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Presidential Candidates on Immigration; Broken Promise to Forced Sterilization Victims?

Aired June 25, 2012 - 22:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson is off tonight. I'm Soledad O'Brien. It's 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight with "Keeping Them Honest" with the presidential candidates, where they stand, where they seem afraid to stand and on an issue that could decide the election. We're talking of course about immigration.

Today, the Supreme Court took this already hot potato and warmed it up a bit, ruling on Arizona's SB-1070, which is known by opponents as the papers please law. By a 5-3 vote, the justices struck down several key provisions.

However, they did keep the papers please language, section 2-B. That's the part allowing police to check your immigration status while enforcing other laws, in other words, ask for your green card, say, during a traffic stop if they reasonably suspect that you're in the country illegally.

That court let that part stand, but left it open for challenge once the law actually goes into effect. The White House first expressed concern that the ruling keeps the cloud of suspicion over people who look like foreigners, then late today went further, saying that the federal government would not become a willing partner in Arizona's efforts to arrest undocumented people.

As for Governor Romney, he said in a statement this: "I believe that each state has the duty and the right to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities," nothing really specific and "Keeping Them Honest," nothing on the campaign plane, which, oh, by the way, was heading to Arizona. He stayed in the front of the plane away from the press.

He let a staffer handle reporters who were trying to get some answers. Listen.


QUESTION: Does he support the law as it was drafted in Arizona?

RICK GORKA, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: The governor supports the right of states. That's all we're going to say on this decision.

QUESTION: Does he have a position on the law or no position? GORKA: The governor has his own immigration policy, which he laid out in Orlando and in the primary, which he would implement as president, which address this issue, whereas Obama has spent four years in the office and has yet to address it in a meaningful way.

QUESTION: But does the governor have a position on the Arizona law, besides supporting the right of states?

GORKA: This debate has sprung from the president failing to address this issue. So each state is left and has the power to draft and to enact their own immigration policy.

QUESTION: But the Arizona law does very specific things. Does the governor support those things that the Arizona law does?

GORKA: We have addressed this.

QUESTION: What is his position on the actual law in Arizona?

GORKA: Again, each state has the right within the Constitution to craft their own immigration law.


QUESTION: But does he think Arizona did a good job?


O'BRIEN: OK, so he didn't say much there. Reporters, including CNN's Jim Acosta, asked that question 16 times in all, and as you saw, not a lot of answers except that sort of generic statement, which Governor Romney largely repeated this afternoon.

Fair to say he's trying to avoid specifics on 1070 in particular and immigration policy in general. On 1070, the shift began just after the CNN debate in Arizona when he suggested that Arizona should be a model for the nation.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: You've talked to the governor about self- deportation, if businesses do their job, asking for the right documents, the people will leave. But what about arresting? Should there be aggressive, seek them out, find them and arrest them as Sheriff Arpaio advocates?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I think you see a model in Arizona. They passed a law here that says -- that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on e- verify. This e-verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who's here legally and who's not here legally.


O'BRIEN: The Romney campaign later denied that he was talking about 1070 as a national model.

Yet, in the very statement, spokeswoman Andrea Saul said -- quote -- "Governor Romney supports the right of states to craft laws that assist the federal government in enforcing immigration laws, particularly when the federal government has failed in its duty to enforce those laws," which sounds a lot like 1070.

So is the campaign trying to have it one way for hard-liners and another way for independents and especially Latinos? That's what some people are suggesting. You just heard what he said so you can decide that for yourself.

In his statement today, Mr. Romney said one more thing -- quote -- "As candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office, but four years later, we are still waiting" -- unquote.

So, "Keeping Them Honest," how valid is the governor's claim that President Obama has broken his word on immigration?

Well, here's what he said on Univision during the campaign.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I'm promoting.


O'BRIEN: Well, three-and-a-half years later, there is no bill. And in fact, many people, Democrats included, have criticized the president for taking his eye off the ball, not making immigration reform a real priority.

To be fair, though, late in 2010, President Obama tried but failed to pass the DREAM Act. It went through in the House, got 55 votes in the Senate, five less than were needed to break a Republican filibuster. At the time, Democrats were two members shy of a filibuster-proof majority.

And knowing that the bill was going to fail, several Democrats voted no. Now, as for President Obama, here's what he had said about his unfulfilled promise.


QUESTION: Mr. President, excuse the personal note. But I grew up in a generation that has lived with the unfulfilled promise of immigration reform. And I'm not that young. And do you think, if you are reelected, you will be the president that gets it done? And can you promise you will do it within the first year of your second term?

OBAMA: I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year.


O'BRIEN: Joining us this evening, Republican strategist and former Huntsman 2012 national Hispanic chairwoman Ana Navarro is with us, and Van Jones as well, former special adviser to President Obama, also author of "Rebuild the Dream," which is also the name of the initiative that he co-founded.

Nice to see both of you.

Ana, who do you think this is a win for, the Supreme Court decision?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think in the short term, it's going to give Obama a bump. I have been seeing the reaction in the Latino community today.

And there is fear, there is outrage by the section that is still there. And I think Romney needs to be stronger and more aggressive in engaging on immigration. I'm getting increasingly frustrated as a Republican Hispanic not seeing him engage.

There is absolutely no doubt that Obama broke his promise. There's no doubt that he's vulnerable on this issue. There's no doubt that it's his biggest liability with Latinos. But he will only be vulnerable if Romney puts on the gloves and engages. And he's got to do so unequivocally.

And for some reason, he's been unwilling to do so. So, you know, he dug himself into a hole during the primaries. He's got to proactively dig himself out of that hole. Telling us that Obama is bad is not enough. He's got to tell us that he's good and what his plan is.

So I am very frustrated. I am eager to hear Mitt Romney do more, say more, and show some engagement and show himself as a real challenger to Obama on this issue.

O'BRIEN: He's been very, very vague. Let me read the tweet that you had today. It went like this. "I confess as a Republican Hispanic trying to put a positive spin on Romney immigration non- statements, well, let's just say it ain't easy."

When he does speak, he's been -- he doesn't really articulate an answer to what the people are asking. What do you want to hear him say?

NAVARRO: It ain't easy, Soledad. I have been at it now for a while. And that's it for me.

I want to hear him say some specifics. It's very difficult to put a positive spin when he's not addressing some of the key questions. Yes, he's talking -- he's giving some very thoughtful and good proposals on fixing legal immigration and how that will affect the illegal immigration problem.

But let's be clear here. Saying that fixing legal immigration is going to solve the illegal immigration problem and solve the issue for the 11 million undocumented here is like saying we can fix the obesity problem by selling more lettuce. Well, it just doesn't happen that way. We need some very specific proposals.


O'BRIEN: All right, Van, let's talk about President Obama. In some ways, is this a lose-lose for him? He didn't reform immigration, as you heard just a moment ago he promised he would do. He had a window to do it. He also at the same time has had a large number of deportations. How big a problem is this for him?

VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER FOR GREEN JOBS, ENTERPRISE AND INNOVATION, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY: Well, first of all, the outrage you just heard is the outrage I'm hearing all across the country from Latinos on every side of the political spectrum.

The last time you had somebody running for president out of Massachusetts, he wrote a book called "Profiles in Courage." This guy is profiles in cowardice. Where is Mitt Romney?

O'BRIEN: But I asked you about President Obama, sir.


JONES: Oh, sure, fair enough.

I think President Obama is has done the right things now. He has tried to work with this Congress on so many issues. They have stopped him every time. They stopped him on the DREAM Act. They stopped him on the jobs bill. He's now showing real courage.

You know who the real heroes here are? Those DREAM Act young people who have stood up. They have said, listen, we are aspiring citizens. We want to be a part of this country. The president stood with them. Obama said they're looking -- not Obama -- Romney said that the DREAM Act students who have taken the country's hearts by storm are just looking for a handout.

That's the hole he dug himself into. He cannot hug and kiss the Tea Party and then try to hug and kiss the Latino community. That's why he's hiding.


O'BRIEN: You heard just a moment ago though President Obama was basically saying I didn't really deliver on my promises, you know, and give me another term and I will do it. That could be a tough sell.

JONES: Well, but here's reality.

This president came in promising to be bipartisan. The other side said from the beginning their number one priority was to make sure he failed. So they made sure that he failed even on the DREAM Act. So, now he says, listen, I'm a good, smart student here. I have learned I have got to lead now on these tough issues.

And he is doing it. The young people have inspired him. They brought the best out in this president. He's bringing the best out in the country. Here's the problem you have with Romney. You have got a situation where Arizona has now become the Alabama of the new century.

What Alabama was to black folks in the last century, Arizona has now become. This president is clear. He does not agree with the direction of Arizona. Where is Mitt Romney? Mitt Romney is being a profile in cowardice. And he's losing Latinos now on both sides of the aisle over his cowardice.

O'BRIEN: Ana, I'm going to give you the last question. When you look at the polls at the end of the day, people don't say immigration is their number one issue. It's not even number two and sometimes it's not even number three in some of the polls. To what degree is it really going to affect the race?


NAVARRO: I think she was asking me the question.


JONES: I'm sorry. Go right ahead.


NAVARRO: Of course it's not the number one issue. Latinos are at 11 percent unemployment under Obama. That's going to take priority over immigration.

What immigration is, is a trust issue. We want to know, are you with us or are you against us? It's an issue where a candidate can establish a personal connection. And I want to tell you something, Soledad. If we're going to be talking reality check here and "Keeping Them Honest," Obama's going to come in, if he wins a second term, as a lame-duck president from day one into a Congress that is now a poisoned well, because he took executive action as opposed to working in Congress.

He had his best opportunity to pass immigration in his first two years, when he had a Democrat Senate and a Democrat House. Timing in politics matters. I'm not sure he's going to be able to do in the second four years what he didn't do in his first or why we should believe that he can.

O'BRIEN: So we have one candidate who's not giving any specifics on his immigration plan when it comes to undocumented workers and another who you say can't be effective in the next four years. That doesn't leave the voters lots of choice.

NAVARRO: I think you have got the choice exactly right. We have got one candidate, Barack Obama, who makes big promises, talks real pretty, and then doesn't deliver. And then we have got another candidate who talks without saying anything and really not making any specific promises. So for Latinos, it's not much of a choice.


O'BRIEN: That's our final word. Van Jones, Ana Navarro, thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

More now on the political dimension and what today's Supreme Court decision says about the big one coming on Thursday on the president's signature health care reform law. Were there clues in today's opinion?

Let's get right to chief national correspondent John King. Talk a little bit about the politics. Senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin has got the Supreme Court skinny for us.

Jeff, let's start with you.

Do you see any, if you read the tea leaves, anything in this decision that could illuminate what might happen on Thursday?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think there's anything in the opinions per se.

The interesting thing is if you look at how the distribution of opinions has gone, the justices always try to share the responsibilities for the big cases. And you have Anthony Kennedy now having written the immigration case today. It really does look -- there are only three cases left and two of them are pretty minor. It really does look like Chief Justice Roberts is going to write the health care opinion.

Given his performance in oral argument, that is not something that I think would fill the hearts of the Obama administration with joy. He's a very conservative Republican. He was skeptical of the law. I think that's one tea leaf to read about how health care is going to come out.

O'BRIEN: So, let's talk about the politics, if you will, of it, John.

You heard Mitt Romney -- I was going to say what he said, but really what he didn't say, which was kind of just dodged the question consistently, and his people dodging the question specifically about the specifics of what happened in 1070. How does this affect the race, do you think? Is it a good plan to say nothing, focusing on the economy, and see if you can get past this part of the debate?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can understand that he only wants to talk about the economy and he only wants to talk about the president's performance.

But, Soledad, we have got 130 days to go. And it's not going to work all the way. When it comes to immigration, it's a very tough one, because he desperately needs -- Governor Romney desperately needs to improve his standing among Latino voters, otherwise, bye, Nevada, bye, New Mexico, maybe bye, Arizona, and if you can't win those states -- Colorado as well -- if you can't win those states, then you have got to perform in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, in places that are very tough for Republicans.

Why, though? Every time you reach out to the middle, reach out to Latinos, you risk alienating the conservative base. He's been very, very cautious on immigration. He has been out there clearly. Remember, he had to deal with the health care issue in the primary, where all his conservative challengers said you can't trust him because he passed Massachusetts, which was then the model for the Obama legislation.

On health care, it's a different box for the governor. If they throw out this law, the Republicans are going to face pressure to say, what would you do? Because while you can make the case that overall the Obama health care law is unpopular, and the polling is mixed, but you can say it's unpopular.

Preexisting condition coverage is very popular. Letting kids stay on their parent's health insurance after they leave college is very popular. There will be a demand on Republicans to say, what would you do if this law gets tossed?

O'BRIEN: Jeff, let me ask you a question about Section 2, which is the part that remains standing in the law and how it's being interpreted.

Right now, it says, because, if you stop people if they're suspected of a crime, that you can stop them and you could ask them about their immigration status. But that same ruling says you can't force people to actually carry their papers and turn them over. Isn't that completely contradictory? How do you see this, practically speaking, playing out?

TOOBIN: There are four provisions of the Arizona law that were analyzed in Justice Kennedy's opinion.

Three of them were rejected. One of them, the show us your papers section, was approved. I spent the day trying to figure out what the difference was between the three that were struck down and the one that was approved. It's very hard to tell.

And I think this means that as all the other states weigh whether to change their laws and then courts weigh the challenges to those laws, we're still in a bit of a mess on this.

I think the guidance from the Supreme Court was less than clear here. So the issue of what's permissible and what's not, it's a little clearer than it was this morning. But it's not totally clear by any means.

O'BRIEN: Jeff Toobin and John King, thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Or you can follow me on Twitter at Soledad_O'Brien. I'm going to be tweeting tonight.

Coming up next, men and women who were sterilized against their will and the state that says it wants to make amends, but they can't afford to. You will see how low the price tag actually is and what else the state is spending money on instead.


ELAINE RIDDICK, STERILIZED: If it had happened to some of theirs, their family members, I think they would be the first one to run and shout for compensation.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back.

Another "Keeping Them Honest" report. Now, last December, we told you about the more than 60,000 people who were sterilized by force right here in the United States, men, women, even children who were deemed undesirable and unworthy of reproducing.

It was called eugenics, a pretty dark chapter in American history. Charles Holt, for example, was just 19 years old when he was sterilized.

Here's what he told senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.


CHARLES HOLT, FORCIBLY STERILIZED: They sent me to Rex (ph) Hospital, and then they pushed me in a room and gave me some kind of gas and I just went on asleep. Then when I woke up finally I noticed something was wrong and they tell me what they done. And I was -- I wasn't a happy camper.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What they had done was surgery, a vasectomy to make him sterile. But why? It turns out the order came from the state which said he was evil-minded and unworthy of having children.

HOLT: I want to be just like any other young man trying to have a friendly, had some kids that I could call my own. It's -- it happened that way.


O'BRIEN: Thirty-two states had eugenics programs at one time or another.

North Carolina, where Charles Holt lives, sterilized more than 7,000 people between 1929 and 1974 -- 1974, which is really not all that long ago. In fact, as many as 1,800 of these victims could still be alive. North Carolina was poised to become the first state in the nation to compensate its eugenics survivors for the harm done to them.

But last week, legislators rejected a plan to pay each victim $50,000. They said they couldn't find enough money in the new budget.

"Keeping Them Honest," we wanted to know what North Carolina is choosing to spend its money on instead.

Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me now.

Elizabeth, they talk about a $10 million price tag potentially to compensate all the forced sterilization victims who are still alive. How big is the budget? And where does that fit in?

COHEN: Right. Just to put it in context, Soledad, it's a $20 billion budget. And so we looked around to see what things North Carolina was able to fit into that budget.

And so here is a partial list. For example, they found $1.5 million to give to the North Carolina Symphony, $500,000 to the North Carolina Grape Growers Council, $500,000 to a private culinary school, $300,000 for the North Carolina Transportation Museum, and $100,000 to the North Carolina Oyster Sanctuary, and $420,000 for a future gubernatorial inauguration.

And this one is interesting, $5 million in economic development projects, but what those projects are is undisclosed. We tried to find out and we were unable to.

O'BRIEN: So it seems at least at first glance that there's enough money there. Why would the legislators not want to compensate the victims?

COHEN: It's interesting. We asked legislators this. And they said a combination of things. Some cried poverty. And some said these are tough economic times and we have to make choices. And some said it worries us to compensate these victims because what if we're setting a precedent? What if we're leaving ourselves open to other people who want compensation for the injustices that were done to them?

And they mentioned, for example, slavery. So they were worried about sort of opening the floodgates, so to speak.

O'BRIEN: So then what happens with these victims?

COHEN: This is obviously not good news for the victims. When I visited with Charles Holt, the man we met earlier, he just was devastated that he might only get $50,000. He thought he should get more. And I'm sure this news has devastated him even more.

He broke down to me as he described what had happened. Now, there are some legislators in North Carolina who are passionate about compensating people like Charles Holt. They said they will continue to work for this. But I will tell you, Soledad, this isn't the first year they haven't put this in the budget. They have said no to this for several years in the past. And some legislators say they will keep on pushing.

O'BRIEN: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thanks, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

O'BRIEN: To come so close to finally getting compensation for all that was lost and then suddenly to have it fall apart has to be an incredible blow.

Elaine Riddick was still a child when her nightmare began. She was raped, became pregnant and in the hospital, after she gave birth, without her consent or her know, she was sterilized. She didn't learn the truth until years later.

Earlier, I spoke to Elaine Riddick and her attorney, Willie Gary.


O'BRIEN: Ms. Riddick, we will start with you, if I can. When you heard that the state of North Carolina decided that, in fact, they were not going to stick to that deal to compensate people who had been sterilized, what did you think?

RIDDICK: I was crushed. I was hurt. I was humiliated. I was degraded.

I just didn't know -- I was just really disappointed that they decided not to award the victims the money for the sterilization.

O'BRIEN: Now they're saying $10 million was set aside. They were looking at roughly $50,000 per person. But they're not going to give you the money. What do you do now?

RIDDICK: Well, I think I'm going to allow my attorney to say -- to speak on that.



I think one of the things that we're focusing on is sitting down with the powers to be in North Carolina to see if this matter can't be worked out without any litigation whatsoever. I think, you know, the House bill really spoke for itself. And even the governor said it was a great opportunity to make a wrong right.

And that's what we're really concerned with. You have a lot of people, thousands of people, that were misused and abused. There's no question about that. Men were castrated and women were sterilized and it wasn't right.

O'BRIEN: You have said, Ms. Riddick, that you felt like you were raped twice, once by your attacker and a second time in sort of these proceedings where what was agreed upon is -- and I guess the sterilization that took place, and I guess now once again feeling like what was promised to you is no longer going to be promised to you.

What would you say to those legislators who have decided that they don't want to compensate you?

RIDDICK: Well, you have to look at where they are and who they are.

If it happened to some of theirs, their family members, I think they would be the first one to run and shout for compensation. But because it did not happen to them, they are showing no empathy or sympathy towards the victims.

O'BRIEN: Elaine Riddick and attorney Willie Gary, thank you for talking to me this evening. I certainly appreciate it.


O'BRIEN: A lot more happening tonight, including the showdown over the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria. We have got the latest developments when 360 continues.


O'BRIEN: Growing tension to tell you about tonight between Turkey and Syria.

Friday morning, Syria shot down a Turkish fighter jet. Friday evening it looked like both sides were trying to keep things from blowing up. Since then, however, events have deepened the crisis.

It's looking more and more likely that neither of the F-4 Phantom's two-man crew survives. And today, the Turkish government accused the Syrians of firing on another plane during the search effort. Turkey's foreign minister calling that a hostile act. Western diplomats roundly condemning the shoot-down. And adding tension, Turkish media reporting that a Syrian general and two colonels have defected.

More now from CNN's Ivan Watson, who's on the ground in Turkey. We spoke just a short time ago.


O'BRIEN: So Ivan, now we're actually talking about a second plane, a second Turkish plane. This happened last Friday. What happened?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sounds like the Syrian anti-aircraft defenses were rather trigger happy on Friday, if we can trust the Turkish government's word for it.

They say that after Syrian anti-aircraft fire brought down the Turkish F-4 Phantom jets in the eastern Mediterranean on Friday, when the Turks sent other helicopters and planes and boats to that area to rescue, find the wreckage, and rescue the two pilots who are still missing, I might add, that their Casa transport plane, which is a big, fat, propellered, slow-moving transport plane, then started taking fire again from Syrian anti-aircraft defenses.

It was not hit but, clearly, a very tense moment. And that prompted the Turks to have to reach out to the Syrian government and Syrian military to please let them try to find their missing plane.

O'BRIEN: There's been lots of debate about whether or not that jet was in Syrian airspace or not. Is there any answer on that yet?

WATSON: Well, there are two conflicting narratives here. The Syrians saying, "Hey, we acted in self-defense. This warplane was in our territorial waters when we shot it down, flying at low altitude. It was a threat."

The Turks saying it did cross into Syrian airspace. But then crossed out, and it was hit outside of airspace and while identifying itself on open channels and not armed either. And they're calling this an act of aggression.

And they're clearly trying to marshal international support and political domestic support for whatever measures the Turks may take yet, next. It's not clear what that will be, though. Because already relations between those two neighbors are at, like, probably some of the worst we've seen in the last ten years.

The Turks have pulled their ambassador out of Syria. And they've publicly called on the Syrian president to step down for widespread allegations of human rights abuses. The Syrian military killing thousands of its own citizens over the course of the last year, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: We know there's a NATO meeting tomorrow where a lot of this will be discussed. Do you expect that Turkey will call for NATO to respond? Because of course, if one NATO nation is attacked, it's considered to be all NATO nations attacked under, I think, it's Article 5?

WATSON: They could invoke Article 5. The question is, will the NATO allies, who have also spoken out to condemn the Syrian shoot-down of this warplane, do they have the appetite for another Middle Eastern conflict? And we've seen a great reluctance from western capitals to try to intervene militarily in the ongoing bloodshed in Syria.

There's also a question: does Turkey want to get involved in a conflict there? And the Turks have said, "We don't want a war there."

But they're going to be under pressure, Soledad, to show some kind of muscular response to the loss not only of one of their warplanes but also, quite possibly, two of their airmen, their pilots, who are still missing days after this plane was shot down.

O'BRIEN: We'll see what comes out of that NATO meeting. Ivan Watson for us this evening. Thank you, Ivan.


O'BRIEN: And we're following other stories tonight, as well. Susan Hendricks has a "360 News & Business Bulletin." Hey, Susan.


Egypt's president-elect, Mohamed Morsi, moved into the president's office today. It is unclear, though, when he will take the oath of office. Right now, all real political power in Egypt is held by the military.

The House is expected to vote Thursday on citing Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress. That's according to a Republican leadership aide. Now, the House Oversight Committee recommended the vote against Holder for not handing over documents it requested in the investigation of the Fast and Furious gun-running program.

George Zimmerman's lawyer has asked a Florida judge to release Zimmerman on bond once again. His previous bail was revoked because he failed to reveal all of his financial information. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin back in February.

Stocks took a nose-dive on Wall Street today, due to renewed fears about the stability of the euro zone. The Dow lost 138 points. The NASDAQ and the S&P plunged, as well.

Sad news here to tell you about. Lonesome George has died in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. The giant tortoise was believed to be more than 100 years old. George was the last surviving member of his subspecies, Purebred Pinta Island Tortoise. They have tried to get him a mate but George, we hear, preferred bachelorhood.

Soledad, back to you.

O'BRIEN: Susan, thanks.

More serious stuff is ahead tonight. Jerry Sandusky's defense team. Now saying he's going to appeal his child rape conviction. I'll speak with two jurors from the trial, coming up next.


O'BRIEN: More than 10,000 people have been forced from their homes by raging wildfires in Colorado. We're going to have a live update when "360" continues.


O'BRIEN: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight. Jurors in Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse scandal speak out. In just a moment I'm going to talk with two of them. First, though, the latest.

Sandusky is planning to appeal his convictions on 45 counts involving ten victims over the course of more than 15 years. The jury reached a verdict late on Friday. Sandusky's bail was revoked. And he was taken to jail. The judge says he'll be sentenced in just about 90 days. A member of Sandusky's defense team says he'll appeal the verdict, but that motion can't be filed until after the sentencing. For now, Sandusky is being evaluated and will probably be sent to a sex offender unit in the state prison system. That's according to one of his attorneys. Sandusky is 68 years old and will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Jurors in the case deliberated for 21 hours before they reached their verdict.

And joining me this evening, juror No. 5, Joshua Harper. And juror No. 11, Ann Van Kuren. Nice to have both of you. Josh, let's begin with you, if I can. You have said this is about beginning of a time to heal. At the same time, are you thinking about others who need to be prosecuted? Is it the end or is it in some ways the beginning?

JOSHUA HARPER, JUROR ON SANDUSKY JURY: Yes, I think very much that it's a beginning. You know, because, you know, by our verdict, we made a statement that we believe the victims. And this might give other victims courage to speak out as well.

O'BRIEN: Anna, tell me a little bit about deliberations. Were they angry? Were people on the same page? Were people emotional? The testimony was just brutal to hear reports about.


O'BRIEN: I'm going to ask Anna that question. Go ahead, Anna.

VAN KUREN: Sure. The deliberations were very calm and methodical, I think. We had had two weeks to get to know each other. And we already had -- were -- had a sense of team, even just as we began the deliberations. So everybody was very respectful and wanted to hear what others had to say.

O'BRIEN: Joshua, you described Sandusky as creepy at one point in one of your views. You said you were watching him very closely, his face, his emotions. And you're watching those who were testifying on the stand as well. What did you see?

HARPER: Yes. Well, I didn't see anything in the victims that would lead me to think they were not credible. But then I also took a look at Sandusky while he was watching the victims testify. And it seemed to me that he was kind of reminiscing of the victims. And...

O'BRIEN: What do you mean by that?

HARPER: Well, he would -- he would kind of lean in towards them and pick his chin up a little bit and just kind of -- like he was thinking about the victims and his behavior with them.

O'BRIEN: That struck you as creepy?

HARPER: Yes, I would say, a little creepy.

O'BRIEN: Ann, did you want to see Jerry Sandusky testify on his own behalf in this trial? He did not, as you know.

VAN KUREN: Right. Yes, I would want to see him testify. I -- you know, we had to see all the victims and witnesses on the stands and tell their stories. It would have been nice for Jerry Sandusky to be on that stand, as well, and have to go through that same interview.

O'BRIEN: I know that you guys, Josh, were in deliberations when Matt Sandusky said that, in fact, he had been molested by his father, Jerry Sandusky. So that wasn't part of the trial, really. But I wonder if now you feel like others could have done more, that there are other people sort of culpable or at least knew what was happening.

HARPER: Yes, that's very true. You know, it does seem that there was a big cover-up that happened. Fortunately, you know, the testimony that was given and the victims that came forward was enough, you know, to convict him, and so that's very fortunate.

O'BRIEN: Ann, what do you think was the most critical piece of evidence that you heard, that sort of made the case for you?

VAN KUREN: I would say it was the victims' testimony. All of their testimony was very compelling.

O'BRIEN: Would you agree with her? I know that you have said that the consistency in the testimony was something that was sort of a red flag for you, Joshua.

HARPER: Yes, definitely, that consistency. We saw a common thread throughout what was happening to all the victims.

And beyond that, I would say Michael McQueary's testimony and Ron Petrovsky, the janitor, his testimony. Because they weren't victims themselves. And so I didn't feel that they had a reason to lie. So if they observed this behavior from Sandusky, then, you know, he was capable of these things. And so that gave more credibility to the witnesses.

O'BRIEN: Ann, when you were hearing some of this testimony and some of it, as I said, was just horrific, were other jurors emotional and crying and disturbed by it? It was so graphic and, you know, just really terrible.

VAN KUREN: There were moments when some of the jurors, including myself, would leave the courtroom for a recess and have to deal with some very strong feelings, especially after the victims' testimony. Some of the victims were not calm and collected, and that was hard to see.

O'BRIEN: Joshua, I know there are a lot of questions about whether people who had an affiliation with Penn State would be able to weigh in on a case that was so involving Penn State. You're a graduate. I know Ann is employed at Penn State. Did you think it had any impact at all on the case that you heard and the decision that you came to?

HARPER: No, absolutely not. I believe that we were all very impartial and objective. And just looking at the evidence. You know, it didn't matter who it was or who he was affiliated with. If he did these things, he did these things, based on the evidence.

O'BRIEN: Joshua Harper and Ann Van Kuren, thanks to both of you for talking with me. I appreciate it.

As wildfires are burning in the west, Florida's Gulf Coast is being pounded by heavy rains and flooding. Meteorologist Chad Myers has a look at both of those parts of the country, and we'll talk a little bit about where relief may come. That's coming up next.


O'BRIEN: We're following extreme weather. In Florida, tropical storm Debby has caused widespread flooding with much more rain expected. The governor has declared a state of emergency there.

One family was stranded offshore at their vacation house on Dog Island, and they had to be rescued by the Coast Guard. Five adults, four children, two dogs all airlifted out. It was pretty dramatic stuff.

In Colorado, fire is the danger there. Firefighters -- firefighters battling at least seven wildfires. More than 10,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.

That brings us to meteorologist Chad Myers. Let's start with Debby, Chad, if we can.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Debby stopped. Literally stopped in its tracks, Soledad. No movement whatsoever. We had some movement earlier today off to the east. When a tropical storm or hurricane stops, they just dump loads of rain in one spot. It happened today just south of Tallahassee, Florida. Getting reports of 16 inches of rainfall.

Now, the forecast is for this to get a little faster and eventually move offshore just to the south of Jacksonville. And as it moves, it will spread the rain away and it will spread the rain out. So we won't get all that rain in one spot like we have now.

By tomorrow morning, we have crews on the way, just south of Tallahassee. The flooding pictures that you will see on this network will be dramatic. If you can get 16 inches of rainfall in 24 hours, flooding is going to occur.

Now, for the next couple of days, it's going to be south here of the area that's flooding right here. This is Apalachicola to Tallahassee. This is where it's the flooding is occurring right now. This white area here is a forecast rainfall of 10 inches or more.

O'BRIEN: And Chad, out West, they could use some of that rain. Instead, they're getting They're having other problems as well?

MYERS: Yes, Soledad, you never want to see your county out in the West, painted pink or red here on a weather map. That means a red-flag warning. Very high temperatures. In fact, Denver today, 105. That ties the all-time record for any day in any month in any year for Denver, Colorado. One-oh-five today.

We also had some lightning with some of these thunderstorms. Some of these thunderstorms are so dry, they don't really rain. These are lightning strikes. Hyde Park fire, 83,000 acres are now burned. That's 130 square miles. It's 90 degrees on the fire line. There are 2,000 firefighters on the fire line right now.

Tomorrow's high gets to 98 degrees. And then you have to understand, it is probably hotter near the fires, of course. The Waldo Canyon Fire at 430 acres, zero percent containment, and it's 93 right now at this hour.

O'BRIEN: Looks bad. All right, Chad, thank you for the update.

Coming up or counting down, the top five "RidicuLists" of the year so far. Tonight, you have a choice for No. 5. Here's a hint: there was one silver fox and one cougar. That's up next.


O'BRIEN: Well, it's just about halfway through the year, so what better time to count down the top five "RidicuLists" of 2012 so far? You've been voting for your favorites at

And tonight in at No. 5, is actually the only time that Anderson has done "The RidicuList" in front of a live audience. Three-sixty was coming out of the college of Charleston that night back in January. Take a look.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we're adding a cougar controversy that has sunk its teeth into one town in Utah.

In Draper, Utah, a new high school is opening next year, and students were asked to choose a mascot. The future students of Corner Canyon High School took a vote, and they decided they wanted to be the cougars. And that's when the claws came out.

The school district superintendent said he got a lot of e-mails and phone calls from parents with varying complaints about the new mascot, including, quote, "Many have also commented on the negative double entendre of the word cougar." The negative double entendre of the word cougar, as all students here know, I take it they're not talking about John Cougar Mellencamp.

Yes, I know I'm dating myself. Students here don't even know -- they weren't even born when "Jack and Diane" were -- was released. Do you even know what "Jack and Diane" is? You don't know anything. They don't teach you anything these days.

Anyway, this is a little ditty about parents getting freaked out about their kids going to a high school where the mascot is a cougar, because it also happens to be a slang term for an older woman dating a younger man. In other words: the parents are not thinking not so much about this kind of cougar but this kind of cougar.


KIRSTEN WIIG, CAST MEMBER, NBC'S "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Hi, I'm Tony and welcome to the cougar den. I treated myself to a Jonas Brothers concert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You deserve it, Tony.

WIIG: Well, I was thrown out.


What happened?

WIIG: I was really rocking out, you know, pumping my fist, when my menopause patch flew off my arm and into a young girl's mouth.


COOPER: "SNL's" "Cougar Den," which is a classic.

So the school board in Utah decided to scrap the kids choice for their mascot. They're not going to be the cougars. They're going to be the chargers instead.

Now, to me, charger just makes me think of my Blackberry. But I guess in the eyes of the school board, it's not as sexually charged a name as cougars.

There are plenty of mascots that are far more "Beavis and Butthead" worthy than cougars, by the way. Trojans, beavers, gamecocks, just to make it a few.

And it's -- get excited. It's not like the kids wanted to call themselves the Corner Canyon Crackpipes or anything.

Still, now that I think about it, what kind of a stupid mascot is cougar anyway? I mean, what kind of a school -- wait a minute. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. That's right. That's right. We're indeed broadcasting from the College of Charleston, home of, you guessed it the cougars. That's right. The cougar is the mascot here.

This cougar's name is Clyde. And it seems to be working out just fine for South Carolina. Clyde, thanks very much for being with us. Appreciate it.

So good citizens of Draper, Utah, I beseech you. Do not fear the cougar, the proud mascot of many schools and of "The RidicuList."


O'BRIEN: Every night this week, we'll be counting down the top five "RidicuLists" of the year so far. You can vote for your favorite at

That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.