when they spoke out before their sons received threats.

Let's check your headlines. Iran claims it shot down a U.S. spy drone over its air space. State TV quotes an Iranian military official calling it a clear example of aggression. NATO says it may have been an unmanned plane that was flying over western Afghanistan when operators lost control last week. For years, the American government has maintained that it does not fly drones over Iran.

President Barack Obama has offered Pakistan his condolences for the NATO attack that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead, but he is not apologizing for the assault. These are pictures taken of the outpost that came under fire from NATO forces. The president told the Pakistani president the U.S. is committed to a full investigation and the White House says the two agreed to continue the U.S.-Pakistan relationship which is critical to the security of both nations.

45,000 Germans returned to their home Sunday after two World War II-era bombs and a third device were successfully dismantled. One was a 4,000-pound air mine likely dropped by the British air force. A second bomb was defused while a fog-producing device was destroyed. For 65 years, the bombs were hidden in the Rhine River until dropping water levels exposed them. The evacuation was the largest in Germany since the end of the war.

Southern California can expect more of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a massive noise and I knew something terrible had happened to the house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: As owners clean up from last week's hurricane-force winds, the Santa Ana winds are due to kick up again tonight. Forecasters warn they could again reach hurricane strength.

In suburban Atlanta, Bishop Eddie Long is taking a break from the pulpit of his megachurch. Long's wife filed for divorce three days ago. He has been beset with allegations that he coerced young men into sexual relationships. Long denied the allegations but settled out of court with his four accusers.

Wednesday marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and it will be the last time it is commemorated by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. The group is formally disbanding at the end of the month. Time has taken its toll on the remaining 2700 members of the organization, most of them now in their 90s. Survivors will rely on their children and grandchildren to keep alive the memory of that day. Some 2400 sailors and marines died in the attack. The next day, the U.S. formally entered World War II. And finally, it is official. My LSU Tigers will be playing Alabama in the national championship game in New Orleans on January 9th. Alabama edged out Oklahoma State for the second spot despite OSU's big win over Oklahoma on Saturday.

Don't know why that happened.

As you recall, the LSU, which is unbeaten, already has played Alabama once this season, winning 9-6 in overtime in Tuscaloosa.

All I have to say is go Tigers. And thanks for watching.

I'm Don Lemon at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you for watching again. You have yourself a great week. I'll see you back here next weekend, if not before. Good night.