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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Penn State Assistant Coach Speaks Out

Aired November 15, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone.

Tonight as more accusers come forward there is breaking news in Penn State child sex abuse scandal and a 360 exclusive as well.

The breaking news, assistant coach Mike McQueary speaking out for first time about the child rape he says he witnessed as a graduate assistant back in 2002 allegedly at the hands of retired coach Jerry Sandusky. He's been e-mailing former teammates telling them the grand jury got it wrong when it concluded he did nothing to stop the abuse.

Quote, "I did the right thing. You guys know me." And quote, "The truth is not out there fully. I didn't just turn and run. I made sure it stopped." And quote, "I had to make quick, tough decisions."

That e-mail dated last Tuesday obtained by NBC News. And here's what he told CBS News' Armen Keteyian today.


ARMEN KETEYIAN, CBS NEWS: Do you have any idea when you think you might be ready to talk?

MIKE MCQUEARY, ASSISTANT COACH, PENN STATE FOOTBALL: This process has to play out. I just don't have anything else to say.

KETEYIAN: OK. And then just one last thing. Just describe your emotions right now.

MCQUEARY: All over the place. Just kind of shaken.


MCQUEARY: Crazy. Yes.

KETEYIAN: You said what, like a?

MCQUEARY: Snow globe.


COOPER: Now, the exclusive only on 360, the first clear answer to how Penn State has been able to put up a virtual wall of silence about what Jerry Sandusky allegedly did to one of the kids from his Second Mile charity back in 1998. Victim 6's allegations triggered a multiagency investigation that somehow ended both without charges and without any knowledge of the part on Penn State head coach Joe Paterno.

Turns out the wall is a legal one. It allows Penn State, which is a taxpayer funded public university, to lawfully keep things from the public, possibly including some very pertinent facts about what did or didn't happen to children inside this athletic building and others.

Facts about what university officials including Joe Paterno did or didn't know and whether anyone tried to cover things up.

Drew Griffin has got that. He joins us shortly.

First, what Sandusky and his attorney is saying now about the charges, 40 of them so far, alleging a 25-year pattern of serial child sex abuse. Sandusky spoke out for the first time last night to NBC's Bob Costas.


BOB COSTAS, NBC NEWS: What did happen in the shower the night that Mike McQueary happened upon you and the young boy?

JERRY SANDUSKY, ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ABUSING EIGHT BOYS: OK. We were showering and horsing around. And he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor, and we were -- as I recall, possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay.


COOPER: Now here's what he said to the logical and very direct follow-up.


COSTAS: Are you a pedophile?


COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?

SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?


SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted -- you know, I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. I -- I -- but no, I'm not sexually attracted to young boys.


COOPER: Many question, well, the tone, the delayed denial, Sandusky sounds like a man under a lot of strain. Here's what Sandusky's lawyer said about his defense especially in the alleged 2002 rape.


JOSEPH AMENDOLA, JERRY SANDUSKY'S ATTORNEY: We expect we're going to have a number of kids -- now how many of those so-called eight kids, we're not sure. But we anticipate we're going to have at least several of those kids come forward and say, this never happened. This is me. This is the allegation. It never occurred.

In fact, one of the -- one of the toughest allegations that McQueary violations, what McQueary said he saw, we have information that that child says that never happened.


COOPER: Well, that, of course, remains to be seen. And so does Coach McQueary's claim in his e-mail that he tried to stop what he says he saw that day in the shower. What's on the record is what the grand jury report says, that Jerry Sandusky was seen raping a 10-year- old boy. The report goes on to say that McQueary first spoke with his father, then Joe Paterno, then top university officials.

It was then that Paterno says he learned about the 1998 investigation of his friend and former protegee Jerry Sandusky. Our fruitless efforts to verify his claim that he knew nothing back then are what led us to uncover this wrinkle in Pennsylvania's Public Disclosure Law that apparently let Penn State avoid answering our questions and dodge public accountability.

Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit joins us from campus with more on that.

So, Drew, the question we've been trying to get to is who knew what and when, and especially whether in 1998 when his own defensive coordinator was being intensely investigated by multiple agencies, if Joe Paterno knew, the university police, the college state police, child services, were investigating Jerry Sandusky for alleged child molestation. There are records that point to that in university files, aren't there?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: Should be. That type of information commonly found in usual public records accessible, Anderson, at a public institution on who knew what and when. But as you pointed out, Penn State and three other schools in this state granted an exemption to releasing records.

Just put this in perspective, Anderson. In 2007, 2008 there was another investigation into more allegations against Sandusky and the state's new Open Records chief says that was the exact time that Penn State, specifically Penn State's president, went to the legislature to make sure their records would be kept secret.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TERRY MUTCHLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PENNSYLVANIA OPEN RECORDS: What that means in essence is that while every other commonwealth agency, governor's office, police departments, townships, school districts, are subject to this law and would be required to provide public record, Penn State is exempt.

That came as a result of a series of lobbying efforts through the House of Representatives that was taking a look at rewriting Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law, which was really among the worst in the nation. And at that juncture, the president of Penn State was one of the key lobbyists testifying before the House Committee on -- I believe it was August 7th, 2007 seeking an exemption for Penn State.


COOPER: So, Drew, do we know why the president of Penn State wanted this exemption that was around the time of this investigation?

GRIFFIN: We know what Graham Spanier told the legislature. He was concerned, he said, about costs, about compliance, about competitive reasons for keeping records. Also privacy. But I asked Terry Mutchler of the Open Record Act Office if she thinks the real reason was to hide a damaging investigation? And here's what she said.


MUTCHLER: I think that view would be shared by many Open Records advocates. What you have to keep in mind is, is that if you were at any of the police departments in the commonwealth, you know, incident reports are in fact available under the Right to Know law.

Penn State, because it enjoys, along with Temple, Pitt, Lincoln and -- you know, this exception, they are not subject.


COOPER: So the exemption to release the records doesn't mean they can't just release it. Isn't there any one on that campus willing to open the records to show, you know, what they knew, who knew what and when?

GRIFFIN: Yes. You're spot on, Anderson. They could if they wanted to, but when we went to try to find those records, literally going to detectives' homes who were involved in this, to the school, to the police department, instead of getting any records, we were sent this letter.

This is from the university attorney denying us any access to these records based solely on the exemption Penn State has. In fact, the current police chief of the university, he wouldn't even come out and talk to us in person. He was just behind a wall, we could hear him, but over the phone telling us that everyone at his department would not answer a single question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRIFFIN: Right, and you know, they're not telling us anything. You can imagine my frustration. Usually we go to a police department and we get public records every single place I've ever been to. And that's what I don't understand particularly about -- particularly about Penn State because these records that are normally available at seemingly every police department I've ever been to in the United States of America. They're not released here, which would answer a lot of our questions.


GRIFFIN: Didn't answer a single question, Anderson. The Open Records chief in this state says no doubt if this were anywhere but Penn State, the public would know who knew what and when.


MUTCHLER: Let's just -- you know, do a flat comparison. If this were an investigation involving another university, say East Stroudsburg University that did have a scandal at its doorstep, they were subject to the Right to Know law. You were able to obtain in that situation e-mails, copies of incident reports of the police department. Any kind of policies that came out with the board of trustees, that would all be available. At Penn State, however, that's off limits.


GRIFFIN: Anderson, I do want to point out we did place a call to the home of the former president of Penn State, Graham Spanier. Like almost everyone else here, he is not talking -- Anderson.

COOPER: So I want to bring in our legal panel, Drew. Our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, also former prosecutor Sunny Hostin, legal contributor for "In Session" on truTV. And defense attorney Mark Geragos.

So, Jeff, what do you make of this? The fact that they lobbied to have these records kept private.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, universities like corporations, like governments, never need an excuse to want more secrecy. And they had an opportunity to make things secret and they took it whether --

COOPER: But it's a public institution.

TOOBIN: It is, but -- you know, so is the government and the government, you know, fights disclosure all the time. I mean this is just the natural reaction of people who can get away with secrecy when they can, they do.

COOPER: And this is important, Sunny, because if these record -- if we had access to these records, we could know a lot more about these allegations against Sandusky and what investigations were actually done who knew. SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION" ON TRUTV: Right. I mean, there's no question about it. The public wants to know. And I think the public should know. But certainly I think we should mention that we -- that law enforcement authorities are privy to this information. It's always my understanding when you're talking about the Freedom of Information.

But you know, sex abuse thrives -- especially child sex abuse -- on secrecy and embarrassment and privacy. And I think that is what is so scary about Penn State's position in this because it allowed, I think, for these types of things to happen.

COOPER: Mark, I want to play some of Sandusky's interview with NBC News with Bob Costas last night. Let's listen.


SANDUSKY: I could say that, you know, I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their leg without intent of sexual contact, but -- so if you look at it that way, there are things that -- that wouldn't -- you know, would be accurate.


COOPER: Mark, why do you think he's making this statement now? Especially with specifics like touched their leg, which is what others -- what other young people have come forward and said that Sandusky did to them even if there wasn't abuse involved.

Why do you think he's saying this now?

MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, there's one explanation. I can just say if this were my client I would have hit him over the head with a 2 by 4 prior to him trying to get on the air.

But having said that, it does cut both ways in this sense. This is one of the supersized cases. They are under a tidal wave of presumption of guilt, so they're trying something unorthodox. And this is clearly unorthodox, and trying to stop that somehow. I guess they figure -- and this is the only explanation I can come up with -- if we get something out there, this is a way the prosecutors may use it as you've seen all the people wall-to-wall using it today with his hesitation -- if they use it at trial, maybe he doesn't have to take the stand, he doesn't have to be cross-examined.

That's, I guess, the explanation for it. It is somewhat puzzling, I give you that.

COOPER: Jeff, I didn't understand when Sandusky's attorney has said -- and he said it a couple of times -- that he believes some of these eight victims who are identified as victims in the grand jury report, that he believes they will come forward saying nothing happened.

TOOBIN: Well, that is certainly surprising given the grand jury report because presumably, although they are only identified by number in the grand jury report, they have been interviewed. Some of them, as far as I'm aware, I think perhaps particularly the one in the shower with McQueary, I don't think the authorities know who that is at this point.

So there may be some confusion about that. But I guess they are counting on the fact that Sandusky says, go ahead, ask this kid whether it happened and he'll say no. I'd be surprised if that were the case because obviously the government would have already spoken to them. But I mean, it is kind of baffling.

COOPER: Sunny, by not reporting this in 2002, the alleged incident that happened in 2002, to police, is the university liable here?

HOSTIN: I think so. I think there's certainly civil exposure. And we're going to see a wave of lawsuits. I think everyone will agree with me.

TOOBIN: Enormous. Enormous.

HOSTIN: It's going to happen. My hope, though, is that what comes out of this, Anderson, is that there will be tightening of regulations, that there'll be protocols put in place, that people will start talking about these issues. Because again people don't want to talk about them.

People are so uncomfortable, but that enables these predators and these pedophiles to continue doing business as usual. And we have to put a stop to it. If you see something, you have to say something.

COOPER: Mark, more alleged victim of Sandusky are now coming forward. The "New York Times" saying 10 new claims of sexual abuse. Sandusky is clearly saying he didn't abuse anyone. I mean what kind of defense can he mount in court against increasing claims? I guess do you take them one by one?

GERAGOS: Well, look, first of all, when we start talking about people as predators and everything else, that assumes guilt. I just want to start off with, look, all of -- all this is is a grand jury or the testimony that's been filtered by the prosecution that was supposedly in front of a grand jury that was not cross-examined, that there was nothing else in there except their presentation. So before we start assuming all of these things, let's just take a deep breath.

There -- in terms of a defense, they've already started this defense. And you've seen kind of them roll it out already. And I would not be so sure that the person who claims that he saw something in that shower, he's already starting to equivocate. If they come up with somebody who was in that shower and said that was me and nothing happened, then you're going to tart to see the focus shift to why did this guy McQueary say all of these things?

You know we -- I know it's easy and it's great to jump on the bandwagon here, but remember, this is nothing more than the prosecution presenting allegations. There will be a judge at some point that will tell a jury, you can tear this document up. It has no meaning whatsoever.

HOSTIN: Are we to assume, though, Mark --

GERAGOS: And so before we start saying -- before we start saying, we've got victims, because victim is a legally charged term, meaning that somebody is guilty, we've got complaining witnesses, we've got a prosecution document. Why don't we just hold off for a second and see what we really have here once it's tested by cross- examination?

COOPER: I mean, he -- Mark, again, you did this last night. You raised this very valid points because there have been plenty of cases, and again, the McMartin preschool which Mark mentioned last night.

HOSTIN: That's like comparing apples to orangutans --


COOPER: In that case you had --

HOSTIN: That's a very different case.

COOPER: How many charges were -- how many accounts, there were 60.

TOOBIN: Dozens. And it was a whole --

HOSTIN: That's a very different case. That's a very different, everyone. Let's be honest.

GERAGOS: It wasn't a very different case.

HOSTIN: It is a very different.

GERAGOS: That was a case that involved --

HOSTIN: We're talking about child interviews suggestibility. That is very different, Mark, from eight victims --

COOPER: But the defense --

TOOBIN: We don't know. We don't know --

HOSTIN: Including adults coming forward.

COOPER: No. No. But you -- you're -- that's --

GERAGOS: What we've --

COOPER: That's based on what you would know now. I mean the defense can very well allege the same thing is happening here.


HOSTIN: This is a very different case. You can't compare the two. COOPER: Jeff? Jeff?

HOSTIN: You can't compare to Michael Jackson either.

TOOBIN: I think you can -- I think you can compare them in -- as you look forward to see what might happen. I mean, this is what a good defense attorney can do. A good defense attorney can say, wait a minute, as Mark is doing, let's wait for the evidence to come in. We have seen false charges in these cases before. That is a very appropriate thing for a defense attorney to say.

Putting your client out, admitting to being in the shower is nuts. I don't know why he did that. I mean there was a reasonable role for a defense attorney here, but this was not reasonable.

COOPER: We've got to end it there. Jeff, Mark Geragos, always good to have you. Sunny as well. Try to get a lot of different -- a lot of different viewpoints on this program.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, on Google Plus, add us to your circle. Follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting tonight.

Up next, more on the story. Why this scandal has taken over the headlines? Why it's being seen as such a betrayal far beyond the confines of college sports. Perspective from Christine Brennan and Buzz Bissinger, author of "Friday Night Lights."

Later "Raw Politics." Herman Cain repeating some pretty amazing claims about Muslims in America being extremists. We're going to tell you what he said and show you what the facts say. Let's first check in with Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, after months coming out in a Lower Manhattan park, a judge rules against "Occupy Wall Street." But as you can see from these pictures protesters aren't exactly going away. So what happens next? That and much when 360 continues.


COOPER: So far tonight you've heard Jerry Sandusky describe what happened in a shower with a 10-year-old as horseplay. His lawyer says it's what jocks do. And you saw Mike McQueary who witnessed it try to retroactively redefine "Call my father" as I stepped in and stopped it when talking about what he did.

Well, tonight, breaking news. The Associated Press is now reporting that he's also claiming -- McQueary is also claiming by e- mail that he actually went to police. He's also speaking for the first on -- time on camera since this story broke 10 days ago. Here's an exchange with CBS' Armen Keteyian.


KETEYIAN: Do you have any idea when you think you might be ready to talk? MCQUEARY: This process has to play out. I just don't have anything else to say.

KETEYIAN: OK. And then just one last thing. Just describe your emotions right now.

MCQUEARY: All over the place. Just kind of shaken.



KETEYIAN: You said what, like a?

MCQUEARY: Snow globe.


COOPER: Again, now, if this new report by the AP is correct, then McQueary has claimed in an e-mail that he actually went to police, that would be a significant change in -- up until now what -- what was in the grand jury report and what many people were led to believe. There was no indication up until this e-mail from McQueary that the AP is reporting that McQueary had gone to the police.

We don't know the details in this. Obviously, now that we -- have this, we're going to try to check police records, if possible. But as we just saw with Drew Griffin, we're not getting anywhere really with campus police.

It's not clear, too, if he went to campus police or city police or state police. Again, we'll try to follow up with more information on that.

A jury's going to decide, obviously, Sandusky's claim. You can decide whether or not to believe McQueary's story. Safe to say coaches are not supposed to horse around naked in showers with unaccompanied minors if that's all it was. And if it was more, then bystanders especially young athletic bystanders are supposed to protect kids against naked elderly predators, period. No questions about it.

Head coaches are supposed to live up to their high-flown moral code. And public universities are supposed to be open with the public. Not these days.

Christine Brennan is writing about it in the pages of "USA Today." Plus Buzz Bissinger, for "Newsweek", the "Daily Beast", and "Vanity Fair." He's also the award-winning author of "Friday Night Lights."

Appreciate both of you being with us.

Christine, there's a report from CBS News citing the Associated Press, quote, "In the e-mail dated November 8th from McQueary's Penn State account and made available to the Associated Press by his friend on Tuesday, the assistant coach writes that he stopped the sexual assault and discussed it with police afterward."

That is clearly a big disconnect from what we've heard before which is in the grand jury report that McQueary didn't go to police. What did you make of this?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA TODAY SPORTS COLUMNIST: Clearly McQueary has been, you know, hit with a load of bricks here. I'm sure he's as shocked as anybody at how this exploded, I'm sure everyone at Penn State because of that cocoon they were living in. The thing that we've been describing, Anderson, in the story.

I'm not siding with him at all. But I think that this is a classic example of this sequestered new reality world of college football. All of a sudden being bombarded by real life, thankfully in this case, and now McQueary, whether he's changing his story, whether he remembered new things, but I'm sure that this is his reaction to the unbelievable firestorm that accurately has occurred here over the last 10 days or so.

COOPER: Buzz, you heard the brief exchange that CBS had that Armen Keteyian had with Mike McQueary. There's also this e-mail which obtain by NBC in which McQueary is telling former teammates that contrary to the grand jury report he did intervene, stop Sandusky's alleged rape of a young boy in a locker room shower.

What do you make of the -- of the inconsistency?

BUZZ BISSINGER, NEWSWEEK COLUMNIST: It's bad. I think it's bad. I mean I am ceaselessly amazed at the stupidity that comes out of Happy Valley and State College, whether it's the judge, whether it's Sandusky, whether it's his lawyer and now McQueary because now there's inconsistencies.

And the one thing that made this case different from other sexual abuse minor cases was you had an adult eyewitness. And now he has managed to put himself in an inconsistent situation. We all know what defense attorneys do. They grab a herring and they go with it and they go with it.

And I don't know why the attorney general or someone said, Mike, it's hard for you. Don't e-mail. Shot up about this. It is amazing because I thought Sandusky yesterday, I thought that performance was arrogant, remorseless, and one of the creepiest, most disgusting performances I've ever seen. I could feel and see him even though we only heard him over the phone.

COOPER: Christine, do you have the same reaction?

BRENNAN: I did. I couldn't believe it. And it's the outrage of him saying that this happens, you know, this is a football -- and his attorney as well, Anderson, saying this happens in all football locker rooms. With 10-year-old boys? Are you kidding me? It should never happen. And that alone seems to be the reason they should clean house at Penn State if this kind of nonsense was occurring. But yes --

COOPER: I've never heard of coaches -- I mean I was -- I was in college. I never heard of coaches showering with players, period.


COOPER: Never let -- not even -- I mean, players with, you know, adult or close to being adult players, not -- you know, 10-year-old kids. That's not even -- that's not even a question.

BISSINGER: I mean, not to me.

Christine, how many locker rooms have you been in? A lot more than I've been in. I've never seen it. I've never seen it in professional clubhouses. I've never seen it. This idea that towel snapping is normal for a guy in his 50s to be towel snapping with a 10-year-old?

I mean, Sandusky, get a life.

What he is trying to do -- he is trying to woo and coo us and convince us just like he did woo and coo these victims. And I am convinced. I've read a lot of grand jury reports in my life. I won a Pulitzer Prize for investigating the Philadelphia court system. I have never seen a grand jury report like this. And I am sick and tired of defense attorneys saying it's allegations, it's this.

Sandusky basically incriminated himself anyway. Naked showers, towel snapping, horseplay, what the hell was inadvertent touching of a leg? How does that happen and what does that mean?

COOPER: Christine, you were talking about this sort of closed atmosphere of college sports. Explain that a little bit to somebody who hasn't been in a big school like Penn State or with a big program like this. I mean, how powerful are they on a campus?

BRENNAN: Oh, I think more powerful than the police, probably than the governor. Often we're talking about small towns, Anderson, with these football programs that loom so large not only in the area but also in the nation. And the coaches, the fiefdom, the hierarchy here is unlike anything else.

You talked football, we talk about religion, talk about war and the military, and I think there's a lot of similarities there in terms of the structure and the head coach is king. And especially someone like Joe Paterno who's just this untouchable god to, like, a grad assistant like McQueary and all of these people. So they go and shut themselves off from the rest of the world in July, early August for practice. They have their season.

And then after the bowl games in January, they kind of come up for air. And this is a world where -- I'm sure that McQueary thought in the original -- the grand jury version of McQueary's statements going to Joe Paterno on a day off, going to his house, I'm sure McQueary thought that was way above and beyond what someone would do, because in this case McQueary is probably thinking Paterno is more important than the police.

COOPER: Buzz, what about Penn State? I mean what should be done at this point beyond -- I mean obviously there's a lot of details we don't know about, the full story has yet to emerge. But what do you -- what do you think needs to happen?


BISSINGER: Well, I think the problem is --

COOPER: Go ahead.

BISSINGER: And you cited in -- you cited in your report, you cannot get the Pennsylvania state police report on the 1998 incident. By the way, it took five years of constant FOIs to get Joe Paterno's football salary. Five years until the State Supreme Court ruled -- because Penn State fought it -- that it was public record.

This is what you're dealing with. You are dealing with an institution that, when it comes to football, is arrogant, imperious and a closed shop. And I mean this. As I said in my "Daily Beast" piece, it is the Code of Omerta at its worst. They were never going to turn in one of their own.

McQueary was scared to death. Christine makes a great point. In his going to Joe Paterno's house, that is like visiting god. I'm convinced that Paterno knew in 1998 and everyone clammed it up because it's football and they closed ranks. That's what they do. Not just the Penn State, every major college program.

COOPER: Christine, you agree that Paterno probably knew in 1998? Because it's hard to imagine so many groups investigating this guy who's so close to him without somebody informing him?

BRENNAN: He either knew and covered it up or didn't know and he was completely clueless about what was going on in his football locker room and the showers, in his program. And either way it's reprehensible. But yes, Sandusky, '99, prime of his career, 55 years old, suddenly retires, never heard from again. One of the great assistant coaches never mentioned for another job, a head coaching job around the country.

COOPER: Doesn't make sense.

BRENNAN: Yes. What is that? And I think we need these answers and that obviously is a big part of this story yet to come. The behavior of these -- of these coaches even -- of course, we know there -- we feel there's criminal behavior. Even if there's not, they're leaders of young men.

COOPER: Right.

BRENNAN: They're educators and that enough, I think, is a --

COOPER: Well, and bottom line right now the university could open up their records. I mean the university could make it easy for everybody if they were really interested in changing and looking at themselves. So you know there's been a lot of talk about --

BISSINGER: There's no question.

COOPER: -- this doesn't represent Penn State. It would be very interesting to see how Penn State handles this moving forward whether they do open these records.

We've got to leave it there. Buzz Bissinger, it was great to have you on. We'll have you on again.

And Christine Brennan, as well. Thank you so much.

Still ahead tonight, "Raw Politics". Herman Cain's controversial comments about American Muslims. He told "GQ" magazine that a majority of American-Muslims, the eight million or so who live in the United States have extremist views. We gave him a chance to clarify those comments on camera. Hear what he said next.

Also ahead, a new look at Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' amazing recovery. New video from inside the hospital. A new interview with the congresswoman. We'll let you hear her words and we'll talk to our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta about her progress.


COOPER: In "Raw Politics," Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain campaigned in Dubuque, Iowa today in the wake of his foreign policy stumble on Libya yesterday.

Now we have a new fire to put out. An interview in the December issue of "GQ" is raising new questions about Cain's views on Muslims. Here's what getting attention.

In the interview, Cain says, and I quote, "I have one very well known Muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of Muslims share the extremist views."

When asked if he thinks the unnamed person, his well known Muslim voice is right, Cain says, quote, "Yes, because that's his community. That's his community. I can't tell you his name, but he's a very prominent voice in the Muslim community, and he said that."

The magazine presses Cain on the issue. Here's the rest of the exchange. The "GQ" reporter says, I just find that hard to believe. Cain replies, I find it hard to believe. "GQ" asks, but you're believing it? Cain says yes because of the respect I have for this individual.

Because when he told me this, he said he wouldn't want to be quoted or identified as having said that. "GQ" then asked, are you talking about the Muslim community in America or the world?

Cain replies, America, America. So this isn't the first time that Cain has made controversial remarks about American-Muslims. After timing goes again, the "GQ" interview comes on the heels of his Libya gaffe and with his poll numbers in Iowa slipping.

Our political reporter, Shannon Travis, joins me now. So Shannon, you were on the trail of Herman Cain today. Does he stand by these latest comments?

Because there are eight million American-Muslims, it's one of the most well assimilated populations in this country. Obviously, there have been some extreme cases. What does he say about it today?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, he did. Basically today one of the three things that Herman Cain has recently been doing when he makes these kind of comments either doubling down or explaining his ground or backing down.

In this case, he did the second, trying to clarify what he meant by those statements that you just read from "GQ" magazine. As you just mentioned also, I was with him for most of the day today.

I put this question to him that you and a lot of our viewers probably want to know. Take a listen.


TRAVIS: Should you have more information than one person telling you that before making a comment like that?

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you can argue yes and you can argue no. I wasn't doing a survey. I was simply restating what a very prominent Muslim, peaceful Muslim told me, and I was sharing that in that particular interview.

TRAVIS: But that you believed it. You said that you actually believed it?

CAIN: I made the statement that I was given that information and we don't need to make a big deal out of that in all honesty.


TRAVIS: Anderson, you just heard Herman Cain say that this is not a very big deal using the defense that, you know what? I was just telling -- basically restating what someone told me -- Anderson.

COOPER: Herman Cain's been making these kind of comments for months and based on the polls it looks like primary voters have been giving him a pass until more recently. Is there a sense out there that he's reaching the end of that kind of grace period?

TRAVIS: Yes, a lot of people that I'm talking to, Anderson, are saying, you know what? We're taking a second look at Herman Cain. Some of them to be sure, some of them definitely still love him.

But as you just mentioned, he's made a lot of comments in the past before. He said things about Muslims before, that he wouldn't have Muslims in his cabinet. He's had to walk that back.

You talk about the Libya comments and his comments on collective bargaining saying that he supports those in that "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" interview. He's had to clarify those things. And even some of the jokes that he's made recently about Princess Nancy or having an electric fence on the border, that he's completely had to walk back so some of these comments in addition to the sexual harassment allegations that he firmly denies are having a lot of people that I speak with out here in Iowa taking a second look.

And saying, you know what, is this really the man that I want to vote for in terms of putting him in the White House? Some people are again firmly behind him, but some are having second thoughts.

COOPER: Yes, we'll continue to check the poll numbers. Shannon, appreciate it. We wanted to find out for ourselves how many Muslims live in America have extremist views.

According to the Pew Research Center, when asked how much support there is for extremism among Muslims in the United States, only 21 percent of Muslim-Americans answered a great deal or fair amount. While the majority, 64 percent answered not too much or not at all.

Just ahead, a setback for "Occupy Wall Street" protesters here in New York. Live pictures from Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan.

Coming up, what a crucial court ruling means for the protesters who were forced out of the park early this morning.

Also ahead, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' amazing recovery. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about what's ahead for her in the obstacle she still faces.


COOPER: Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has stepped back into the spotlight, giving her first interview since she was shot in the head in January. ABC's "20/20" gave us a first look at how far Giffords has come.

For the first time, we learned that her husband, Mark Kelly had been videotaping his wife's progress all these months. The images of Giffords early on in her recovery are certainly sobering. What a contrast they made to this.





GIFFORDS: Pretty good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can see that your arm, your right hand you move a lot more now.


GIFFORDS: No, difficult.


GIFFORDS: Difficult, difficult, difficult. Strong, strong.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the spirit.

KELLY: She's got very good posture much better than me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You do a lot of therapy every day.

KELLY: Yes. How many hours?

GIFFORDS: Two hours of therapy.

KELLY: Here at the house.


COOPER: Giffords has clearly come a long way. She looks amazing. Her spirit, energy, intelligence, all intact, but it is also obvious she has so many thoughts she's unable to express. She speaks mostly in single words, not in sentences.

Let's talk about that with our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's a practicing neurosurgeon as well and sees a lot of patients like Gabby Giffords.

In the clip we just saw, you know, she's still experiencing difficulty in moving her right side. Is that typical after 10 months?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is pretty typical. I mean, you know, you talk about recovery being, you know, people having sort of maximum recovery around 18 months, but still having recovery after that.

So the type of injury that she had, Anderson, was the left side of her brain, as you know, which affects the right side of the body, the arm and the leg and also speech.

In her case specifically, expressive speech, her ability to speak, her understanding, her comprehension seems to be intact, but as you pointed out, Anderson. She's gotten a lot better. Four or five months from now, it could be even exponentially better as compared to what you just saw.

COOPER: I want to play a clip from one of the therapy sessions that Giffords' husband, Mark, taped and aired on "20/20".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says spoon for chair.

KELLY: Yes, for chair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cheeseburger for lamp.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't get frustrated.


KELLY: Yes, for a lot of things.


GIFFORDS: Chicken.


COOPER: I mean, explain what's happening in the brain with this kind of word replacement, when you think one thing, but maybe you know what it is but you're saying chicken?

GUPTA: Yes, it's a sort of word confusion. Some people call it a dysnomia, which just means that you're naming things the wrong name. And it's pretty common in what is known as aphasia. Aphasia is a term of speech, but you're basically trying to express yourself.

There are all sorts of words to choose from, but the word you're choosing is the wrong one. So it's a word finding difficulty. I'll tell you this, though, it oftentimes gets -- that sort of thing gets better.

The fact that she's speaking, that she's enunciating as well as she is. She's coordinating the movements of her mouth. All much better than, you know, we heard how she was doing before. Those are all good signs. This word finding difficulty or word sound often does improve, especially as she's had this much improvement at 10 months.

COOPER: Does she know -- I mean, this is maybe a dumb question, but does she know she's using the wrong word? I would imagine that's being extraordinarily frustrating when you want to say arm, but you're saying chicken.

GUPTA: No, it's not at all dumb question because I've asked that same question, Anderson, to patients who have had recoveries after this sort of thing. Did they really recognize, was it frustrating to be aphasic or was it something that they thought was normal because of their injury?

And most patients have said it's incredibly frustrating. They know they're using the wrong word and they're trying to find the right word. They just can't find it. It's obviously even more frustrating when you're basically in a state where you can understand everything that's going around you.

You can read, but you simply cannot express yourself and it sounds like she was in that state for a few months. The doctors say, they're not talking about 100 percent recovery here, but over months she's made significant recovery. That's the best prognosticator of what her final end point is going to be.

COOPER: And music is playing a big part in her rehab. I want to take another look at a clip from "20/20."

Singing some Cyndi Lauper there. I mean, does music tap into a different part of the brain than speech does?

GUPTA: Music, a lot of it, is on the right side of the brain, the opposite side of the brain where she had her injury. Taking that and sort of combining it with what we call automatism or sort of reflexes.

Where you remember the words, you remember the tone of the words and you're basically expressing it. So in some ways it can be easier to sing than even to speak.

COOPER: It's like kids who stutter, when they sing, they don't stutter.

GUPTA: That's right. They get this sort of sing-song behavior, the words seem to fit. And again, you're replying on this almost reflexive speech because that's a song she's heard, maybe she sang it before. So it's all sort of comes back. It can be easier initially to sing a song like that than to even say the words to the song.

COOPER: Interesting. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it. Thanks. It's nice to have someone who is really smart around here and knows what they're talking about. I didn't know all that stuff.

Coming up, the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters get kicked out of the park. A ruling tonight on whether they'll be allowed back in. We'll get a live update from the park.

Also, a never before heard audio tape from the Air Force One after the JFK assassination is up for sale. Details ahead.


COOPER: Looks like the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters who have been camped out in the park in New York for almost two months are going to have to find another place to sleep.

A New York Supreme Court judge ruled late today that protesters can demonstrate in Zuccotti Park, but they can't live there in their tents. In the middle of the night, police in riot gear cleared the park, which has been home -- the home base for "Occupy Wall Street."

Police ordered the protesters to leave, tore down their tents after notice from the park's owner said the occupation was a health and fire hazard. It all happened overnight.

Today was all about a legal wrangling over whether the protesters should be allowed back in. Poppy Harlow has been at the park covering the twist and turns since late last night.

She joins us now live with the latest. What's the situation there right now?

POPPY HARLOW, CNNMONEY.COM CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, what we're seeing behind us, Anderson, is arguably the largest general assembly that they've seen down here in the two months they've been protesting.

This is when the protesters get together. They use a human mike yelling out what they'd like, what their plan of action is. It's only been four hours since the protesters were allowed back in this park.

That came after a New York State Supreme Court ruling reversing an earlier decision. That earlier decision said the eviction was illegal, then it was overturned saying basically, as you said, it comes down to first amendment rights.

They do have the first amendment right to protest, but not to totally occupy this park. Not to live in this park. So it's a very different scene than it was 24 hours ago. There are no tents.

There is nothing of the structure that had existed here for two months, Anderson, obviously igniting a lot of anger. But I would also argue, Anderson, really galvanizing this movement.

COOPER: I saw a lot of reports on Twitter and elsewhere about journalists being blocked from videotaping. I understood your crew was blocked from videotaping the eviction overnight. What happened?

HARLOW: It's exactly right. It was incredibly frustrating as a journalist coming to tell this story and being blocked. Police barricades were as far out as two blocks away from the park on all four sides.

Despite showing them our press pass, saying we were with CNN, we were not allowed in. It took me three hours to get past the police barricade. When we were finally allowed into the park, by the time we were allowed in, all the protesters were gone.

The last were being arrested and being loaded on to NYPD buses and the park was being swept clean, really finishing the eviction. I asked NYPD officers time and time again throughout the night starting at 2:00 a.m. until 5:0 a.m., why can we not get through?

Is it a safety issue? We got no answer whatsoever. That's been the complaint of a number of journalists is that they were not allowed inside to film this, to document what happened, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, I mean, you can argue that clearly the police didn't want those pictures out of them removing it. I guess, the other argument would be some sort of safety thing. Again, more questions to ask.

We're following a number of other stories, Poppy, we appreciate it. We'll continue to follow the situation down there. Isha is back with the "360 News and Business Bulletin," -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Chicago were paid $2.3 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged church leaders failed to remove a priest that they knew sexually abused minors. That's according to the plaintiff's attorney. The priest in question is Father Daniel McCormack. The attorney says he pleaded guilty to the charges in 2007.

Ten House Republicans are again calling for the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder over his role in "Operation Fast and Furious." The lawmakers accuse Holder of lying about the ATF program where agents aloud known criminals to buy guns for tracking purposes.

The U.S. Postal Service reports an annual loss of $5.1 billion due to declining mail volume and the rising cost of employee benefits.

And Anderson, newly discovered audio tapes made aboard Air Force One just after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated nearly 48 years ago are up for sale for half a million dollars.

The recordings are being sold by the Robb Collection, an historic documents dealer. They are 30 minutes longer than the edited version at the National Archives. A fascinating piece of history.

COOPER: Yes, really interesting. All right, Isha, coming up the sugar plum fairy gets fired. Say it ain't so. If you ever longed for quaint holiday traditions or ever said a curse word after flushing a toilet, this story is for you. "The Ridiculist" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding the firing of the sugar plum fairy. In St. Charles, Missouri, there's a Christmas traditions festival along Main Street.

For five years a woman named Laura has played the sugar plum fairy. Local business owners say she's one of the kids' favorite characters. She really gets into her role.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fairy Christmas and a flappy New Year!


COOPER: This year, Laura's wings have been clipped. That's right. In tonight's edition of sentences I never thought I would say, the sugar plum fairy has been taken down by a cup of urine, a flushing toilet and a curse word.

Allow me to explain. This year all the festival employees had to take a drug test. Now the sugar plum fairy is not used to taking drug tests, boys and girls. And so after she peed in a cup she apparently flushed the toilet.

Apparently, you're not supposed to do that so the drug testing place said Laura had to retake the test. At which point, she got exasperated because she had apparently had a job interview that she was going to miss. You see, the sugar plum fairy gig is a temporary thing, pretty seasonal by definition. When she realized her mistake, the sugar plum fairy said to no one in particular apparently a word that is more naughty than nice. Laura explains to St. Louis affiliate, KSDK.


UNIDENTIFIED FEAMLE: Out of pure frustration with myself, I said a curse word. I banged my head on the bathroom door and just -- blah.


COOPER: And because of the said curse word, the sugar plum fairy got canned. She broke the Christmas tradition's code of conduct, which states and I quote, "Christmas characters don't know naughty words."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I made a mistake, and I know I made a mistake. And I'm willing to apologize for it. I wish that they would just be a little bit more reasonable.


COOPER: Come on, people. The sugar plum fairy's contrite. I have to be honest. I think maybe these nutcrackers should give her the job back.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would love for them to say, you know, we made a big mistake. We actually love you, and we'd love to have you back this year for sugar plum fairy. In a perfect world, I would have my job.


COOPER: She seems so nice. She said a curse word without out of costume not working at a drug testing facility. Not like she pulled a bad Santa or something.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look who's here, Jimmy. It's Santa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell him what you want for Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on my (inaudible) lunch break, OK?


COOPER: Has there ever been more brilliant casting than a Billy Bob Thornton as a drunken cursing Santa Claus? Look, we weren't there. We don't really know why the sugar plum fairy actually said. All our reporters were at the North Pole covering the drug testing of the elves at Santa's work shop, which takes a long, long time.

But I kind of think the kids nestled all snug in their beds will be traumatized by the sugar plum fairy dancing in unemployment line or peeing in a cup for that matter. So here's hoping she gets her job back. The wrong is made right. A merry "Ridiculist" to all and to all a good night. Not a total good night.

We'll see you again at 10:00 Eastern tonight. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN" starts now.