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President Obama on the Attack; Rutgers Student Sentenced

Aired May 21, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

It's 10:00 here on the East Coast and we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" on the campaign trail with the Obama campaign walking a very fine line, trying to attack Mitt Romney's record at the private investment firm Bain Capital, which it calls fair game, without opening itself up to charges of hypocrisy.

The criticism, though, is coming, and, as you will see, not just from the Romney side.

Today, the campaign launched a new five-minute mini-documentary attack ad. Here's a sample.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really feel in my heart people need to know what are Mitt Romney did to Marion, Indiana, in 1994.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One day, we had a job, and the next day we didn't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd been bought and sold in the past. We had never had a problem. We were always a business that had value.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And when Bain Capital bought us, and Ampad come in, that was a whole different story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me, Mitt Romney takes from the poor and the middle class, and gives to the rich. He's just the opposite of Robin Hood.


COOPER: Well, that's the latest of several such ads featuring workers who lost their jobs after Bain bought their companies.

Now, today, they drew a response from the Romney campaign, which used Obama supporters to make its point, including Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker.


NARRATOR: Have you had enough of President Obama's attacks on free enterprise? His own key supporters have. Democrat Mayor Cory Booker of New Jersey. CORY BOOKER (D), MAYOR OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: I have to just say, from a very personal level, I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity.

NARRATOR: Even Obama's own supporters have had enough.

BOOKER: It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough.


COOPER: Well, "Keeping Them Honest," Mayor Booker sharply criticized the attacks on Bain. However, the Romney ad left out what else Mayor Book said, which was critical of both campaigns.


BOOKER: This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It is nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on.


COOPER: That was Mayor Booker Sunday morning. By Sunday evening, just about seven hours after that appearance on "Meet the Press," Mayor Booker was out with a YouTube video downplaying his differences with the campaign and toeing what seems to be the official line.


BOOKER: Let me be clear. Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign. He's talked about himself as a job creator. And, therefore, it's reasonable, and, in fact, I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and to discuss it. I have no problem with that.


COOPER: Now, by the way, the Obama campaign absolutely insists they had nothing to do with Mayor Booker making that correction. You can be the judge.

Moving on, David Axelrod today echoed Cory Booker's YouTube remarks.


DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR OBAMA CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: When Governor Romney offers his business experience as his principal and only -- really his chief credential for running for office, he never talks about his years as Massachusetts governor, I think for a good reason, because it wasn't -- they weren't stellar years. This is his argument. I was a businessman, I can lead the economy. So it behooves us to ask, exactly what did you do? And some of these cases are disturbing and they deserve to be looked at.


COOPER: When asked about the Booker affair this afternoon, President Obama echoed what Axelrod just said.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience.

He's not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts. He's saying, I'm a business guy, and I know how to fix it, and this is his business. And when you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.


COOPER: President Obama essentially double downed on the Bain attacks today, saying this is not a distraction from the campaign, this is going to be a centerpiece of the campaign.

At the same time, critics say the attacks on Bain are hypocritical. As we pointed out a couple of nights ago, the same day last week that the previous Bain ad came out, President Obama was fund-raising at the home of this guy, Tony James. Mr. President is president of Blackstone. Blackstone is a private equity firm that is actually a lot bigger than Bain and like Bain has bought companies and cut payrolls.

Now, in that ad, a laid-off worker likens the head of Bain to a vampire, the same night Mr. Obama sits down for dinner with the head of Blackstone. There's the contradiction.

This weekend's events with Mayor Booker show why many within the president's own party think the Obama campaign's Bain strategy is very much a double-edged sword.

Joining me tonight, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.


COOPER: Ben, how can President Obama attack Mitt Romney on his time in private equity at Bain highlighting only times when Bain cost company jobs and at the same time hold high-priced fund-raisers with the head of another private equity firm who has done with Bain, the Blackstone group, or hire people who have worked in other private equity firms in his own administration?

BEN LABOLT, OBAMA CAMPAIGN PRESS SECRETARY: Well, Mitt Romney hasn't been -- he hasn't been forthright with the American people about what he did during his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist and what his goals were.

He's been campaigning across the country telling people that he was a job creator, but he's never been able to substantiate a number of jobs that were created. That's because he -- his partners have admitted that the goal was wealth creation for themselves.


LABOLT: It wasn't a focus on this middle-class families across the country. It was wealth creation.

COOPER: Private equity is about wealth creation for investors. And I know that's not what he's saying, but that's what it is about. But I don't understand why it's OK for the president's private equity supporters to bankrupt companies and put people out of work, but it's not OK for Mitt Romney's equity firm to do that.

LABOLT: The president has support from business leaders across industries who agree with his vision of building an economy that's built to last, where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, where everybody from Main Street to Wall Street plays...


COOPER: You yourself said that's not what private equity is about, and yet the president is accepting money from private equity firms. Isn't that hypocritical?

LABOLT: ... who believe that the right thing to do was put in place those protections to ensure that we never have a financial crisis like we did in 2008 and that middle-class families across the country are not held hostage by risky financial deals.

Governor Romney would take a very different approach. He would repeal those protections.


COOPER: But you're not answering any of the questions. I'm trying to figure out what is different between Bain and Governor Romney's experience in private equity and the experience of private equity firms that the president is taking money from.

LABOLT: Well, here are the facts, Anderson.

Governor Romney has based his candidacy for the Oval Office on his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist. He said that that's the economic record that we should evaluate, that that's the type of philosophy, economic philosophy that he would bring into the Oval Office.

And we took a look at the record. We took a look at the fact that he loaded up companies with debt across the country. This case of Ampad, a plant in Marion, Indiana, 250 workers lost their jobs. Romney and his partners came in. They loaded the company up with debt, laid off all the workers, force them to reapply for their jobs. Security guards bolted the doors. They went through the...


COOPER: I get it. People were laid off.


LABOLT: Their benefits were stripped down.


LABOLT: And Romney and his partners supporters walked away.

COOPER: Right, but Cory Booker, your own supporters, said on "Meet the Press" -- quote -- "If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they have done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses."

Do you not agree with that?

LABOLT: You know what Mayor Booker also said.


COOPER: But do you not agree with that? You're picking and choosing what companies you're focused on Bain Capital.

LABOLT: We're not questioning Romney's right to run a business as he saw fit. And we're not questioning that the private equity industry generally.


COOPER: But you are.


LABOLT: ... the lessons are the lessons and values -- the lessons and values and experiences that Governor Romney took from that, and whether he would apply those same lessons and values to the Oval Office.

And it's not focused on restoring economic security for the middle class.

COOPER: Cory Booker also labeled the descent into personal attacks on both sides of this campaign as nauseating.

Romney's campaign has described the president in unflattering personal terms. There's no doubt about it. The campaign calls him a liar at times. But don't these ads that you're running attacking Romney's -- don't they attack his personal values? You have people saying he's the opposite of Robin Hood. You have one ad where the person said you can tell by the way he acts, the way he talks, he doesn't care anything about the middle class or the lower-class people. Isn't that personal? LABOLT: Well, you know what Mayor Booker also said that was a discussion of Mitt Romney's tenure in the private sector was legitimate.


COOPER: That's what he said in the 35 second edited-down version that you tweeted out. But in the longer version, and in his original comments, that's what he said.

Isn't -- do you deny that you're engaging in any kind of personal attacks on Mitt Romney? Or is it OK to do that? I'm not saying it's not, but...

LABOLT: Governor Romney believes that any discussion of his record is automatically negative campaigning, which I think tells you something about his record. He's put this forward as his economic record. We will talk about the president's economic record.

We were losing 750,000 jobs a month when he came into office. Businesses have created more than 4.2 private second jobs. Manufacturing was in decline. It's resurgent. The auto industry was on the brink. GM is the number one automaker in the world again. We will talk about the president's record and we will talk about Governor Romney's record.

COOPER: Ben LaBolt, I appreciate you being on. Thanks.

LABOLT: Thanks for having me.


COOPER: Let's try to get some more answers, "Raw Politics" now with senior political analyst David Gergen.

David, the Obama campaign clearly doubling down and making Mitt Romney's record at Bain the central issue of its campaign at this point. The president said this is not a distraction, this is a centerpiece of the campaign. Is that a mistake at this point in the campaign?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's certainly a surprise, Anderson, because the president enters this fray with a lot of evidence that shows that Bain is a respected company.

And the president himself, as you pointed out, listen, he has got people on his staff, starting with his chief of staff, Jack Lew, a wonderful man, who has helped to direct a private equity firm. He has got people in his ranks of fund-raising.

But Steven Rattner, who was President Obama's auto bailout czar, he was the guy who really did I think an excellent job with that, himself has written -- and he's done a lot of work with Bain Capital -- he said -- he has written that Bain Capital is a very respectable, even imminent private equity firm and he went on to say that Bain Capital has created an incalculable number of new jobs in the United States.

COOPER: Which is what Cory booker said as well, basically.

GERGEN: Exactly. And let's remember who these investors are in a private equity company like Bain.

Many of them are foundations. They're pension funds. They're university endowments. Those are not just a lot of fat cats. This is sort of the way capitalism works. So, I'm surprised that the president -- it's fair game to go and talk about whether being at a private equity firm is good background to be a president or not, just as it was fair game to ask whether being a community organizer was.

But to make it a centerpiece of his campaign is a big surprise. And to double down the way he did today was a major surprise to me.

COOPER: Because do you think it gets interpreted as him attacking private equity?

GERGEN: No, I think it gets interpreted as something more than that, especially in the business community.

There has been, as you know, an anxiety, a fear, an anger on the part of many in the business community by what they regard as a hostility toward private enterprise, toward business and the job creation that successful CEOs do. That's part of what their job is. And they help to create the jobs.

It's worth remembering how many Democrats in the past have supported private enterprise. Paul Tsongas from Massachusetts, a strong Democrat, he once said something I have always remembered, and that is you cannot love employees and hate employers. And the message that many are taking away from the president's campaign right now is not just about Bain Capital; it's about people who are in private sector.

I'm not sure that's that what they mean to communicate, but, boy, that's sure what's coming across to a lot of folks.

COOPER: Well, does it surprise you that they're not focusing -- the Obama campaign isn't focusing more on Mitt Romney? Because Mitt Romney is saying, my experiences at Bain helps me as a leader, I know how to create jobs. They could point to his record of job creation in Massachusetts when he was governor...

GERGEN: Absolutely.

COOPER: ... and say, look, there's no evidence of this or they ranked very low in job creation. But you heard Axelrod say it a little bit. But you don't hear that as the drumbeat.

GERGEN: That's right. And I assume they will get there.

But I think this is -- Bob Shrum, the Democratic strategist, pointed out today -- and I think this is right -- that the Bain Capital is a beginning -- the attack on Bain Capital is the beginning of a longer narrative that the Obama campaign is trying to paint Mitt Romney as someone who's rich, who all he cares about is enhancing his rich friends, he really doesn't care about suffering middle-class Americans.

And so they run this ad with this person calling Romney a vampire. That's a personal attack. I'm sorry. But it is. They can say all they want about it not being negative.

But I think, Anderson, the larger point also is this, that when Cory booker spoke yesterday, and the first time he spoke, he gave an expression to what a lot of Americans are thinking. There are too many distractions in this campaign. We need both candidates to face the hard issues about spending, about taxes, about how we create jobs in this country, immigration.

We're not hearing that. We're hearing all these sort of marginal issues and we need to get to the heart of what the next presidency is going to be about.

COOPER: Well, a number of months left to go.

David Gergen, thank you very much.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.

A lot of people tweeting all day about the lenient sentence that Dharun Ravi got today for bias intimidation charges, invasion of privacy and other charges in connection with his roommate Tyler Clementi who ultimately committed suicide. Up next, why Dharun Ravi only got 30 days, not 10 years, as some had wanted in the prosecution, and the message this sends about bullying, if any -- details ahead.


COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, 30 days, Dharun Ravi's sentence today for crimes that could have sent him to prison for 10 years after his Rutgers University roommate Tyler Clementi ultimately committed suicide.

Ravi wept at the hearing today. The judge though said to him -- quote -- "I haven't heard you apologize once."

Ravi used a Webcam to spy on his roommate who was meeting in his room with a man. Clementi discovered the spy. Days later, he took his own life. Ravi was convicted of several counts of bias intimidation and other charges, invasion of privacy, tampering with witnesses and evidence.

But the jury didn't say that he intimidated Tyler Clementi. They said that Clementi felt intimidated by Ravi's actions. That's the distinction. He also was convicted as I said of invading his privacy, sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years probation, 300 hours of community service. In addition, he's going to have to undergo counseling.


SABITHA RAVI, MOTHER OF DHARUN RAVI: Dharun's dreams are shattered. And he has been living in hell for the past 20 months. It is hard for me to say but, my son is sitting here physically alive in front of everyone's eyes, while I'm sharing his pain. I need you. He knows that. I love him. As a mother, I feel that Dharun has really suffered enough.


COOPER: Tyler Clementi's mother was also moved to tears.


JANE CLEMENTI, MOTHER OF TYLER CLEMENTI: He never really knew Tyler, not the smart, kind, articulate, humble, funny, talented, caring, thoughtful, generous, trustworthy, and dependable person Tyler was. All he found out was that Tyler was gay.


COOPER: Well, late today prosecutors said they will be appealing the sentence.

I want to talk about it with former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, who announced he was gay while stepping down as governor, also former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark. She's now a mystery write as well. Her newest book is called "Guilt By Degrees."

Governor, you actually wrote an op-ed saying you didn't think he should get a 10-year sentence. Is the sentence he got, you think, appropriate?

JIM MCGREEVEY (D), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Anderson, these circumstances are so tragic.

And James Clementi, Tyler's older brother, wrote a tremendous piece in "Out" magazine talking about his pain. And then to hear Ravi's mother and Tyler's mother, so the entirety of the circumstances are so much pain and tragedy.

I think the point that I was making was that a jail sentence, per se, a long jail sentence wouldn't serve the purposes of retribution, wouldn't educate society as to homophobia, and would simply make Ravi a scapegoat for which there was little benefit. And so in all of this, the raw emotions, the pain, such that no one feels good and perhaps no one ought to feel good about what happened.

I think what Judge Berman tried to do, who I know to be a very decent, thoughtful man, is to say you need to spend some time in jail. You need to have community service and the state through probation we will watch for you for a three-year period.

And I think ironically the prosecution was so effective in this case in the sense of securing these indictments, Ravi obviously went through this maelstrom of raw anger and frustration. And in a tragic way, the system worked, in so far as that we have brought through the judicial process a bright, glaring light as to the problems of homophobia and the problems of bullying.

In addition to that, Ravi has been held accountable for his actions. And the judge did what he believed to be was appropriate and fair. Glenn Berman doesn't react. Either way, I think he examined his conscience and did what he thought was appropriate.

COOPER: Marcia, I think a lot of people don't understand the bias intimidation charge. It's not -- the jury wasn't saying that Ravi intimated Tyler Clementi. It was that Tyler Clementi felt intimidated. But you think this was too lenient, Marcia?


And here's why. I understand that there's no sentence that could possibly cure Ravi of any homophobia he may have. I'm not even saying necessarily saying he was homophobic. I don't know that they proved that. However, we do know that he first found out that the victim was gay and then planted the Webcam spy cam in the dorm room, where this victim had a right to feel that he was in a private area.

And I think my point is that there needs to be a message sent regarding personal responsibility. We have these enormously powerful technological tools today that we are not -- we need to get up to speed with what these tools can do and the kind of bullying, the kind of impact that they create.

And this is a situation very similar to someone going into a crowded theater and yelling fire. Someone's going to get hurt. And obviously someone did. And the fact that this defendant didn't play it out accurately or didn't necessarily -- wasn't able to foretell that the victim would commit suicide doesn't absolve him of the responsibility for a hideous act, for which he was convicted, for the invasion of privacy. He had no right to do that. And I think that 30 days is not enough to show that he's being punished for that lack of responsibility.

COOPER: Governor, one of Ravi's lawyers the other day said that he believed Ravi was being demonized by the gay community. Those were his words. Do you think that's true?

MCGREEVEY: No, I don't think that's true.

I think the gay community is justifiably frustrated with a legacy of homophobia and the criminal justice system ironically not always being responsive. And so here actually the criminal justice system and the prosecution and Judge -- Julie McClure did an excellent job and prosecuted it and the system worked.

And it's very frustrating because what happened in this instant case is that Ravi's actions -- I work with women in jail. And there are people that are in jail that have committed for much less -- who receive much less time than 10 years. So what's difficult is that many of us are so frustrated by what happened to Tyler Clementi that I think people are attempting to draw the causal link between what Ravi did originally and the tragedy.

And I think what Judge Berman was trying to do was to look at the discrete instances and to examine what he believed was appropriate to address Ravi.

COOPER: We got to leave it there. Governor McGreevey, appreciate you being on, Marcia Clark as well.

MCGREEVEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, breaking medical news -- why a government task force is now saying a cancer screening test does more harm than good. What you need to know about this type of a cancer and whether or not you should be screened at all -- new guidelines. We will be back.


COOPER: A hate-filled sermon, a preacher's rant caught on tape when we continue.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight about a widely used prostate cancer screening test. It's called the PSA test. You have probably heard about it.

A government task force today recommended against routine PSA testing for men of any age. They said the tests and the treatments that may follow like radiation and surgery result in far more harm than benefit.

The PSA test is a simple blood test U.S. for years the scientific community has been concerned that its widespread use was hurting more men than it actually was helping. The American Urological Association, we should point out, doesn't agree with today's recommendation.

Just moments ago, I spoke with Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of "The Emperor of All Maladies," a biography of cancer.


COOPER: So, Doctor, the task force that put out these guidelines said that the tests do more harm than good. How so?

DR. SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE, AUTHOR, "THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES": Well, the problem is that it's an inexact and somewhat inefficient test. So essentially what happens is that there are men who will have prostate cancer who don't get picked up by this test. But more importantly, there are men who don't have any prostate cancer or a harmless variety of prostate cancer who do get picked up by this test.

And then these men will have biopsies, they will have procedures, they will have surgery, all of which are invasive and this will cause more harm than good for these men in whom this prostate cancer wouldn't kill them. they would just sort of live with the prostate cancer, rather than dying from their variant of prostate cancer.

COOPER: But hasn't the death rate from prostate cancer fallen since this test was first introduced back in '89?

MUKHERJEE: That's correct. It's absolutely correct that it's fallen. As you know, that's a correlation. That still doesn't prove that the test itself was responsible for the fall in the death rates.

We think -- we suppose that some of it is actually indeed due to PSA screening. What's happened is that the PSA screening is like a mandate. What it's telling us is go back and do the science and figure out the men who are really at risk. And I am 100 percent confident if we will be really concentrated on the science we could figure out which men were truly at risk and which men weren't at risk.

So what the task force is asking us to do is saying go back and do the science and figure it out and add that to the test. And now you get a real test that works.

COOPER: So, in the meantime, does that men that stop getting prostate cancer screenings altogether?

MUKHERJEE: My recommendation is that if you have any high-risk features like a family history of prostate cancer or you're in discussion with your urologist or with your oncologist or with your primary care physician, if there's anything that suggests that you should have the screening, then that's the right group to screen.

And what again the task force is saying is that we need a slightly more refined way of screening men for prostate cancer and just asking every person to undergo the screening is just not -- is likely to do more harm than good.

COOPER: There are some though who say that without testing, people won't know they have prostate cancer until they have symptoms and at that point the cancer is too far advanced.

MUKHERJEE: Well, in certain cases, that is absolutely the case.

But again, the problem with the testing, as I said before, the problem with the testing is that it's picking up too many men in whom the prostate cancer is harmless. You have got to find a more scientific and a more refined way of predicting, if you have a positive PSA, can we do more to risk stratify you such that you indeed are in a higher-risk group or not in a higher-risk group?

COOPER: That's interesting.

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, thank you so much.

MUKHERJEE: My pleasure. Thank you very much.

COOPER: Well, there's a lot more happening tonight.

Isha is here with a 360 "News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha. ISHA SESAY, CNNI ANCHOR: Anderson, a new sex scandal involving federal agents. A congressional source telling CNN that three agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration are under investigation, accused of hiring prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia. Same city, different incident from the Secret Service sex scandal.

Chicago, the NATO summit's closing day. Leaders there accepting President Obama's exit strategy for Afghanistan: troops out by the end of 2014. Once again, demonstrations, but unlike yesterday's clashes with police, this time they were mostly peaceful.

And a rebound on Wall Street today. The Dow posted its biggest gain in more than a month, surging 135 points to close at 12,504. The S&P adding 21, the NASDAQ gaining 68.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: We're taking you behind the scenes of my latest appearance on "Jeopardy!" I catch up with my former "Jeopardy!" nemesis, Cheech Marin, whose buzzer strategy I employed this time around. That's coming up.


COOPER: A North Carolina pastor recently made news when he advocated, quote, "cracking the wrist" of your son if he displayed effeminate behavior and also suggested that fathers should give his effeminate son a, quote, "good punch."

Confronted about those comments, Pastor Sean Harris -- that is his name -- say he was joking. He was misunderstood.

Today another pastor is making headlines for comments he made from the pulpit last Sunday, also in North Carolina. Charles Worley is the pastor's name. That's him making the sermon.

In the sermon, Pastor Worley blasted President Obama for supporting same-sex marriage. But he didn't stop there. He told his parishioners from the pulpit what he would do to, quote, "get rid of anyone who isn't heterosexual in this country."


CHARLES WORLEY, PASTOR: Of our president getting up and saying that it was all right for two women to marry or two men to marry. I'll tell you right now, I was disappointed bad. But I'll tell you right there. And it's as sorry as you can get.

The Bible's "agin" it. God's "agin" it. I'm "agin" it. And if you've got any sense, you're against it.

I had a way -- I figured a way out -- a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. But I couldn't get it past the Congress. Build a great, big, large fence, 150 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food.

Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. Feed 'em, and you know what? In a few years they'll die out. Do you know why? They can't reproduce.


COOPER: He did not stop there. He went on to say this.


WORLEY: I'll tell you right now. Somebody said who you going to vote for? I ain't going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover.

You said did you mean to say that? You better believe I did. God have mercy. It makes me puking sick.


COOPER: Clearly, he is "agin" it.

By the way, his church has now removed the sermon from the Web site, though during the sermon you can hear members of the congregation shouting amen.

And putting aside for a second the message that he's preaching about putting all gay citizens in giant electrified cages, Pastor Worley might have put himself in some legal jeopardy with that sermon.

More than half a century ago, Congress banned charities and churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates. To keep their tax-exempt status, they're supposed to follow that law. In his sermon, Pastor Worley clearly indicated who he would vote for or vote against.

We also don't know if Pastor Worley knows about this potential legal exposure, because when we called to invite him on the program by phone, the phone rang busy. And our e-mails went unanswered.

Joining me now is the Reverend Welton Gaddy, president, Interfaith Alliance. Also attorney Areva Martin.

Reverend Gaddy, you're a Baptist. So is Pastor Worley. Does this kind of rhetoric about imprisoning gays, electrifying fences, waiting for them to die, is there anything Christian about that?

REV. WELTON GADDY, PRESIDENT, INTERFAITH ALLIANCE: I see nothing Christian about it and nothing American about it. In fact, Anderson, it is about as contradictory to a religion based on love and acceptance and welcome as you can imagine. And it violates everything we understand about the Constitution and its affirmation of diversity and freedom for people to live out their identity.

COOPER: From a religious standpoint, there are passages in the Old Testament that -- that clearly, you know, seem to be against same- sex relationships. How do you square that with -- with your understanding of the Bible and Christianity?

GADDY: Well, Anderson, you're asking the question that would take the rest of your program to answer, because it gets into biblical interpretation. And I don't think that's what you want right now.

But let me put it this way. There are texts in all sacred scriptures that, if you rip out of their context and let them stand alone, give out a message that is contradictory to the whole sweep of truth in the Bible.

And that's what happens with many of these texts. They are lifted out of context, lifted out of a culture completely different from ours, and then preached on with a hateful message and repulsive kind of exclusivism.

And in reality, they are a part of a book the whole purpose of which is to reveal the love of God, who wants us to love each other and not attempt to judge each other, but show mutual respect, dignity and worth, for every individual. And to learn to get along with each other and cooperate with each other. That's also what our government is about.

So in one fell swoop, this angry minister managed to discredit from his pulpit both the Constitution of the United States and the compassion that we find in the Bible.

And additionally, he did a very dangerous thing by planting seeds of hatred in sick minds that, in the right circumstances, can act on them and do the kind of violence that has no place in our world.

COOPER: Areva, from a legal standpoint, he's advocating about voting or talking about his -- what he plans to do and vote against. Is this a violation of the church's tax-exempt status?

AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: You know, Anderson, you raise a good point. And you're absolutely correct that, in order to enjoy the tax exempt status the church has enjoyed, they are prohibited from advocating for or against any political candidate.

And we heard clearly this pastor in North Carolina, you know, make a statement about his opposition to President Obama. So I think he's on thin ice here.

And, you know, this whole hate crime issue or hate speech that we're listening to, reprehensible, inflammatory, and clearly, as Reverend Gaddy said, just has the ability to plant the seeds of hate that can lead to violence against homosexuals, can lead to violence against even the president. So really dangerous language from this minister in a pulpit. And using that pulpit to incite hate is very dangerous.

COOPER: Reverend Gaddy, just very briefly, we've seen a number of pastors now in North Carolina, obviously, in the wake of the vote there, make these kind of comments. Do you feel, though, this is -- do you feel that the arc of history is moving toward equality, though? I mean, or do you see this as kind of backsliding?

GADDY: No. I absolutely feel that it's moving towards equality. And I think that's one reason that you see such a spike in the hyper kind of rhetoric that we're hearing from them.

For a long time, people believed in the religious freedom clauses in the First Amendment to the Constitution, because if they were Christians, they felt, you know, kind of winking at each other, "Yes, we can believe that, because we're always going to be in the majority, and this is about us anyway."

Now we live in the most pluralistic nation in the world, the kind of world and nation which our founders, thankfully, envisioned. And people who want to -- you know, most theocrats want to be theo. And these guys do. And so when they see that they're living in a world where their word doesn't carry the weight that they want it to carry, and they can't stir up all of the opposition enough to defeat issues they don't want defeated, they panic. And they begin to want a world in which the only people allowed to live -- live, much less have freedom -- are people just like them.

COOPER: Reverend Welton Gaddy, I appreciate you being on. Areva Martin, as well. We'll be right back. Quick break.


COOPER: All right. Friday night I was on "Jeopardy!" It was actually my third time competing on the show. Yes, I emerged victorious. Thank you very much.

I was playing for a charity called the Trevor Project, so they got $50,000, which is very nice. And I got one step closer to living down the fact that the last time I was on "Jeopardy!" I got annihilated by Cheech Marin. We're going to hear from Cheech Marin in a moment.

First here's a look behind the scenes at my "Jeopardy!" appearance.


COOPER (voice-over): Backstage a few minutes before the show, I admit I'm a little nervous.

(on camera) Alex Trebek says fruits and vegetables, then I need to work on my fruits and vegetables? Oh, really? That might be a tip. Wow. The bad thing is I don't eat fruit or vegetables. So I eat the same thing every day. So I'm going to do terribly at that.

(voice-over) I never quite recovered from my crushing defeat by a certain cinematic stoner.

ALEX TREBEK, HOST OF "JEOPARDY!": Do you feel that you have a slight advantage, because you're now making your third appearance as a contestant on Jeopardy? COOPER: Normally, I would think that. But I did so badly with the buzzer last time against Cheech Marin that -- because after the first one I thought I knew the secret. But now I feel like I have no idea.

(voice-over) Cheech clued me in after my loss to his secret weapon: hitting the button with his index finger.

(on camera) See, I was doing the thumb. I think I peeked at you and I think you were doing the index finger.

That's right.

CHEECH MARIN, COMEDIAN/ACTOR: I learned that from a track coach when I was in high school. The stopwatch timer. It's a faster reflex with the index finger.

COOPER (voice-over): This time I decide to use Cheech's method.

(on camera) I'm going with Cheech Marin's finger, as opposed to thumb. I'm going to try this.

(voice-over) Alex Trebek gives me some final words of advice.

TREBEK: The secret is the categories. If you know those categories, then you will do well.

COOPER (on camera): No, it's not that easy.

TREBEK: That's what it is.

COOPER: It's this. It's this.

TREBEK: You and the signaling device and the clue must be one. Then the game will be won.

Good luck.

COOPER: It's Alex Trebek. I'm so excited. Alex Trebek. I'm very excited. Could not be any more thrilled. Now I don't -- I don't even care if I win or lose now. I had a little moment with Alex Trebek.

(voice-over) My competition is NBC's Kelly O'Donnell and three- time Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman. Sure they're smart, but are they "Jeopardy!" smart?

(on camera) They say, "Oh, enjoy, relax. Have a fun time." But I want to destroy them. I want to destroy my competition. I'm very competitive.

(voice-over) Once the game starts...

TREBEK: Warm rhyming term for a place with a strong Wi-Fi connection.

COOPER: It all goes quickly.

(on camera) What is a hot spot?

TREBEK: Anderson.

COOPER: Who is Eliot Spitzer?

Who's Thomas Jefferson?



COOPER: Who's the Mayflower Madam?


COOPER: Domestic Affairs. Why I'm so good at this category, I don't know.

TREBEK: You're the only one on the plus side, so enjoy that while we pause.

COOPER (voice-over): After the first round, I was feeling good. But then I stumble.

TREBEK: Anderson.

COOPER (on camera): What is IBM?

TREBEK: No. Tom.


TREBEK: Halliburton is the company.

COOPER: I was searching for the daily doubles, but one of them stumped me.

TREBEK: Life on a Honolulu army post just before the Pearl Harbor attack.


COOPER: I don't even know what it means.

(voice-over) I'm not ashamed to admit I really want to win. My face shows the pressure. I get a little nervous when Tom Friedman starts to get some questions right.


FRIEDMAN: Who is Alexander Calder?

TREBEK: He's the A.C.

COOPER: But I quickly find my rhythm again until finally, mercifully, victory.

TREBEK: And it brings you up to $50,000, and your charity claimed for the Trevor Project.

COOPER (on camera): So, yes, I won. Yes, I won "Jeopardy!" Yes. I'm yet again a "Jeopardy!" champion. I'm going to reprint it on my business cards. After I lost to Cheech Marin I had to take it off the business cards. Now I'll put it back on.


COOPER: Cheech, thank you so much for being back. First of all, I need to thank you, because I feel I was only able to win because I used the technique that you passed down to me after you so clearly destroyed me, playing "Jeopardy!" Yes, the index finger. How did you learn better to do the index finger rather than the thumb on the buzzer?

MARIN: From a track coach with a stopwatch. He says this is much faster. And I always remembered that.

COOPER: It was -- I tested it. I did both during the game. And I ended up with the index finger, and I think you were -- I think you were right.

I feel somewhat vindicated, because I beat Tom Friedman, three- time Pulitzer Prize winner. But it still a -- forever, it will be a stain on my resume that I lost so badly to you.

MARIN: Hey, sometimes you get shutout, you know what I mean? You come back the next day.

COOPER: I know, but I've got to say, and no offense, but every time I tell people that I lost to you, they seem surprised. Probably as surprised I was, because I think, having watched some of your movies in the past, they maybe think like your synapses wouldn't be so fast. But they don't realize how smart you are and how quick you are.

MARIN: Well, thank you. I'm not as quick as I used to be. I mean, you do lose a step. I really noticed that last time I played. It's like, the answer's there somewhere. You know, But it is all -- it's all reaction, because I used to get -- everybody knows most of the answers. It's who gets in there first.

COOPER: Well, it is -- there is a whole Zen thing with, like, getting in the rhythm of the buzzer. And, you know, Trebek finishes saying something, and then wait a beat and then try to buzz in. It's all about -- to me about the buzzer.

MARIN: Yes. It's all about the buzzer. You've got to get in first. And it's also trusting that -- go with your first -- your first instinct. Because you don't really have time for a second instinct.

COOPER: I would maybe kind of like a rematch against you some day. MARIN: I'd love to. You know, I need the community service hours knocked off. So you know...

COOPER: Well, listen. Maybe now we'll try to set it up through "Jeopardy!" And maybe they'll -- I still think they should have all the people who have won in the dumbed-down celebrity version, which is what this was, to play against each other to be the ultimate winner. So I hope to play against you some day.

MARIN: I would love to do it. Next time you're in L.A., come and see me, and we'll spar.

COOPER: All right. Cheech Marin. Thank you so much, Cheech.

MARIN: Anderson, my pleasure, man.

COOPER: Coming up, our long national nightmare is over. Finally, candles just for men. "The RidicuList" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we're dipping into the "why didn't I think of that" files with an idea so brilliant in its simplicity and at the same time an idea that solves one of the biggest dilemmas in human history.

Namely, how do I get my basement to smell like a two-by-four without actually filling it with two-by-fours? Ladies and gentlemen, especially gentlemen, I give you man candles. Yankee Candle has unveiled its first-ever limited edition candle collection inspired by and created just for men.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Anderson, you're thinking, men don't give a crap about candles. And maybe you have a point. But maybe that's because no one has considered men's very unique and specific candle-centric needs. Or taking a pictures of candles next to a football.

Think about it. Makes a lot of sense. Actually it's just four scents. You thought I was kidding about the 2x4, but, yes, that is actually one of them. It's described like this, quote, "the warm, unmistakable scent of freshly planed wood and sawdust evokes the sense of confidence and quality."

And you know what? I think I feel more confident just thinking about sawdust. I think they're on to something here.

Then we have Riding Mower, the aroma of freshly cut grass. That sounds pretty good. First Down, a combination of orange, patchouli, leather and vetiver. Vetiver, the long, fibrous roots of East Indian grass. Thank you,

And last but not least, Man Town. Quote, "Escape to the man cave with this masculine blend of spices, woods, and musk." Judging by the label it smells like someone maybe watching TV? Not sure I get that one. So Yankee Candles say men already make up about 30 percent of its customer base. And as far as I know, they haven't broken it down to see how many of those 30 percent are men buying lazy last-minute gifts for women. That, however, seems to be besides the point.

The response so far has been awesome. And by that, I mean, our affiliate, WGGB in western Massachusetts, found an awesome guy to wax poetic. Take it away, awesome guy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Kind of guy going to the office type, you know, not working out in a construction field type thing.


COOPER: But wait. I have to know. Which is his favorite? Will it be 2x4, Riding Mower, First Down or Man Town?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably the First Down over the Man Town. Yes. Football fan, too, so that helps.


COOPER: There you go. First Down.

As it turns out, some smaller companies have been trying to tap into this market. Original Man Candle for instance, has Draft Beer, Pot Roast, and Road Kill scented offerings. Mmm. Can't you smell the road kill?

But the candle industry as a whole -- big candle, if you will -- has been neglecting the needs of men for far too long, I say. So I applaud the strides that are being taken. It's one small candle for man, one giant leap for mankind.

That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.