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Smoke But No Pope; L.A. Archdiocese Settles Molestation Lawsuits; Vatican Security Lockdown

Aired March 12, 2013 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: On what has been an extraordinary day here in Rome. The first day of the conclave to elect the next Pope. We're going to have complete coverage of all the day's remarkable events.

There is, however, breaking news at this hour involving one of the cardinals right down the street behind me, Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles. We're learning tonight that the church has settled four lawsuits against the archdiocese that he ran and at least one lawsuit naming him as a defendant.

Four men allegedly abuses boys collecting nearly $10 million total. They said they were abused by a priest during the '70s. Six years ago, that priest pleaded guilty to molesting boys. He did time. He's no longer a priest. He's not alone.

Nor is Cardinal Maloney, of course, the only high-ranking church official accused of protecting predators. There are many around the world and several, Mahoney included, are here in Rome about to spend another day trying to elect a Pope.

They are secluded right now, sworn to secrecy. Their own means of communication, the color of the smoke from the ballots they burn. The chemicals they add to let the world know whether we have a Pope or not. A black or white answer.

So today the first ballots burned and the answer went up in smoke, black smoke, no decision. Chances are, though, the field has been narrowed somewhat, chances are a handful of men went to bed last night thinking it could be me or it could -- it might actually be me.

A mind blowing way to end a day that was historic and fascinating right from the start.


COOPER (voice-over): Into St. Peter's they came. The men almost certainly one of these cardinals would be Pope and the men who will choose him. Side by side, step by step, some vital, some feeble toward a mass not seen in eight years, since the last Pope was elected at a moment not seen in 598 years. The succession of one living Pope by another.

A mass for cardinals but also the masses. People waiting hours to get in for a ceremony that last time was given by the man who arrived as a cardinal then emerged as a Pope.

CARDINAL ANGELO SODANO, DEAN, COLLEGE OF CARDINALS(Through Translator): The beloved and venerable pontiff, Benedict XVI, to whom we renew in this moment all of our gratitude.

COOPER: Applause and praise that Benedict did not hear, at least not in person. He's in seclusion at the papal summer residence. As for the man praising him and presiding this time, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican's Dean of Cardinals. He's over 80, too old to help choose a Pope or in all likelihood to be chosen himself.

As for who among them might be? Those who say publicly don't really know. And those who might know, the cardinals they left St. Peter's. And in one last moment, in plain view, retreated inside the Sistine Chapel where they took an oath.

Then, uttering extra on this outside all the Vatican official closed the doors and the cardinals got to work. All day, people waited in the rain for the mass, for the cardinals, for a chance to see, perhaps, a new Pope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's wonderful. I think Benedict was a great Pope. And I think everyone is very excited to see who the next Pope will be and -- so it's great anticipation. Wondering it's going to be how different and how much the same he will be.

COOPER: As the evening deepened, the crows grew. All eyes on the chimney from stove where the papal ballots are burned that would signal white smoke for a Pope and black for not yet.

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: If we got white smoke tonight, I would be stunned at one level, but on the heels of what we've already witnessed in the last month and then another that would a certain poetic art to it.

COOPER: Poetic perhaps. But not to be. Even against a dim night sky, the answer this time, was plain as day.


COOPER: Joining me now is Vatican spokesperson, Father Tom Rosica, also our Vatican analyst, John Allen.

It's good to have you with us. Thanks very much --



COOPER: You were actually in the Sistine Chapel today. That must have been extraordinary. What was it like?

ROSICA: It was an incredible experience. I went in as one of the spokespersons with Father Lombardi. We were allowed to be there for the beginning of the concave ritual. So just before the cardinals came in, there were about 10 of us. And it was a remarkable experience just to be there, the sight, the people coming in, the cardinals, the music, watching the swearing of the oath. Then we were all thrown out at the end.

COOPER: As everyone was.

What happens now, John Allen? We all saw the black smoke obviously. There's no real debating or discussion during the votes inside that Sistine Chapel. That's happening tonight.

ALLEN: Yes. That's right. What happens in the Sistine Chapel is more like going to church than a political convention. It's a highly ceremonial experience. Most of the time, it's eaten up by the choreography of casting ballots. It's not like somebody stands up and says, OK, how many for this guy and how many for that guy. Each cardinal goes up individually, deposits his ballot. Of course that happens 115 times because there are 115 electors.

Soup to nuts, each ballot takes about an hour, hour and a half. So if you do two ballots in the morning and two ballots in the afternoon, that's pretty much your day. So the politics of this process don't unfold in the Sistine Chapel. They unfold in the Casa di Santa Marta which is the hotel on Vatican grounds where the cardinals are staying.

So breakfast, lunch, dinner, during the downtime, that's where they will have conversations about who seems to have legs as a candidate, forming potential alliances. That kind of thing.

COOPER: And you've talked to cardinals in the past about who've gone through this procedure. How frank are the discussions that have been happening earlier this evening?

ALLEN: Well, I'll tell you these conversations are remarkably frank. I mean, this is not attack ad politics but I mean, they are extraordinarily conscious of how much hinges on this decision. And they want to get it right. So, you know, in these private settings, in ones, in twos, in tens and 20s, names will come up. And it won't just be here's why this guy would be a great Pope. There will be some very blunt talk about why he may not be cut out for this job.

COOPER: Much have been made of sort of Romans versus reformers. People who are more sort of antiestablishment perhaps or want change within the inner workings of the Vatican bureaucracy and there's one more of the status quo. Do you think too much is made of that?

ROSICA: I would hope that at this conclave and especially through the meetings that took place last week until Monday, there should be some of the locals and some of the Italians or Romans who should be rightfully concerned that others are concerned at what's happening. This is not a Roman operation, although it's here in Italy. This is an international operation. The home office has to be here on the (INAUDIBLE) because that's where history says it.

But everyone has an interest in the good functioning of the system. And cardinals, more and more, because they have a vested interest in this should be concerned. When Vatileaks happened, this is not just something for Italy, but the cardinals in the most remote parts of the world should be concerned because it affects all of us. If their problems is with finances, or the Institute of Religious works, or money, vow and whatever, it should affect all of us because cardinals all have an interest and a responsibility with a good functioning of this.

COOPER: ABC News is reporting tonight that Cardinal Dolan in a letter to his priest has said he thinks there will be a selection by Thursday evening.

Do you --

ROSICA: I hope so.

COOPER: You hope so.


ROSICA: I don't have any inside information, but I really hope so. I think for two reasons, they went into this conclave with some very good information, some good data. And they had a profile that had been traced by their discussions. Secondly, I think it's a very positive sign of unity of a shared concern and of a shared direction. If this is something that's protracted, dragged on, they should be concerned. But the world would be concerned as well with this -- with (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Interesting. It's fascinating to watch. I mean, it's so -- I was sitting here with John Allen and Chris Cuomo earlier. And to watch the entire world kind of watching this little hype, you know, this chimney.

ROSICA: Did you see how many people showed up tonight in that freezing cold weather.

COOPER: Yes. Extraordinary.

ROSICA: And everybody could have said this is going to be black smoke.

COOPER: Right.

ROSICA: But there was a palpable sense of interest. And they weren't just Catholics and Christians in that crowd.

COOPER: Yes. Well, also I detect there's a joyousness this time.


COOPER: Because in past times obviously --

ROSICA: A funeral.

COOPER: This is -- a funeral.


COOPER: And so there was a sadness, obviously. I was here eight years ago. But there's a real joy here because there was not a funeral here and there's excitement over what direction does this mean for the church.

ROSICA: I've talked to many, many people in the past month that I have been here. And one thing that's been constant right from the beginning of the resignation through this, there's a desire, a hope for something new. What that is, I'm not sure. There's really an excitement. And I link this, a bit, to the excitement and desire 50 years ago when the second Vatican council was coming. There was a real desire. We don't know what's going to happen but we'd like a new direction in a sense. We'd like a recommitment to the principals of that council which was so important for the church.

COOPER: It is -- it is thrilling to be here. That was really palpable I think today among a lot of the people. We heard Becky Anderson interviewed two Americans who were very disappointed because they were going to be leaving tomorrow and felt, you know, they were disappointed they didn't get to see the white smoke but were thrilled to actually be there.

ROSICA: You know what struck me very much in the Sistine Chapel today. I didn't expect this. As each cardinal was coming forward to lay his hand on the book and say the oath, I was intrigued by the accents of pronouncing the Latin. I had my eyes closed. And I heard the French way of saying the Latin way, the African way of saying it, the English way. And each of them, some of them struggling to say the Latin because Latin is not the lingua franca here.

COOPER: Right.

ROSICA: And that told me, this is this international reality. We are striving and struggling to have this common language. We're trying. Nevertheless we're linked together by this. And I don't know why that moved me today, but it really -- it really struck me.

COOPER: Yes. It's an exciting, exciting day and exciting week as well.

Thank you so much, Father, really appreciate it.

ROSICA: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Thank you.

John Allen as well.

Well, let us know what you think about all the day's events. Follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper, I'll be tweeting tonight.

Up next, I'm going to ask our guests about the breaking news and Cardinal Mahoney, CNN contributor, Father Edward Beck joins me so does Fr. Albert Cutie who left the Roman Catholic Church to marry.

Later how they protect their secret proceedings going on inside the Sistine Chapel. We'll be back live from Rome in a moment.


COOPER: As we look there at St. Peter's Basilica, there is breaking news report tonight. A multimillion dollar settlement in four sex abuse lawsuits. At least one of them naming one of the men who voted today on a new Pope, Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles.

We're learning tonight the church has paid nearly $10 million to four men who were allegedly abused as young boys. It is sad but true, some, including Mahoney are just down the street electing a Pope. We'll have that and a lot more in his plate when it comes to reforming the church.

Joining me now is Reverend Albert Cutie who left Roman Catholicism for the Episcopal Church so he could marry. He writes about it in "Dilemma: A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love."

Also joining us here in Rome is author and commentator and Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Edward Beck.

Father Beck, I'm just wondering, the news of these lawsuits. Do you read anything into the timing of the announcement of it and just a reminder of what some of the issues the church is facing?

REV. EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, obviously, it's a sad and terrible issue. And there's no excuse for it. The behavior and for the lack of action. I do find it interesting, though, that is released now and I'm sure the lawyers did that to get maximum exposure for it.

You know, Cardinal Mahoney has been a very controversial figure. Some said he shouldn't come to this conclave at all because of what has happened with his archdiocese and leave this scandal.

COOPER: He's been relieved of all his official duties?

BECK: That's correct. But not to vote for the Pope.

COOPER: Right.

BECK: So --

COOPER: Do you believe celibacy has anything to do with the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the church?

BECK: I think it's been proven that it doesn't. Most sexual abuse occurs in families, with relatives, and they're married people. So that would mean that marriage causes sexual abuse or does being a Boy Scout leader cause sexual abuse? There's really very little connection between it. They're just apples and oranges.

COOPER: Father Cutie there's a lot of talk about the potential for reform. And it means different things to different people. I'm wondering to you, what do you want to see happen when you hear about reform, when you talk about reform? REV. ALBERT CUTIE, LEFT ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH TO MARRY: Well, it's interesting, Anderson, that I would venture to say that most moderate and progressive Roman Catholics which is the majority of the Catholic world, want a Pope that can speak to the 21st century. They want a Pope that can dialogue with contemporary society, that can deal with a lot of the controversial issues the church prefers sometimes not to deal with, especially issues of human sexuality.

There are so many things happening in the Roman Catholic world that somehow alienate people from receiving the sacraments. You know, people who are remarried and are told you cannot receive Holy Communion. People that are in different situations, homosexual persons, for example, are called intrinsically disordered in their acts and so there are many things that alienate many people from the sacraments and I think that we would like to see someone who can open not just their mind and their heart, someone that can open the church to the contemporary world which is something that's started back in Vatican, too.

But for the last 30 or 40 years or so we've seen kind of a backward movement, not a movement toward the modern and contemporary society.

COOPER: Father Beck, for you, what does -- what does reform mean?

BECK: Well, if you want to begin with the sex abuse crisis, it means, leadership taking responsibility for acting poorly. And it also means to kind of clean house and show the world that when you say zero tolerance, you mean zero tolerance. And that anyone who's accused of abuse or implicated in any way is removed and in some way punished. And I think that is part of the reform.

Now what Fr. Cutie is talking about, there's a whole town of -- of issues we can talk about there. But it doesn't mean that the Pope or the church is not in the modern world if it doesn't agree with those perspectives necessarily. The two don't necessarily have to be merged.

COOPER: And in terms of the governance of the Vatican itself, of the bureaucracy, I mean, there have been the Vatican leak scandal, the questions about transparency, not enough transparency, questions about the Vatican bank and the role it plays. Is that also part of reform?

BECK: I think so. I think there's no doubt that people say Pope Benedict was not well served by his curia and those closest to him.

COOPER: The curia is the bureaucracy that actually runs the Vatican.

BECK: Right. And many point to the secretary of state, Cardinal Bertone, as really letting him down. And so definitely, I think people see a need for reform within that structure of the curia.

COOPER: Father Cutie, what is going through your mind as you watch the coverage of the conclave, see the faithful gathered here in Rome?

CUTIE: I think that there's a great hope in many people that a new Pope can mean new ideas, new reforms. But I also think that the entire world, not just the Roman Catholic world wants to see a better Roman Catholic Church. Because the fact is all of us are spiritual leaders regardless of our denomination want the Pope to be able to do a good job.

The world needs to know the message of the Gospel. The world needs to know the good news. And so many times, scandal, corruption, the darkness of the human condition, the result of sin, becomes, you know, the headlines every day. We are seeing this thing with Cardinal Mahoney. I think it's unfair, by the way, what's happening to Cardinal Mahoney because I don't think he's acted any differently than any other cardinal or bishop.

I mean if you look at all of cardinals and bishops throughout the world, they've all participated, to a great extent, in the cover-up because the fact is that's how the church operates.

BECK: Well, that's a real blanket statement.


CUTIE: The church operates in secrecy in many things.

BECK: Alfred, that's a real blanket statement.

CUTIE: Well --

COOPER: That also just --


CUTIE: It is. It is a blanket statement but it's -- a generalization but --

BECK: You are saying every cardinal in the world acted that way?

COOPER: It's known in the world --


BECK: Like Cardinal Mahoney? No, that's true, Albert.

CUTIE: I'm not sure that Cardinal Mahoney did anything different --


BECK: Where do you get your statistics that you're talking about?

CUTIE: I'm not sure that Cardinal Mahoney did anything different --


COOPER: Well, but I mean --

CUTIE: I'm talking about the people that I know in the church.

COOPER: From what we --

CUTIE: And I don't --

COOPER: But what we know about what Cardinal Mahoney did and from the thousands of documents, thousands of pages of documents, that had been released, I mean, he was counseling priests, not -- telling them not to go to therapy because the therapist might actually then have to reveal what they did to law enforcement.

He was actually telling priests not to come back to Los Angeles because they might be then subjected to lawsuits or subjected to law enforcement. I mean that's -- you are saying you believe most cardinals, most -- most people in leadership positions were counseling priests the same thing?

CUTIE: I think that when Cardinal Mahoney spoke about his behavior in the '80s and he was very sincere about it, he said that he did not know how to deal with the whole issue of pedophilia and he did not know exactly how to deal with those priests. And most of the issues that he has spoken about in public, most cardinals and bishops have not been confronted with, and have not been told, by the way, you deal with the issues you've covered up.

I can tell you in my work in the media, 11 years I worked in Roman Catholic media, radio and television, and I can tell you, throughout Latin America, most bishops and cardinals have participated in the same exact behavior that we are saying that Cardinal Mahoney is responsible for.

I think it's unfair to pinpoint Cardinal Mahoney and Cardinal Law, because the fact that this is something the entire church has participated in, especially members of the hierarchy who did not know how to deal with priests involved in pedophilia.


BECK: And right now, here in Rome, everybody is talking about Cardinal O'Malley who went into Boston after Cardinal Law, who did a miserable job, granted, with sexual abuse crisis in Boston, cleaned house and began a reform in that archdiocese based on what he had seen. So there's an example right there of someone who could be our next Pope who took this issue seriously.

COOPER: Father Cutie?

CUTIE: Well, I think -- I think the world of Cardinal Mahoney and I think the world of Cardinal Law and Cardinal O'Malley, I think that all of them are men the church. And I think that the in many ways the institutional church has invited people throughout the years. I think -- I think this is well documented with the founder of the Legionaries of Christ and others that the church knew about these things and didn't want to talk about it and didn't want to say it because they wanted to protect the image of the church.

So I think the church just needs to own up to what's going on. I think that priests, in many parts of the world are frustrated because they don't see Vatican, too, as something that is a priority anymore. They see this as something of the past. They would like to see more women in positions of leadership and they would like to see a church that really speaks to the 21st century in a new way.

And that has not been happening for the last 30 years. To deny that is to deny reality. The church has not been opening itself up to the contemporary world.

COOPER: Certainly transparency is something that a lot of people talk about that they would like to see more from this Vatican.

BECK: And granted. I think that certainly is true. But every institution has dealt with this issue. The statistics in the Roman Catholic Church are 4 percent of priests, that means 96 percent did not abuse. In the general population, statistics 4 percent abused.

Now should we expect more of the church? Yes. We're rooted in God, we say we're ministers of God. Should we have acted differently? Should leadership have acted differently, certainly. But to cast this poll on it as if it's worse, far worse than any other institution, I think, is simply wrong, if you look at the facts.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there, Father Beck, I appreciate it. Father Cutie, as well. Thank you very much for being with us.

Up next, a lot from Rome's security lockdown. The Vatican may not be as tight as you think. There are still ways that secrets could spill out from the Sistine Chapel. We'll talk about that ahead.

Also tonight, a stand off in Oregon between police and a man accused of killing his grandparents, stealing their car. Setting up a manhunt. We'll have the latest on that when we continue. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Hey, welcome back. We're live from Rome tonight. You can't say it enough, it is endlessly fascinating, smoke signals. It all comes down to smoke signals and the Vatican has a serious television operation. It has its spokesman, you met one a moment ago. Pope Benedict even tweeted. But when the moment arrives to let the world know that the church has a new leader, somebody lights a fire. All the same, protecting such a primitive ritual does call for modern measures. And even they might not be enough.

Tom Foreman explains tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With worldwide media swirling and one impostor caught last week, he was a protester who got close enough to shake a cardinal's hand, extraordinary measures have been taken to protect the privacy of the conclave. The doors are locked, the windows blocked, and the cardinals have all taken a vow of secrecy.

But here are three ways the Vatican code could still be cracked. First, the Russian Gambit. No one in the chapel is allowed to have any sort of cell phone or BlackBerry. Cardinals with Twitter accounts are now tweetless. The room has been swept for electronic bugs and a jamming system has been installed beneath the floor. But security experts point out every item brought in from clothing to furniture to the stoves to burn the ballots could carry a spy device.

Think not? A few decades ago the U.S. had to rebuild a brand-new embassy in Moscow after so many bugs were found that have been smuggled into the architecture and fixtures. Still security analysts suspect the Swiss Guard can keep the electronic threat to a minimum.

CNN's Mike Brooks.

MIKE BROOKS, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: I think they've got that wrapped up. They have gone over all those pieces with a fine tooth comb to make sure there's nothing embedded in anything.

FOREMAN: But what about the connection? The cardinals deliberate by themselves and sleep only 100 yards away but they need food, water, supplies and possibly medical care. Each person who provides a service represents another potential leak.

BROOKS: Well, you know, they're threatened with excommunication from the church. So are they willing to give away any secrets, if you will, while facing possible excommunication? That remains to be seen.

FOREMAN: And finally, there is the inside man. Remember, the oath of secrecy is standard. But after Pope Benedict was elected some still unnamed cardinal leaked information about the other top contenders.


FOREMAN: Whether any of this will play out, we don't know. But we do know this. The Vatican is still stinging over some leaks last year of some very high level papers. And the church would like to avoid such an embarrassment, again -- Anderson.

COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.

Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following right now. Isha is here with the "360 News and Business Bulletin." Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, police have surrounded an Oregon motel where a man who's accused of killing his grandparents is holed up. Michael Boysen is accused of killing his grandparents in Washington state. After they hosted a party over the weekend, welcoming him home from prison where he served time for burglary.

A Colorado judge entered the standard plea of not guilty for suspected movie theatre gunman, James Holmes, after his attorney said they weren't ready to enter a plea. That's also after they filed court documents suggesting they might enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for the July shooting spree that left 12 people dead and 58 others wounded.

NASA "Curiosity" rover has found signs that ancient Mars could have supported life. The rover drilled into a rock and found oxygen, hydrogen and other essential ingredients for microbes to thrive in.

Anderson, fans of Twinkies and other Hostess snacks, your worries are over. The snacks could be back on the store shelves by this summer after two private equity firms agreed to buy the iconic brand for $410 million. Good news for you there, while you are in Rome.

COOPER: I guess. Isha, thanks very much.

Coming up, President Obama has been reaching out to Republicans lately, as you know, several events including a dinner with GOP senators. But is this so-called charm offensive a legitimate attempt to break the budget gridlock?

One senior White House official reportedly calls it a waste of everyone's time. Nothing more than a joke staged for the benefit of the media. The White House responded to that today. We'll get to the raw politics next.


COOPER: The history of the papal conclave is full fascinating tales. The tradition actually began out of frustration after cardinals took nearly three whole years to choose a pope or how the conclave came about coming up.


COOPER: "Raw Politics" tonight, what's being called President Obama's charm offensive and at least one senior White House official who reportedly anything but charmed by it. Amid gridlock on budget issues, the president's been reaching out to Republicans meeting with a dozen GOP senators last week, having lunch with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

But an article on the "National Journal" questions whether the recent presidential schmoozing is a genuine attempted outreach inspired by a recent dip in his approval numbers. That article includes this from a senior White House official quoted anonymously as saying, quote, "This is a joke. We are wasting the president's time and hours. I hope you all and the media are happy because we are doing it for you."

CNN's Jim Acosta asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about that quote today. Here is what he said.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have no idea who said that. I can tell you, that opinion has never been voiced in my presence, in the president's presence in the west wing. It does not represent the president's view. It does not represent the White House's view and it does not represent the administration's view.


COOPER: Joining me now to talk about it is CNN's senior political analyst, David Gergen, CNN's political contributor and Republican consultant Margaret Hoover, and Peter Beinart, editor of "The Daily Beast" blog.

David, even if this outreach from the president, these dinners, trips to the capital, even if it is just symbolic, is there an importance to that sort of symbolism?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, there's a great deal importance to this kind of symbolism. Anderson, there are some cynics in the White House press corps who think it's a joke.

But I believe the president deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one. You know, he was frustrated. Congress wasn't working, popularity going down. He changed strategy. Give him credit for at least trying. Let's see how it turns out.

If, down the road, the president presents a budget, which is on its phase per se unacceptable to Republicans and he turns on the Republicans and goes back into campaign mode, then we have a right to be cynical about the whole exercise. But for now, I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

COOPER: Peter, what do you make of it? Do you see it as a big show, a joke?

PETER BEINART, EDITOR, OPENZION.COM ON "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, I think the kindest interpretation is that there may be some evidence that actually the Republicans don't know how far the White House is actually been willing to go in terms of compromise.

There's an interesting report that a Republican, a prominent Republican has said that the White House never agreed in its negotiations with John Boehner to change the inflation index, which determines how fast government programs grow.

In fact, on the White House web site itself, it says that the White House has agreed to do that. So I think the most generous interpretation is actually that Obama has a better case to make about how much he's willing to compromise than some Republicans quite realize.

COOPER: Margaret, as a Republican, how do you see it? Is any progress actually being made? MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, certainly, the president going to the Hill to talk to Republican legislatures is progress. The president sitting down and visiting with Paul Ryan over lunch at the White House is for the first time ever is progress.

There are some signs that some Republicans think it's really genuine. I guess there have been follow up made to Senator Johnson by the chief White House chief of staff following up on the president's initial calls and initial conversations.

So all of this is good, but you have to keep in mind how poisoned the well has been. I mean, the president's strategy up until now has been demonizing House Republicans. That's a strategy.

So I think you can understand why Republicans are cautiously -- very, very cautious about this. I think that may even be a stretch too far. The other thing I think that is important to remember is, you know, tone comes from the talk.

What Republicans need to see, too, is the president's deputies and senior staff reiterating this good will. And so when you -- when you have Dan Pfeiffer go on television, the White House communications director went on television today and again demonize House Republicans for the failures and compromises it doesn't reverberate this good will.

It almost in some ways undermines the president's tone. So I think you have to take it all on balance. You know, the president certainly deserves credit for going to the Hill and reaching out.

COOPER: It is an incredible sign of the times that any kind of outreach, having a meal with a Republican for a Democratic president to have a meal with Republicans is seen as outreach or schmoozing or it's a huge news story.

GERGEN: Absolutely. I think that is. I think there has been a recognition on part of White House aide, not everybody that they were too reticent. They held back too much and did not spend enough time.

You know, one recalls, Anderson, for example, in a Robert Carol book on Lyndon Johnson, that basically as a Democratic president, Lyndon Johnson called a Republican leader almost every day at 5:00. They talked for a half hour.

It made a huge difference. They reconciled their differences on the civil rights of '64 and '65. It made a difference in building a supermajority and Republican support. It's not happened with this White House.

You know, I think it's been a weakness on the part of this White House. But again, if they are trying to make up for it now, let's applaud them, right on. The country needs what you are doing now.

COOPER: Peter, has there been outreach by Republicans toward the White House? Is it all just have to be a one-way street? BEINART: Well, there have been some positive noises from Republicans. I think the question is, what leverage does the president really have over Republicans? It's a very strange moment. Most Republican members of Congress I think are more worried about their right flank than their left flank.

Even though most Americans think that they are too extreme, they are worried about Tea Party primary challenges. This phenomenon of serious challenges to sitting Republicans in the primaries I think scared so many people.

That it makes it very difficult for them to go and agree to the increased revenue that I think Obama is demanding especially when they were forced to capitulate on that last time. I hope they do it. I think the environment is tougher than it was in previous eras.

HOOVER: All of this, this entire effort though is trying to soften the ground for a totally different approach and negotiations. This is not going to be back room deals between the president and the House Republicans. This is going to happen through regular order.

The House of Representatives is going to pass something. The Senate is going to pass something. They are going to meet in conference and then send it to the president. The president is not going to have an active hand in this the way he have in the past.

GERGEN: At some point he has to lead. He has to put some things on the table and he has not yet done that on entitlements in a serious way.

BEINART: I don't think that's fair. I mean, he's put this question about the inflation index, which allows it to go slower. I think he hasn't gotten as much credit as he deserves.

COOPER: We have to leave it there. Peter, Margaret and David, thanks very much.

Just ahead, is the classic study about gender bias outdated? We recreated decades old experiment. We got some very surprising results. What we found about women and power.

Also ahead, some of the facts about the conclave that will make you sound much smarter when you're talking about the big story unfolding here in Rome. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. We are live in Rome. We'll have more on the conclave events in a moment. But all this week, CNN has been looking at what is preventing more women from reaching the top jobs in their fields.

In her new book, "Lean In," Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg suggests that women themselves may be partly to blame for holding themselves back. It's a controversial idea. She also talks about barriers that women face that they can't control including how they are perceived.

She writes, when a man is successful, he's liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less. I believe this bias is at the very core of why women are held back. It's also the very core of why women hold themselves back.

Now to backup her claim, Sandberg cites an experiment that was done a decade ago. Business students were asked to review a case study of a real life entrepreneur. Successful venture capitalist named Heidi. Half of the students read Heidi's story, the other read the exact same case study with one difference, Heidi's name was changed to Howard.

Here's Sandberg describing the results from TEDTalks.


SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, FACEBOOK: And the good news was the students, both men and women thought Heidi and Howard were equally competent and that's good. The bad news was that everyone liked Howard. He's a great guy. You want to work for him. You want to spend the day fishing with him. But Heidi, not so sure, she's a little out for herself. She's a little political.


COOPER: Well, it's a powerful example. A staple in Sandberg's speeches, we wondered if the results would be the same today if that experiment was done. So we decided to rerun the experiment at the very place it was first conducted at New York University Stern School of Business. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Find your name and take a seat.

COOPER (voice-over): These business students are about to participate in an experiment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thank you, come in.

COOPER: The goal to find out whether powerful men and powerful women are viewed differently.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you have been given a case. Read the case. You will also see a separate form underneath that has questions we would like you to answer about the case.

COOPER: This half of the room is reading a profile of a business executive named Martin. The other half about a business executive named Catherine. But the students don't know, it's the exact same person. The only difference, their gender.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take out the answer sheet, those six questions. COOPER: Some of the questions ask on a scale of 1 to 10, how much they liked their executive? A scale from one to ten, how much they trusted their executive? Yes or no, would they work for their executive. The results for likability --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 8.0 for Catherine. How about Martin? About 7.6.

COOPER: The female executive was seen as more likable, the complete opposite of the original experiment done a decade ago. When it came to whether the students would want to work for the woman versus the man --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's 83 percent would like to work for Catherine. For Martin, 65 percent would want to work for him. That, I think is a significant difference, right?

COOPER: Again, in 2013, the woman came out on top, another sign of progress. But when it came to the question of trust, everything changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trust, what are the results? Kathryn, 6.4. It seems low. What about Martin?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is that all about?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hate to be the person to admit it, but when it comes to women being successful, I don't think they are as trustworthy as if men were successful. I think men would be -- men tend to seem more genuine. As women become more successful, they have ulterior motive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that there are a lot of social stigmas attached to women as succeeding in business because we have a lot of pressures to kind of fulfill other roles in our life and we have a lot more hats.

When we try to succeed in business, it comes across as trying too hard and we become untrustworthy. Men don't have those stigmas especially because they have different responsibilities in a family life. It makes it a little more difficult for us to try to succeed in the same way.

COOPER: The students trusted the powerful man more than the powerful woman. Then things got really heated when asked about women as a potential threat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the women that are here, do you expect to be in leadership positions, just a show of hands. That's why you are here, right? Men, I'm going to ask you a question. Do you feel threatened by that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only place I feel threatened is that good looking girls often get positions that other people don't. That's all I'll say. If you are very attractive, you can hand a good job, you know, just because you are really attractive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have facts to back that? Maybe she's honestly smarter than you and that's why she got the job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just so you know --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. It's not personal, either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) hot chick --




COOPER: Ten years after the original experiment, there's certainly progress. But in the business world, it is clear women still have a long way to go.


COOPER: Well, Joanna Coles has reached the top in her field. She is the editor-in-chief of "Cosmopolitan," the world's largest women's magazine with 64 editions that reaches 18 million readers every month. Many of her readers are just starting out in their career. She joins me tonight.

Joanna, when you see the results of this experiment that we conducted, what do you make of it? Do you see signs of progress?

JOANNA COLES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "COSMOPOLITAN" MAGAZINE: Well, when I actually first heard about the experiment, I didn't believe Sheryl. She told me about it and I just couldn't believe it. So I went and looked at the research myself.

Your experiment suggests a bit of progress, but not much. The truth is we know there's not enough progress because we know there aren't enough women in board rooms and in senior management.

The crazy thing is all the research shows a business will run better and be more successful if you have a senior executive group that reflects the population.

COOPER: We interviewed recently Heidi Roizen, the female executive who was part of the original study and also this new study. Here is what she said.


HEIDI ROIZEN, VENTURE CAPITALIST: I think there definitely has been progress for women in leadership positions. I certainly see it here in Silicon Valley with the number of women in senior positions at the technology companies and I do see women rising through the ranks.

The thing that is disturbing though is at the very top, I still feel that there is a lot of work to be done. I mean, if you take me as an example, I'm on six boards, two public and four private. I'm the only woman. We have a lot of work to be done.


COOPER: Where do you think the most work is to be done?

COLES: Well, clearly the most work is to be done in helping women go up the corporate ladder. I mean, if you think of it as a ladder or even as a sort of jungle gym in the way we lead our careers now. But what's also extraordinary about what Heidi says is that there are so few women in a way that we know who they are.

So they get extraordinary publicity, which is sometimes unwanted. So you see Marissa Mayer gets extraordinary publicity just for the fact that she's pregnant in a job. I mean, that's not a great way to encourage women to stay in the work force when they have children.

COOPER: You are talking about extraordinary publicity. Sheryl Sandberg who you know is also getting a lot of publicity right now because of the book she's written, the controversy it's causing. Do you see a double standard? She talks of a double standard she's often held to. She's called aggressive where a man wouldn't be called aggressive in the same situation.

COLES: There is undoubtedly a double standard, an extraordinary hypocrisy. She's being criticized for being elitist because she dared go to Harvard, you know, from a public school. She's made a lot of money. Very sensibly working at Google and Facebook at times where she could make a lot of money.

This is somehow being held against her as if she doesn't have a right to talk to other women in the work force. No one says that about successful men who are expected to write a memoir and tell the rest of us how to do it. No one says Jack Welch was so successful he's unrelatable. It's a huge double standard. It's really important that we address it.

COOPER: It's great to have you on, Joanna. Thank you so much.

COLES: My pleasure.

COOPER: We'll continue this discussion throughout the week. The conclave happening here is obviously steep in history, full of interesting facts throughout the course of time.

For instance, if Pope Gregory X was still in charge and if these cardinals took longer than eight days to choose a new leader, they would only be allowed to have bread, water and wine until they made a decision. More on the rich history of this conclave when we continue live from Rome.


COOPER: The papal conclave that's underway here in Rome is rich with history and mystery. Right now, I want to give you a little of the fascinating back story of how for centuries now, the Catholic Church has chosen its leaders. It's a story that is full of surprising facts.


COOPER (voice-over): The conclave is a solemn elaborate process dating to the Middle Ages and born out of frustration after gathering of cardinals took nearly three years to select a pope.

The locals got so fed up, they tore the roof off the building where the cardinals were meeting and then decided to lock the cardinals in to speed a decision. Eventually, Pope Gregory X was chosen. He wanted to avoid a repeat of his own experience.

Thus, the conclave, Latin for with key, became a tradition. Cardinals in the future would get only one meal a day if they took more than three days to decide and only bread, water and wine if it went beyond eight.

Those food restrictions are now gone, but Pope Gregory would be proud. More recently the cardinals have on average chosen a pope in about three days. If history is any guide, age, experience and geography offer some clues of a potential pontiff.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was 78 when he was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, but he wasn't the oldest pope. Back in the 12th and 13th Centuries, two popes dawned their papal robes at ripe old age of 85. They were the oldest.

The youngest, Pope John XII in the 10th Century, he was a youthful 18 when he assumed the papacy though he had a bit help from his father who fixed the election of his only son before his death.

Only one man selected pope was not a cardinal first. Archbishop Bartolomeo Prignano of Vari in Italy was named Pope Urban VI back in 1378. The Italians have clearly had the home field advantage, dominating the papacy through the centuries.

The conclave of 1978 produced the closest thing to a genuine surprise we have had in decades in John Paul II, the first non-Italian in 500 years. More often than not, the outcome is predictable though without a clear frontrunner going in this time, this conclave could indeed be a cliff hanger.


COOPER: Indeed, it could be. We'll be back one hour from now another edition of 360 at 10 p.m. Eastern. I hope you join us. Chris Cuomo and myself all day tomorrow for continuing coverage and again, 360 live from Rome tomorrow night. "PIERS MORGAN" live starts right now.