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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Health Care Reform Public Option Dead?; Interview With Filmmaker Michael Moore; Hollywood Defends Roman Polanski

Aired September 29, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, unless something drastically changes, the most contentious and what some consider the most important part of health care reform is dead. We're talking about giving Americans the choice of government-provided coverage if they think they're getting a raw deal from private insurance companies.

It's called the public option. That's what liberal Democrats today tried and failed to get into the version of legislation going through the Senate Finance Committee.

We have the "Raw Politics" tonight of its defeat, but also its possible resurrection and what it means to you. Along with both sides of the political debate, we will talk with filmmaker Michael Moore, who's by no means middle-of-the-road on any of this, and today vowed to campaign against any Democrat who doesn't support an overhaul of the health care system.

Also tonight, "Crime & Punishment" and director Roman Polanski -- some big Hollywood names rallying to his defense, as he awaits extradition for drugging and raping a 13-year-old 32 years ago. We will talk about why they think he is the victim now.

And, later, "Keeping Them Honest," we uncover a job placement company that charged big bucks, promised big salaries. It turned out to be a big scam.

All that and more tonight, including the latest on fatalities and damage from the tsunami in the South Pacific.

We begin, though, with the health care story, what happened to the public option, and what happens next.

The "Raw Politics" tonight from Candy Crowley, who joins us now.

Candy, is the public option dead?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, nothing ever dies on Capitol Hill. It just comes back the next session, but, if you were a betting person, Anderson, bet against a full-blown public option, which is to say, a government-run health insurance program as an option for both employers and American consumers.

So, that seems to be gone. It's not that Democrats won't have other shots at trying to put it into legislation. Certainly, in the Senate, there are at least three more times they could do this. On -- on the House side, they are going to stick with a public option.

One Democrat said to me, on the House side, we have to hold on to the public option on the House side, just so, when we get into bargaining with the Senate, we have something to bargain with.

So, there are plenty of other times that Democrats can try to force a full-blown public option into a health care bill, but the bottom line still remains -- and the bottom line is -- there do not appear to be the votes for final passage of any health care legislation that contains that public option.

So -- on the Senate side -- so, this certainly is on life support. It is very hard to see a way that, in fact, the Senate Democrats can get that, but they're determined to try and try again. But, sometimes, on Capitol Hill, Anderson, they do things over and over again and -- and -- and have these sort of attempts that they know aren't going to work because it sends a political message.

COOPER: Yes. At this point, though, is the White House just looking to get a bill passed, any kind of bill?

CROWLEY: Not any kind of bill, but, yes. The -- the White House -- the president has made it very clear that -- he said, look, I'm -- I'm for the public option. I'm going to go ahead and campaign for the public option, but I'm open to other things.

That is code for, listen, I will still sign a bill, even if it doesn't have the public option in it. What the president says he wants is a bill that does, in fact, have some alternatives for consumers to help drive down prices. So, you may get, you know, something like that -- you know, this whole trigger idea, that there would be a public option if the insurance industry doesn't shape up, co-ops, people who could buy into their state plan, that kind of thing.

But, again, the president has really signaled very clearly that he doesn't have to have that in a health care bill, which he will get by the end of this year.

COOPER: All right, Candy, thanks.

Today, filmmaker Michael Moore issued a warning to Democrats who oppose real health care reform. He said -- quote -- "Find your spine. Read the polls. See us coming. We will come after you. We will remove you from office."

Michael Moore, director of the new film "Capitalism: A Love Story" and the movie "Sicko," which took aim the health insurance industry, joins us now.

Michael, would you really campaign for Republicans against Democrats? And -- and, if so, are there any particular Democrats right now you would plan to campaign against?

MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Yes, see, these Democrats think that -- that they can just do whatever they want because who -- where else are we going to go? Who else are we going to vote for?

Well, first of all, we're going to start in the primaries. Any Democrat that gets in the way of true reform, reform that has to include the public option, we are going to campaign against them in the primary. We're going to try to find people to run against them.

They -- they -- they are not going to get away with this. The American people, the vast majority of American people, depending on what poll you read, two-thirds to three-quarters of the American people expect universal health care, are demanding it, and they want the public option.

And for Congress just to just -- just disregard what people want, what people are expecting them to do, what they voted for last November, I mean, who do they think they are? I mean, seriously, who do they -- whose interests do they think they were voting for today? Not the American people. The American people have been very, very clear on this issue.

COOPER: For you, is -- is the public option sort of the bottom line of what a bill has to contain? I mean, I know you -- you wanted a single-payer system, but -- but is the public option, for you, make or break?

MOORE: It's absolutely make or break. Yes, it should be a single payer system. It should be what every other Western democracy has.

Any intelligent, or even half-intelligent, nation has a -- either a single-payer or a national health care plan that, clearly, this Congress doesn't understand that that's what the American people want.

So, you know, I feel -- I feel bad that the president started with the compromise, this public option that really leaves the private insurance companies somewhat in charge. We should have started with everything that we wanted, and then -- then, if you have to compromise, you compromise. But you don't start with a compromise.

And believe you me, this is -- to -- to have a -- a plan that doesn't allow for this, it's just the same old business as it's -- it's not going to change. Nothing is going to change. Trust me on -- trust me on this one thing. You don't have to, but I'm the guy who told you 20 years ago that General Motors was going to end up like this.

And I'm the guy that told you before the war there weren't any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So, here I am now standing on a street in Washington, D.C., in 2009, saying to you right now, to the American people, nothing is going to change if the public option is not part of any health care legislation.

COOPER: Michael, we're going to talk to you more. We have just got to take a very quick break.

Let us know what you think at home. Join the live chat now under way at We will have more with Michael Moore in just a moment.

Also tonight, director Roman Polanski drugged, raped a 13-year- old, fled the country. Thirty-two years later, he says he's the victim. We will tell you who the big names supporting him are, plus bring you the other side, and leave the judging to you -- "Crime & Punishment" tonight.

Also, he traveled halfway around the world to recover his kidnapped child, so, why is this American dad now in a Japanese jail? We will take you "Up Close" -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: We're back talking health care reform and the public option with Michael Moore, who today announced he will campaign against Democrats who don't back real health care reform.

Michael Moore has taken on drugs, the so-called war on terror, health care. And, now, in his new movie, he takes on capitalism.




MOORE: We're here to get the money back for the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand, sir, but you can't come in here.

MOORE: Can you just take the bag?


MOORE: Take it up there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not.

MOORE: Fill it up?

I got more bags. Ten billion probably won't fit in here.

We want our money back.

We went to all of the banks.

You have seen this guy?


MOORE: OK. We're -- we're here to make a citizen's arrest, actually.

And just drop it from -- from the windows. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's a clip from "Capitalism: A Love Story." His new movie is out now. It opens nationwide on Friday.

Michael Moore joins us now from a street in Washington, D.C.

Michael, you also said today to the American people who support the public option, you said -- and I quote -- "Come out of your houses. Turn off 'Dancing With the Stars.' This is the moment. We cannot lose this moment."

Why haven't supporters -- I mean, if so many people, in your belief, support the public option, why haven't those people been more vocal, more visible? The -- the debate's largely been dominated by tea party protests and -- and -- and outrage at -- at town hall meetings.

MOORE: Right.

Well, they -- that's what they organized, starting in August. And we haven't had anybody to organize anything yet. So, starting this Friday, this is my contribution, when this film opens nationwide.

I think -- and I -- because I have already seen it in theaters with people. People are very agitated while watching this movie. And I think they're going to be ready to rumble when they come out of the theaters.

And I expect them to get involved. And I have a lot of suggestions for them, both in the movie and on my Web site. So -- so, I'm doing my part to -- to get people up and at 'em.

I understand why they maybe haven't, because they thought, by voting for Barack Obama and a 60-seat Democratic Senate, that things were going to be OK.


MOORE: It's not -- it's not unusual for someone to believe that, if we control the White House and both houses of Congress, that things will be OK.

But, obviously, the lesson gets learned again that you can't just vote and then walk away and not show up again for another two or four years.

COOPER: Well...

MOORE: This -- you have to remain vigilant, and we have to be consistent. And I expect people to get up off the couch. I -- nothing against "Dancing With the Stars." I mean, you can still watch that.



COOPER: But, you know, Michael, the...

MOORE: I'm just saying...

COOPER: Some of the Democrats that voted nay today said they -- they did it because they knew a bill with the public option wouldn't pass, and there are those who say getting some bill is better than no bill. Even Social Security, when it first passed, it was nothing compared to what it ultimately became.

MOORE: That's correct.

But I just -- I can't stand listening to whiny Democrats say, "Well, we shouldn't even do it because it -- it won't pass anyways."

That's not how the Republicans think. You know, you have got to admire Republicans. They have the courage of their convictions. They just put it right out there. When they want to do something, they do it. They don't go: "Oh, I don't know -- I don't know if we should invade Iraq. People might not like that."

They don't care.


MOORE: They don't care. They just go ahead and do it.

What is wrong with our side of the aisle? Where is the spine? Where is the courage?

"Oh, they're -- they might filibuster."

Really? Let them filibuster. Let them read from cookbooks for 24 days. I would like to see that. I would like to see what the American people would do while they watched Republicans read from cookbooks for 24 days, filibustering something that is a -- should be a human right, the right to see a doctor when you get sick, and not have to worry about paying for it.

COOPER: Here's -- here's what the White House said today. They said -- quote -- "He" -- being President Obama -- "believes making a public option available on the insurance exchange is a good way to achieve those goals. He has said he's open to other constructive ideas of increasing choice and competition."

What do you think the -- of the way that President Obama has handled this? Is he too willing to compromise? I mean, you talk about politicians needing a spine. Do you think he's spineless?

MOORE: I think what the problem is -- and I hate to really call it a problem -- I just think he's a nice guy. I think he really started his administration not just saying it, but really meaning it, holding out the olive branch, and -- and believing and wanting a bipartisan thing and all of that. He wasn't just saying that. He really meant it. But what he doesn't understand is that the other side has no interest in bipartisanship or an olive branch. And -- and he's been smacked around a bit by the other side. And I just -- I hate seeing that, because, you know, I think everything he stands for is right and good, and he's -- he's just got to know that, if we have got his back, if there's millions of people out there, if their voices will be heard right now, that's what he needs. He can't do this on his own.

COOPER: Michael Moore, I appreciate your time tonight. I appreciate you talk -- talking with us.

MOORE: Well, thank you very much, Anderson. I -- I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.

COOPER: All right.

Let's dig deeper now with our political panel, senior political analyst David Gergen and senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

David, you -- you heard Michael Moore talking about going out and competing -- or -- or going against Democrats in the next election. Do you think that's, A, viable? And, I mean, where else are Democrats going to go?


But let me just say this, Anderson. Michael Moore is wonderfully provocative and great fun, but I'm mystified by his emphasis on the public option. For 75 years, the Democratic dream has been to create universal health care coverage, to make sure every American has health insurance. No Democrat has ever gotten there.

These Democrats are very likely to pass a bill with universal coverage under President Obama and the Democrats in Congress. It seems to me that's the dream. Now, the secondary issue is, who provides the coverage? Is it private health insurance companies or does the government provide the -- the -- the insurance? That's the public option question.

And the Democrats are having a hard time pushing that through, because, yes, the -- some of the polls show that 60 percent or so of Americans favor that. But, if you go state by state, you don't find that, Anderson.

And if you look at the Democrats who voted against the public option today in the Finance Committee -- there were five of them -- Chris Cillizza of "The Washington Post" has pointed out, those five Democrats all come from states that, on average, had less than 50 percent of their voters vote for Barack Obama in 2008. In other words, they're pretty red states.

The eight Democrats who voted for the public option came from states where Barack Obama got nearly 57 percent of the vote. Those are pretty Democratic states. So, they're -- they're voting their local states. A guy like Kent Conrad is very worried, in North Dakota, about a public option. COOPER: Candy, is the White House really willing to go to the mat for a public option? I mean, clearly, in the statement they made today, they basically said, yes, you know, the president thinks the public option is one of several ways to go about it and is a good way, but, you know, is interested in hearing other ways as well.

He seems to be totally willing to compromise.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. There is -- there is no way, if they send him a bill that includes forbidding insurance companies from not giving -- not covering preexisting conditions or refusing insurance for people without preexisting conditions, for government help for people who can't afford health insurance, thereby giving universal health insurance, if he had to give that up to get the public option, he's not going to do that.

I mean, he has said for some time now, well, this is what I think is good, but I'm willing to listen to what other people have to say. What the president wants, at the end of the day, at the end of this year, is a health reform bill that he can sign.

He knows he can get that without the public option. He knows that he can make a down payment, if it were, and -- and have that, and then maybe say, look, we will -- we will move onward. Maybe we will need the public option. Maybe we won't.

But he will get something, and he is not tied to this public option. And I will tell you that -- that they have said a couple of times at the White House, aides say that they're a little surprised that the public option got all -- that -- that it took center stage, because they were sort of looking at universal health care insurance, not necessarily the public option, as the do-or-die thing.

COOPER: But, David, you know, there are a lot of Democrats, Michael Moore probably among them, who would say, look, maybe this is insurance reform, but this isn't real health care reform.

GERGEN: Well, it's not real health care reform. And Republicans will tell you that.

It is -- and the -- and the president, very notably -- and I think it was in his joint session speech -- shifted the emphasis to health insurance reform. This does not -- I think what's really weak about the bill, it will provide universal coverage and it will change insurance rules, but what's weak about the bill, it really doesn't bring down costs. It doesn't do very much about preventive care, so that if you want to -- or incentives to lead a more healthy, more physically active, nutritious life.

It doesn't do very much in there. And it doesn't provide much on malpractice, frankly, for defensive medicine. So, it doesn't really change the way docs practice or hospitals practice. It's -- it's the same thing we didn't here in Massachusetts. We first did universal coverage, and now we're discovering the costs have gone up through the roof, and we're now trying to go to the next phase. And that -- that is truly true health care reform. That's going to be a new phase after this is over, I think.

COOPER: We are going to have to leave it there.

David Gergen, Candy Crowley, appreciate your time. Thanks.

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: There's more on the subject online at, where you can watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's take on health care reform.

Just ahead tonight: new voices in the Roman Polanski extradition saga and new outrage, as big-name celebrities stick up for a guy who admits to having sex with a 13-year-old before fleeing the country. Other sides to the debate, you will hear them tonight -- "Crime & Punishment."

And, later, "Up Close": A parent kidnaps her two kids, takes them to Japan illegally. When their American father tries to get them back, he gets arrested. Now he's in jail in Japan. Mom is free with the kids. How can this happen?

Find out tonight.


COOPER: Erica is following some of the other stories for us tonight. She joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Anderson, we begin with a tsunami advisory, which remains in effect for the coastal areas of California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and British Columbia tonight, with strong currents and waves possible.

That advisory of course stems from a magnitude 8 earthquake which struck near American Samoa before 7:00 a.m. local time, generating three tsunami ways and substantial damage. Now, CNN has confirmed reports of at least 17 deaths in American Samoa, but we are still working to confirm deaths in Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa.

Two U.S. troops killed today in the Philippines when their vehicle rolled over a land mine on the island of Jolo. Several Islamic groups, militant groups, are active in the region. The military says an investigation is under way.

An Afghan native accused of plotting to bomb a New York target pleading not guilty today to a terrorism charge at his arraignment. Najibullah Zazi was ordered held without bail at a hearing in Brooklyn federal court. Investigators say Zazi plotted to make bombs from household chemicals and made recent purchases at beauty supply stores in suburban Denver.

Toyota recalling nearly four million vehicles -- it is the largest recall ever -- because of problems with a removable floor mat. It turns out it could interfere with the accelerator and even cause a crash. The recall applies to several Toyota and Lexus models. And the American Girl doll collection adding a homeless doll. Like all American Girl dolls, Gwen Thompson does have a story. After her dad left, mom lost her job. The two ended up living in the family car. The company spokesperson says the doll is meant to teach tolerance, although there has been a lot of backlash, Anderson, because the doll still costs $95, like the other ones do.

The company has said, while the money from the doll isn't necessarily going to homeless causes, they have helped homeless organizations throughout the past years.

COOPER: Wait. The money's not going to -- to...

HILL: Not sales from this particular doll, but they mentioned I think it's some $500,000 has actually been donated to different homeless aid societies.

COOPER: Hmm. We will see. All right.

Up next: Martin Scorsese's plea to free Roman Polanski. The "Goodfellas" director isn't the only Hollywood heavyweight to rally behind Polanski, while others are furious that they would defend a man who, 32 years ago, raped a child. We will talk to Polanski's agent and Jeff Toobin.

Also tonight: a father's fight. His ex-wife steals his kid. Now he's the one behind bars -- the details of this outrageous story coming up.


COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight: the fate of Roman Polanski.

As you know, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker is under arrest in Switzerland, where he awaits possible extradition to the U.S. for the 1977 conviction of the rape of a 13-year-old girl. Polanski fled the country before sentencing.

Many people believe he should pay for his crime, but he has also many defenders, including some big names from Hollywood. Directors like Martin Scorsese Woody Allen have joined a petition demanding his release. Studio head Harvey Weinstein is also coming to Polanski's defense, he described as -- what he described as a terrible situation.

Jeff Berg is the -- the agent for Roman Polanski. He joins us now, along with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, thanks for being with us.

You spoke to his wife today. She told you that Polanski is in good spirits, anxious to be free. What do you say to critics who say that, no matter how much Polanski has done with his life since then, or how good his films are, that he committed a crime, and -- and he needs to face justice? JEFFREY BERG, AGENT FOR ROMAN POLANSKI: Well, he did face justice 32 years ago. He did enter a plea. He did serve time. He did acknowledge the allegations of the case.

The question is whether the deal that was made between his defense counsel and the district attorney and the court was honored. And it turns out that it was not. And the first people who will tell you that were the district attorneys who were actually on the case at the time and -- and Roman's defense counsel.

It is 32 years later. No one can unring the bell that happened. Roman has expressed remorse for that, but he was also convinced he was not going -- he was not going to get a straight deal in Santa Monica 32 years ago, which is why he left.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, what about that? I saw the documentary. I mean, it did seem as if the judge reneged on a plea deal that -- that they had arranged.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: But the way we challenge things in this legal system is, you show up and you challenge them.

I mean, Roman Polanski took off. He went to Paris. He's had a pretty nice life, a nice life for 30 years. The judge in the case last year who was hearing it said, you know, I think you're raising some interesting points, but I'm not going to hear any of this unless you show up in my courtroom.

And he didn't choose to do that. He took his chances, and he got arrested, which is how the system is supposed to work.

COOPER: Jeff Berg, what about that? Why not have him come back here, and -- and, you know, if there is a judge who is amenable to -- to hearing this, and -- and says he has some good points, why not let him be heard in court?

BERG: Well, there are specific matters of law being litigated right now that refer to whether or not a hearing can be held without his being in Los Angeles.

Roman's lawyers have been on this case for some time. There's a writ pending in the California court of appeals. And we find it troubling while that writ is pending, the government has picked him up in Switzerland, which, by the way, he has been living there for the last 12 years. His presence has been no global mystery to the D.A. or to anyone. In fact, he has a house there.

COOPER: Why do you think he was picked up now?

BERG: So, the question of -- well, that's a good question. And that's a mystery that I think is going to unfold, because the district attorney's office had advised Roman's lawyers that they had no interest in extraditing him. And Roman has been freely working in Europe over the last 32 years, in over seven different -- in over seven different countries. So it's confusing and ironic, while a writ is pending at the court of appeals, that he would be arrested, but the litigation has always been continuing on this case.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, does it make sense to you that, after 32 years, suddenly -- this guy has a house in Switzerland, why be pulled in now?

TOOBIN: Well, shame on the L.A. -- shame on the D.A.'s office for waiting this long, but I don't have any sympathy for Polanski for getting the benefit of all those years.

What the D.A. has said is that, because his presence was announced at a specific film festival, they knew precisely where and when he was going to be in Zurich. That's why they arrested him there.

But I mean, let's be clear. He's been a fugitive for all these years. Yes, he's been openly in countries where it's hard to get him, but he's a fugitive. And when you're a fugitive, you take your chances.

COOPER: Jeff Berg, what -- I mean, have you -- you haven't been able to talk to him. You've just talked to his wife, right?

BERG: No, Roman is incarcerated. I have not been able to reach out to him directly. I have spoken with his counsel in Zurich and in France along with his U.S. team. And I've spoken to his wife, Emmanuelle, several times in the last four or five days.

COOPER: How is she doing?

BERG: Well, she's very distraught over this, but she's encouraged that Roman is going to prevail in fighting the extradition. There -- there was -- there were documents filed today in Zurich, asking the court to visit the case, and we will be hearing back shortly. But until then, or until there's a bail proceeding, Roman is in jail.

COOPER: Jeff Berg, I appreciate your time tonight. Jeff Toobin, as well. Thanks very much. We'll continue to follow it.

In other news -- well, actually, before we get to some other news, we don't like to pat ourselves on the back too often, but tonight we'll make an exception. Apparently, the new CNN application for the iPhone is the No. 1 new paid app in the Apple store. It's a pretty cool new feature. At least, we like to think so.

Erica Hill has a little show and tell -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, meet the CNN iPhone app. This, I should point out, is a simulator. So it might be a little bit different from what you see on your iPhone. It still gives you a good idea of what's available.

Of course, you're going to have plenty of news available to you, because this is CNN. But you can do more than just read through the headlines of the day. You can actually follow stories that you're interested in and get continuous updates on them.

Say you're interested in the hikers who have been detained in Iran. You want to keep following developments out of Iran. A little feature here. All you have to do after -- you're on a story you're interested in, hit "follow topic," and it will add it to "my CNN."

What you're going to do under "my CNN," you look at the stories you're following. You're going to get updates on Iran. You can follow what's happening out of Chicago. There's also a local feature under "my CNN," which gives you your weather, your traffic, and local news. So you're constantly up to date.

And because we're CNN, we've got plenty of video for you, including, hey, maybe you want to see "The Shot" again from last night. We can do that for you. This is the CNN iPhone app. There's almost nothing it can't do.

And when you see something happening, you can also send us an iReport right from your iPhone. So for less than 2 bucks, you have the power of CNN in the palm of your hand.

COOPER: Less than 2 bucks, $1.99. I mean, you can't afford not to get it. Am I right?


COOPER: Thank you. None of us actually have iPhones, so we're going to have to buy an iPhone. But, you know, we'll do that. We'll do that.

Coming up, did an American father abduct his own kids or is his ex-wife the real criminal? Tonight, we'll take a closer look at this explosive custody fight.

Plus, false hope. A company promises to help unemployed workers get good jobs. Sounds good, right? But now, it's accused of stealing their money blind. It's tonight's "Keeping Them Honest" report.


COOPER: Up close tonight. An international custody battle has left an American dad in a foreign jail and his fugitive ex-wife being called a victim. In the middle are two kids, 7,000 miles from home.

This bitter story began earlier in year in Tennessee where Christopher Savoie divorced his first wife, Noriko, a Japanese native. Now, as part of that divorce agreement, Noriko said she would live close to the couple's 8-year-old son, Isaac, and 6-year-old daughter, Rebecca. She was allowed to take the kids with her to Japan for the summer. They returned to America, and she continued to have visitation rights.

But then, just a couple weeks ago, on the first day of class, Isaac and Rebecca did not show up at school after spending the weekend with their mom. Christopher called her ex-wife's father in Japan, who told him, "Don't worry. They're here in Japan."

Now, at the time, Christopher spoke to a local TV reporter. Watch.


CHRISTOPHER SAVOIE, ARRESTED IN JAPAN: He'll never be on the ball field again. You know, the one thing you can't ever get back. You know, they could give me money. They could give me anything, but they can't take back time.


COOPER: So Christopher alerted police, who issued an arrest warrant for Noriko. He was also granted full custody of his kids.

Now, he thought Japan would have to give his kids back to him. That's not what happened. See, Japan is not a party to an international agreement on child abductions. Believing the system had failed him, Christopher decided to take matters into his own hands. He flew to Japan, and as his two kids were walking to school yesterday morning, he put them in his car and drove off.

Japanese police called it a kidnapping. They arrested him as he was about to enter the U.S. consulate. Christopher Savoie was charged with abduction of minors. If convicted, he could be sentenced to five years in prison, and right now his kids are with their mother, and he sits in a jail cell.

Joining me now, Christopher's current wife, Amy Savoie, and his attorney, Jeremy Morley.

Amy, have you been able to talk to Christopher? How is he doing? How is he being treated?

AMY SAVOIE, CHRISTOPHER'S WIFE: I know he had to go to the hospital for blood pressure issues. The gentleman from the consulate was able to contact me this morning, and he confirmed that Christopher had gone to the hospital. The first night he needed medication for his high blood pressure.

COOPER: Did -- did Christopher ever think that his ex-wife would be capable of doing something like this?

A. SAVOIE: I was on a speaker phone, telephone call once when she proclaimed to him, "You have no idea what I'm capable of," so, yes. He had the idea.

COOPER: Jeremy, how serious is the situation Christopher's in right now?

JEREMY MORLEY, CHRISTOPHER'S ATTORNEY: He's in a very serious situation. He's in -- he's in jail. He could stay there for a long time. He's seen the prosecutor's office this morning, and I'm very worried about him. His chances of getting his children back home to the states, I think, are pretty slim right now. COOPER: Because there's not this extradition, or why? Do they not take ...

MORLEY: So many reasons. There's -- there's no extradition. She has committed a felony, the mother. It's a very serious felony. She would go to jail for serious time if she were here.

But Japan has a different legal system and a different set of customs and ideas about custody. And their idea is that somebody who is Japanese and the mother should be entitled to have the kids and have the kids alone. The fact that they were living here is kind of irrelevant, and the fact that there's a court order here is irrelevant.

COOPER: When the kids were first taken, did you -- did you think that, well, this would just resolve itself, you know, through legal means? That this would just -- you know, once authorities kind of figured out what was going on, that this would just get resolved?

A. SAVOIE: No, because we had -- well, Christopher had knowledge of many fathers who have suffered for years, not being able to see their children, basically being told by their ex-wives, "If you send us $10,000, maybe the children will send you a Christmas card this year." And the gentlemen would pay the $10,000, and they don't get a Christmas card.

This is a problem in the case of international abduction stories, and a lot of Japanese fathers are not able to see their children either, in Japan.

COOPER: Jeremy, what happens now? I mean, is this woman going to get away with this?

MORLEY: She, as far as the Japanese court system is concerned, she'll get away with it.

COOPER: As long as she stays in Japan.

MORLEY: She will do what a lot -- what a lot of the mothers do when they go back home to Japan. She will stay there for the rest of her life. If she flies out, she'll be subject to arrest at any international airport. We're getting this in the hands of Interpol. We're putting the pressure. We want diplomatic pressure. We want the United States government to act strongly.

COOPER: Any chance they may just release Christopher?

MORLEY: They need to release Christopher if he's not -- they need to release Christopher. And there is a chance that they will do so.

This is a family issue, and they're presenting it as a criminal issue. And it should be seen as an issue between families, and somebody needs to sort this out.

These kids are the ones that are suffering. These kids are without their father, and they need to -- their father needs to be a part of their life. It's not far that he's been taken away from them.

COOPER: Amy, this program is seen internationally on CNN Japan. Any message you want to send to -- to people in Japan, to the family involved?

A. SAVOIE: I would like to know if young fathers at the age of 24 who were brought up without a father, now maybe they're married, now maybe they're fathers themselves. And is that tweaking any emotion in them? Was the absence of a father not detrimental in any way?

The United Nations would not say that it's -- that it's an insignificant loss. They would say it's a significant loss.

COOPER: Well, Amy Savoie, I know this has got to be just a nightmare for you. We'll continue to follow it. We wish you the best, and Jeremy Morley, as well. Thank you very much.

MORLEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Tomorrow, health-care confusion. How insurance companies make it so difficult knowing what's covered and what's not. Here's a preview.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you look at all of this, what do you think about the insurance industry in this country?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not here to help.

I have a personal experience. I was ready to start a new job. I went ice skating, the Rustin (ph) Town Center with my two kids, and I fell and got a compound fracture here. I mean, you know, hanging down.

They said to wait a call days for the swelling to go down before they could do surgery. I think the hospital bill, the doctor and whatnot was like around $80,000. And by the time I was ready for the third surgery, I had heard from the insurance company that it was a pre-existing condition.

FOREMAN: That a broken wrist...?


COOPER: From the fine print to all the paperwork, we'll take a closer look at this growing problem tomorrow in our "Keeping Them Honest" report.

Next, preying on the unemployed. Hundreds of people may have each paid thousands of dollars for jobs that never existed. How could that happen? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And talk about a scary stunt. Check this out, a man dangling from cables on an Ohio bridge. He's fine. We'll tell you how he got there, ahead.


COOPER: In Minneapolis today, the attorney general filed a lawsuit against a company called the Arthur Group, charging it with operating a scam targeting out-of-work Minnesotans. But this wasn't just any run-of-the-mill job scam. This one targeted former executives, people who shouldn't be an easy mark. And as you're about to see, selling hope to people who should know better. It's not necessarily a hard sell, not in this economy.

Drew Griffin tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're an out- of-work executive, desperate and searching for a job, hope was being sold through these doors and up the elevators to the top floor. What appeared to be the most successful executive recruiting company in the Midwest.

MIKE MYSER, UNEMPLOYED EXECUTIVE: Had about 20 plus senior executive jobs listed on CareerBuilder.

GRIFFIN: Mike Myser just needed one. Out of work, caring for his father with dementia, the former vice president of a technology firm had quit to start a new business, but the economic downturn ended the business before it started.

So Myser went to and was surprised. One executive recruiting company right in Minneapolis, the Arthur Group, was bucking the market and had plenty of jobs. Myser says the man who owned the Arthur Group actually told him his search was over.

MYSER: They've had 100 percent placement.

GRIFFIN (on camera): A hundred percent?

MYSER: This is what he told me.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): On January 13, Myser took the bait. The owner of the company at the top floor of this building talked him out of $3,000. Months later, Myser would learn, it was all a sham.

(on camera) This is all that's left of the Arthur Group. Court summons. File a complaint about the Arthur Group.

And the jobs that you had hoped for, saw, brought you to this company in the first place, either didn't exist altogether or were no longer available.

MYSER: I believe -- yes. I believe they never existed.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Ex-employees tell us it was all designed to ensnare the highly-paid, high-executive wage earners. Those, you might say, at the top of the business world food chain. PAT POWERS, FORMER V.P. WITH ARTHUR GROUP: So, yes, you create this illusion that there's a bunch of jobs, but then the screening is nothing about the jobs. The screening is about, is this guy going to be a good candidate, a nice victim to spend $3,000 or $4,000 on resume and interview training?

GRIFFIN: Pat Powers, who worked at the Arthur Group as a salesman, says the victims were easy to find. Minneapolis had plenty of out-of-work executives who were reeled into the 12th floor office by fake jobs posted online. Mike Emerson admits he, too, was duped.

MIKE EMERSON, UNEMPLOYED EXECUTIVE: It really kind of played to my ego. You know, he really told me that, you know, I was one of the best candidates that he'd seen of my type in the last couple months. He could guarantee that he could find me a job over the next three, four months.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Guarantee?

EMERSON: Guaranteed.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The man who guaranteed all those jobs lives just outside of Minneapolis in this secluded home. On the two days we knocked on his door, the house seemed vacant. The man who lives there is Barry Trimble, the man who ran the Arthur Group.

(on camera) Barry, how are you?

(voice-over) Ever the salesman, he called me back to commend me for my, quote, "diligence" in trying to find him but declined an interview.

Instead, he sent this statement, saying the "Arthur Group was established to assist employers in finding new employees. We also provided services to improve certain candidates' materials and presentation skills." The statement says, "The Arthur Group was not immune to the difficult economic times."

It turns out Trimble was involved in something similar before. In 2005, he paid $75,000 for his role with a different job placement firm that the Minnesota attorney general successfully sued and shut down. He's also served 45 days in jail in 1996 after pleading guilty to a sex offense.

(on camera) You're a sharp guy, executive. How did it happen? How did it happen?

MYSER: I knew you were going to ask that, Drew, and of course, I ask myself that.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Arthur Group employees who spoke to CNN say Barry Trimble could have taken in as much as $3 million over the last three years from people who should have known better, literally, selling them hope for jobs that didn't exist.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Minneapolis. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Taking money from people who are unemployed.

The Minnesota attorney general says the Arthur Group used to find potential victims. In a statement, CareerBuilder said it would not discuss any specific client interactions but pointed out the site warns people using it to be cautious and provides a mechanism to report suspicious activity.

Coming up next, breaking news. Major new developments to tell you about in the tragedy unfolding in the South Pacific. First the quake, now a tsunami, now action from Washington. We have the latest.

And a reality show shocker. Big announcement about "Jon & Kate Plus 8". One hint: there will soon only be nine stars in the show. Here's another hint, Ed Hardy cannot be happy.


COOPER: A couple other stories for you tonight. Let's get an update in the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, we begin with breaking news. Just moments ago, President Obama declaring American Samoa a major disaster area. A magnitude 8.0 quake hit nearby today, leading to tsunamis that caused major damage and death for the American territory and in nearby Samoa. That declaration makes federal funds available to victims of the disaster.

For the first time in years, a senior American diplomat has held high-level talks with the Cuban government. The State Department says the diplomat discussed the possibility of restoring direct mail service between Cuba and the U.S., and then extended her stay to talk about various other issues with Cuban officials.

In Toledo, Ohio, a man arrested after he climbs a bridge, stopping traffic. You can see him there on the cables. It actually happened over the weekend, but we're just getting the video in.

The man almost fell several times. At one point, he was actually swinging from the cables. Rescue crews, though, were able to get him down safely.

And starting in November, it's just "Kate Plus 8." There's no more Jon...

COOPER: No, no!

HILL: I know. Do you need a moment?

COOPER: That's OK.

HILL: The new season of the TLC hit won't feature much of Jon Gosselin. Instead, the focus will be squarely on Kate's new life as a single mom. The Gosselins, of course, if you're been living under a rock, are divorcing after ten years of marriage.

COOPER: He had -- I read he had some clothing line for Ed Hardy for kids. I wonder if that now scuttles the deal.

HILL: I don't know.

COOPER: Because without this show, he's just, you know...

HILL: He does still have the kids, though. Does that give him street cred as a designer for children's clothing?

COOPER: I don't know. I'm not sure how much street cred he had.

For tonight's -- tonight's "Shot," I give you the naked city. Pretty normal here in New York, where some guy buys a taco from a food stand with only a pouch to cover his nooks and crannies.

HILL: Sure.

COOPER: That's really what you want to see at a food cart. As if food carts on the streets of New York aren't dirty enough.

HILL: Weren't dirty enough.

COOPER: He calls himself the world's fastest nudist. He has his own Web site apparently.

HILL: Who doesn't?

COOPER: He says he holds over 400 nude speed records, whatever that means.

HILL: Did he invent that term? I feel like he must have.

COOPER: And he listens to Bare Naked Ladies.

This stuff did not faze New Yorkers. Believe me, we have all seen much worse than this. I won't get at that right now.

HILL: Now, it's probably better not to.

COOPER: Yes. But there it is. Who really wants to -- and at a food cart. I mean, come on!

HILL: Seriously?

COOPER: At a food cart? Really?

HILL: Seriously?

COOPER: Really? With condiments and things that go on the taco, I mean, really? You know, I don't want to see that.

You can see all the most recent "Shots" on our Web site at, and you can probably download it on that new fancy app we have on iPhone, $1.99. HILL: You just might be able to.

COOPER: Incredible. Incredible stuff.

HILL: I think our job as salespeople is done.

COOPER: Does it work on the blackberry yet? I've got to get...

HILL: Sadly, no.

COOPER: Well, I've got to get one of those iPhones.

Serious stuff at the top of the hour. The death and possible resurrection of a major piece of health-care reform and director Michael Moore. We'll talk to him. He's now saying he's going to campaign against Democrats who don't vote for what he calls real health-care reform. We'll talk about him, ahead.