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Erin Burnett Outfront

Some Prominent Republicans Show Their Support For Gay Marriage; The Pope's Makeover; U.S. Weighing Support, Training for Syria

Aired February 26, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Democrats blame the Republicans. Republicans blame the Democrats. How Speaker John Boehner drops an A-bomb.

Plus Olympian Oscar Pistorius charged with premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend. Why the case may never go to trial.

A hot air balloon accident in Egypt, we have dramatic pictures for you tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT or should I say out back tonight, the "A" word. With three days until the forced spending cuts kick in, House Speaker John Boehner today dropped an A-bomb.


REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.


BURNETT: On the other side of Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it's the Republicans' fault. No buts about it.


SENATOR HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: I think he should understand who is sitting on their posterior. The speaker is doing nothing to try to pass anything over there.


BURNETT: Well, the president didn't engage in the posterior pow-wow, but he did play the blame game.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There are too many Republicans in Congress right now who refuse to compromise even an inch when it comes to closing tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks. And that's what's holding things up right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee. You know, not every day we get to hear the 3-letter "A" word used on Capitol Hill.

REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: That's right, Erin. I am going to put aside the posterior politics right now. Other than that, let's get at it.

BURNETT: So the president criticized Republicans for their unwillingness to raise taxes in order to reduce the deficit, but I wanted to ask you this, because you know the numbers. The Tax Policy Center has said that nearly 80 percent of American households have gotten a higher federal tax bill because of the fiscal cliff deal that you all did at the beginning of the year. So why do you want to raise taxes again?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, because we want to take a balanced approach. Again, we have now cut $1.5 trillion if you look at the spending caps that were imposed as part of the Budget Control Act agreement. Then as part of the fiscal cliff agreement, which you just referenced, we raised about $600 billion.

What we've said is as we go forward, we should use the same model as the bipartisan fiscal commissions and continue to take that balanced approach. Yes, additional cuts in a targeted way, not a senseless way.

But also additional revenue from closing those tax loopholes that both presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and President Obama, talked about during the last campaign. They're all still out there. We haven't touched any of those.

BURNETT: All right, well, just to be fair, Mitt Romney said he would lower the tax rate in exchange for closing those, and you did limit deductions as part of the federal -- part of the fiscal cliff deal.

So let me ask you about that specifically, because this whole tax issue, Adam Davidson and I quote him every single night so I hope he listens, co-founder of NPR's "Planet Money" noted in the "New York Times" something over a year ago, but it's pretty powerful statistic.

That increasing the middle class tax burden by an additional 8 percent would have a bigger impact than taxing millionaires at 100 percent and of course, Congressman, leaders of your own party, Bill Clinton also knows this. Here's Bill Clinton at a conference I was at with him a year ago.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I think you could tax me at 100 percent and you wouldn't balance the budget. We all have to contribute to this. If middle class people's wages were going up again and we had some growth in the economy, I don't think they would object to going back to the tax rates that I obtained when I was president.


BURNETT: Isn't the honest thing to tell the American people if you're going to be raising money by raising taxes that it has to be on more than just a few at the top?

VAN HOLLEN: No, I think the honest thing, Erin, is to take a balanced approach. I certainly agree with what you just said and with what President Clinton said, that you cannot solve this deficit problem simply by asking higher income individuals to pay a whole lot more.

Because there's just not enough there, which is why we've said we need a combination of revenue from closing those tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the very wealthy and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan all talked about how they were there.

In fact, Speaker Boehner's proposal just about a couple months ago said he would raise $800 billion from that source, but that's why you have to couple that with cuts.

BURNETT: All right, so how do you get there on loopholes by your logic? Five of the top ten loopholes, here they are. I will read them out. You know what they are. For any viewers who aren't familiar with all of them in order, mortgage interest deduction, earned income tax credit, employer provided health care, child tax credit, state and local tax deduction and charitable deductions. When you close those, you hurt a lot more than just the wealthy.

VAN HOLLEN: No, Erin, what I support is the approach the president has taken in his budget, which I suspect he will present again, which is to say for higher income individuals, we're going to limit the value of all your deductions to 28 percent so that you're not getting a bigger break, so to speak, for your deductions than middle income taxpayers.

BURNETT: OK. I see your point there, but the problem is as you also say, you can't get there just by doing that and $550 billion over ten years, that's pocket change, right? You can look at the $1.2 trillion. You're looking at $85 billion a year, less than 2 percent or just about 2 percent of the budget.

I mean, it doesn't -- if you're really looking at making a big difference at numbers that Simpson-Bowles are saying we need $4 trillion, $5 trillion, I don't see how you get there without raising taxes on everybody if you say that taxes are part of the solution.

VAN HOLLEN: Well, as I said, I think taxes are part of the solution. I just mentioned one way of getting some of that revenue, but you also need to continue to do the cuts and that's what we're talking about in terms of our overall budget approach, and the president's plan when you take it all together, starting with the cuts we made last year, comes to about $2 to $3 in cuts for every dollar in revenue.

BURNETT: Do you ever have frustration, as someone who has tried to be calm, thoughtful and balanced about this. At the fact that the leader of your party, second term president, whatever he's put on the table, has not directly dealt with where the future debt that is drowning this country is coming from?

And by that obviously I'm referring still to things like Medicare where, when you look at the out years. That is where the problem seems to lie. Are you frustrated that he hasn't come out and told the American people that they're going to be taking a hit there and that he's willing to be the one to deal that hit because he can, because he's a second term president?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, Erin, I think he has. If you look at the affordable care act, we achieved $715 billion in savings in Medicare.

BURNETT: Even with that, we're still looking at this Medicare crisis in the out years.

VAN HOLLEN: That's right. That's right. But remember what happened in the last election, our Republican colleagues demagogued those important savings which according to the Medicare actuary actually extended the life of Medicare.

In this budget proposal, the president has said that by year 10 or 11, he's achieving the same amount of Medicare savings per year as projected by Simpson-Bowles so I think the president has put that on the table.

The difference is in approach. In other words, Republicans through their voucher plan want to simply move the costs of the Medicare balance sheet and on to the backs of seniors. That's what happens when you provide someone with a voucher that doesn't keep pace with rising health care costs.

Whereas what we proposed and I think we need to expand on it, is to change the incentives within the Medicare system. You have to move away from a strictly fee for service system where nobody has a real incentive to save money.

Toward one where you reward doctors and providers based on the quality of care. We started doing that with things like the accountable care organizations, but we can build on that going forward.

BURNETT: Congressman, thank you.

Still OUTFRONT a civil war in the GOP, 75 high profile Republicans today break from their party to strike down California's ban on same sex marriage. We'll tell you who they are.

Plus, we're just days away from the pope stepping down and he's about to get a major makeover.

A story that we have been watching closely, a year after he was shot and killed, a memorial for Trayvon Martin. Actor Jamie Foxx is there. You're looking at a live picture. He's speaking right now to the people at the memorial. We are going to be going to there in just a few minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Our second story, OUTFRONT, civil war over same sex marriage. So today, this was a pretty amazing thing. More than 80 high profile Republicans signed a brief before the Supreme Court and they were supporting same sex marriage.

Among those whose names appeared on this document, former presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman, former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd- Whitman and Mary Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

So is this a sign the GOP's opposition to same sex marriage is crumbling? OUTFRONT tonight, CNN contributor and Republican strategist Ana Navarro who signed the brief and Tim Carney, senior political columnist with the "Washington Examiner."

Tim, let me start with you. There are some big names on this and even people, Jon Huntsman when he was governor of Utah had been in support of civil unions, but going in favor of gay marriage is even another further step for someone like him to take. Does this help or hurt the party?

TIM CARNEY, SENIOR POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": Well, it's actually going even further than just supporting gay marriage. They are saying that a state does not have the right, the voters of a state do not have the right to determine what marriage is but in fact, that the constitution somehow requires it accept gay marriage.

I think going that further step, endorsing the federal court action, is what could hurt the party. There are disagreements on gay marriage. The Republican Party should have disagreements on all sorts of issues. That makes a party stronger. But trying to move it away from the power of what the people vote for and put in the power of the courts, that's harmful.

BURNETT: By your logic, if people view it as a civil rights issue, if you had states that said even now slavery is OK, people wouldn't be all right with that. They would say that should be legislated at the federal level. This is the same.

CARNEY: I think very few people would buy into the analogy that you're making of it being that perfect between what is the definition of marriage and are we going to treat all human beings as equal. So that's the question.

Is this a civil rights issue or is this about redefining something that was not created by government. Marriage was not created by government. It's something that was created long ago culturally. Government administers it.

Is it a civil rights issue, that's at the heart of the question and courts shouldn't be the one handling that. People should be. For Republicans to ask for courts to do it, that's what I think could harm the party.

BURNETT: Ana, obviously a lot of Republicans have been coming out and supporting same sex marriage, pun intended, including yourself, right? You signed this document, but a lot of republican leaders still oppose it. Here's a few.


GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE, NEW JERSEY: I believe the institution of marriage as it's traditionally known is between one man and one woman and it should stay that way in New Jersey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe in the traditional definition of marriage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I supported the Wisconsin amendment to define marriage between a man and woman.


BURNETT: Ana, has it hurt the Republican Party that people like you are coming out and saying no, we just don't agree with that?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it absolutely helps the Republican Party. It is a wholesome party that can have diversity of thought. What I aspire to, Erin, is a big tent party where I can co- exist with people who hold a different opinion, but we can co-exist with in a realm of respect and mutual values.

For me, the Republican Party is about personal freedoms and for me, personal freedom means being able to have my opinion and being able to have friends who have the same rights as me. We are the party of small government.

We can't be the party of small government and yet at the same time want for government to decide who does and does not get married, who they have a right to love. I think we can't be on the wrong side of history here.

We can't be on the wrong side of love and commitment. But at the same time, I respect people who have a different opinion and I think it makes us healthy and stronger. We should be about inclusiveness, not being exclusive.

BURNETT: All right. I want to ask both of you about something else that happened today, and I'm going to throw this at you with a little bit of a surprise but it really caught my attention. People are watching at the top of our show saw this. The use of the word ass in Washington today. Let me just play for you John Boehner and Harry Reid.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We have moved a bill in the House twice. We should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: I was raised in a little town that had 13 brothels in it so I'm used to pretty salty language, as you know. But the speaker today said he's not -- that category, for sure, but Boehner hopes Senate gets of their ass. And it's quite interesting, we should not have to move a third bill before the Senate gets off their ass and begins to do something. I think he should understand who is sitting on their posterior.


BURNETT: The look on his face was just absolutely priceless. Tim, look, they talk like this all the time but when this gets into the public discourse, use of a word like that, inappropriate or fine?

TIM CARNEY, SENIOR POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": The Senate's controlled by Democrats. They're the donkeys. That's an ass. I don't understand what the issue is.


CARNEY: Yes, John Boehner, we know that that's the kind of guy he is. We know how much -- he smokes, he plays lots of golf, he drinks and he talks that way.

BURNETT: Ana, are you all right with John Boehner using that, setting that tone, or not?

NAVARRO: Listen, I'm all right with him being frustrated by the fact that nothing is getting done. I think they are reflecting what the American people feel, a great deal of frustration by the inaction in Washington. So I would echo John Boehner's words and say guys, get to it.

And of course, if we had a contest between Harry Reid today and John Boehner on who had the toughest, roughest childhood and heard the saltiest language growing up, whether you heard it in a bar or growing up in Ohio or whether you heard it in a small town in Nevada growing up amongst brothels. I don't know. We may have to have a throwdown on that one.

BURNETT: All right. All I can say is please, Harry, John, just get out of the sandbox. Thanks to both of you.

And still to come, for the first time in 600 years -- talk about tradition -- a pope is stepping down. And we have some very specific things that are going to happen. One of them has to do with his ring.

And thousands of you sent us feedback about a story we reported on yesterday. Did Yahoo!'s CEO Marissa Mayer go too far?


BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, the pope's makeover. For the first time in 600 years, the pope is going to resign voluntarily. And he is going to have a new title and a new look. The Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI will keep his name but will be called Pope Emeritus or the Roman Pontiff Emeritus after he steps down as leader of the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday. Benedict is also going to change his wardrobe slightly.

So much of this is about pomp and circumstance. That's what makes a lot of organized religion. And he is no longer going to be wearing the traditional red shoes, opting instead for brown, and he is going to be dressing in a simple white cassock.

So, what do these changes mean? Raymond Arroyo is the anchor and the news director of Global Catholic TV, and he is OUTFRONT tonight. It's the pomp and circumstance that can be so fascinating. I know to some people may say these changes are insignificant, color of the shoes, whatever, guys. But that's really significant, right? The red shoes?

RAYMOND ARROYO, NEWS DIRECTOR, GLOBAL CATHOLIC TV: Absolutely. Look, everything in the Catholic Church, particularly the things we are going to see together over the next couple of weeks, Erin, they all mean something and they're all tied to history. Those red shoes go back hundreds of years. What they symbolize is the willingness to bleed, to suffer martyrdom for the church, for the gospel. That's what that represents. It is a prerogative of the pope to wear that alone, no one else in the church may wear those red shoes.

So when Benedict is no longer the pope, he has to give up the shoes. But remember, John Paul II wore the red shoes for a couple weeks early on in his pontificate, then wore brown ones. The pope can really do what he wants. He's the supreme pontiff, the supreme ruler of the church, and he kind of can make the rules himself. And Benedict made these himself today.

BURNETT: Interesting. Although as you said, Raymond, I say this, you know, can't change the doctrine, right? You do everything but that.


ARROYO: Can't do that. He can protect the doctrine but not amend it, Erin. That's the deal.

BURNETT: Let me talk about one other thing. He wears a ring, a fisherman's ring. Describe it to me and why he's going to actually destroy it. It looks kind of fluorescent green or yellow here on his finger.

ARROYO: Right. Now, this goes back to 1265. Pope Clement IV referenced this ring in one of his letters to a nephew. It is the sign and seal of his office, Erin. When you look closely, you are seeing a picture there, it is a bar (ph) relief of St. Peter leaning over the edge of the boat pulling in fish. This shows and indicates that the pope, whoever wears this ring, is the successor of St. Peter, the first apostle. His name is emblazoned around the top of that ba relief (ph) and when each pope dies -- or in this case retires -- they remove the ring from his hand, they scratch the front of it, literally deface it in the sign of a cross, and they smash it with a mallet so it can never be used again.

It is a sign that his power, his authority in the church, is finished, extinguished. Usually they bury that ring with the pope. John Paul II's is in his casket. In this case, I guess they are just going to hold on to it. They put it in a satchel, and it will eventually be buried with Pope Benedict, but he will no longer be pope.

BURNETT: That's amazing. Now the cardinals during the pre-conclave period are not supposed to be campaigning, but I would imagine that is what they're doing, fast and furiously, right?

ARROYO: Well, it's a quiet campaign, Erin. It's kind of a meet and greet. They look at each other from afar. You know, I remember going to a horse auction when I was a kid. Now bear with me here. When you go to a horse auction, you look at the horses' legs, you look at its mouth, you read the press on the horse, you talk to the trainers, but you don't talk to the horse.

That's sort of the approach of these electors. At least that's what they're telling me. They don't go to the man they're directly thinking about who might be a papal candidate. They talk to friends, they talk to people who know them and they begin to form an impression. Is this the guy we need now? And that's how it happens. Then they go into the conclave and vote. The two-thirds majority, first man to get to the two-thirds majority, is the next pontiff.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Raymond, thank you very much. I love it. The horse auction analogy. And it is going to be like watching a horse race as we go through the next few weeks on this.

OUTFRONT next, hundreds of people gathering to remember Trayvon Martin tonight. So we ask the question and answer it for you, where is the man who shot him tonight?

Plus, Oscar Pistorius charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend. Why one of our legal analysts says the case may never, never go to trial.

And a hot air balloon carrying nearly two dozen tourists plummets to the ground. We have the footage.


BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT.

We start with stories we care about, where we focus on reporting from the front lines.

And we begin with Dennis Rodman. So he doesn't exactly have a reputation for finding common ground, I know. But it might seem a little odd that the former NBA star with his studded nose and tattooed body has gone to oppressive North Korea to promote basketball diplomacy. He's there to help run a basketball camp for kids. It's also going to be part of a TV show set to air on HBO.

Now, we spoke to Rodman's agent, Darren Prince, who said the former Chicago Bulls player is hoping to meet Kim Jong-un and spread the message of peace and love and not war. There are reports that Kim is, in fact, a Chicago Bulls fan.

So, maybe, Rodman has a shot that the diplomats never had. Well, more of your tax dollars out to sea. After two days and several hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the unsuccessful search for a 29-foot sailboat carrying a couple and two children in distress, the Coast Guard in California suspended its mission. A commander tells CNN they're investigating all the possibilities, including a hoax. If it turns out to be a prank, it may not be a surprise. In 2011, the Coast Guard counted 54 probable hoaxes nationwide, two of them alone costing $118,000.

Well, a Republican lawmaker in Texas has filed a bill that will make Texas Independence Day -- Texas Independence Day, not Independence Day -- a tax-free holiday for gun purchases. If the law passes, gun shop owners like Jerry McCall, who owned Texas Guns in San Antonio, say they're going to sell more guns. On an average day, McCall says he sells $7,000 worth of guns and collects $600 in sales tax.

Now, while that would mean big savings for customers, it does translate to lost revenue for the state. Think about it -- hundreds of dollars in sales tax, multiplied by the more than 6,000 licensed firearms dealers in Texas. And you're talking about Governor Perry giving a big tax break.

Now, please sit down, because here's a story that will make you grateful for the people who only threaten your life by texting and driving. You know how when you visit a hospital you see this?

They're everywhere. As we have been told for years, cell phone signals can interfere with feeding tubes, ventilators, pacemakers and dialysis machines. Use your cell phone, you might kill someone.

But it turns out the people cavalierly playing with your life are the ones you trust the most. According to a new study, 55 percent of perfusionists, the people who run the heart and lung machines during heart bypass surgery say they have texted, e-mailed and used their phones during a procedure.

I mean, I've heard of routine surgery. This does, though, seem to be stretching it a bit. Now, as far as I can tell, there are only a few reasons why you would need a cell phone in the O.R. One, you need to look up how to do your job. Two, you can't stop sexting. Or three, you just can't pull yourself away from that rousing game of Words with Friends.

Perfusionists, and lawsuit uses all seven letters.

It has been 572 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, with forced spending cuts set to take effect in only three days, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the cuts would add a significant burden to the recovery. The Congressional Budget Office says economic growth would take a hit of about -- just over half a percent in this year alone.

And now our fourth story OUTFRONT: remembering Trayvon Martin. Tonight, hundreds of people are gathered in New York City to remember the 17-year-old one year after he was shot and killed by a Florida neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman. Trayvon's parents attended the vigil at Union Square and observed a moment of silence just a few moments ago in memory of their son.

George Zimmerman says he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense and Zimmerman remains in Florida, where our David Mattingly is tonight with the latest from Sanford.

And, David, obviously, you are in Sanford where this tragic incident happened a year ago today. What's happening there?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, what we saw happening here tonight was very similar to what we saw in New York, very similar to what might be happening in other parts across the country tonight. People gathering to remember Trayvon Martin and what that moment meant to them. And here, of course, hitting home in so many ways, not just geographically but here, that case exposed very open raw sentiment within the African community here in this city, that the police department was not providing them with an equal system of justice.

Now today, the city of Sanford has a new police chief, an African- American. Also today, city officials were meeting with clergy from around the area, and some from as far south as Miami, talking about how to keep the peace. And they were doing that with members of the community relations team from the Justice Department so they are now on this anniversary looking forward to those court dates coming up and knowing how personal and how deeply held the opinions are behind this case, trying to move forward from here.

BURNETT: And, David, what can you tell us about George Zimmerman? Where is he? What's he doing?

MATTINGLY: Well, George Zimmerman is confined to the geographical boundaries of Seminole County. He can't leave the county. He is living in some undisclosed place here in the county. He had to move from the house he was in. He's still wearing a bracelet. He's still under a curfew and he is still unemployed. But he has two jobs -- one is working on his defense and the other is trying to keep a low profile.

There were death threats against him. He was very concerned about his security and continues to be so. Some of the biggest concerns that he and the people working with him have that he might be recognized when he goes out in public, and he does leave wherever he's living at this point, he does leave it sometime. When he does go out in public, the concern is that he might be recognized and someone follows him back home, they would have to find another place to live.

So, he is by no means a free man while this case is going on, and while he continues to be so widely recognized in this area.

BURNETT: All right. David Mattingly, thank you very much. David Mattingly, reporting from Sanford, where there is a vigil.

As I mentioned, there is a vigil here in New York as well. Jamie Foxx, the actor, was speaking there just a moment ago. Here is what he said.


JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: And don't think about the color of the child. Think about that child going to school. Think about that child hanging out with his father, with his mom, skiing, skateboarding, doing all these fun things that a 17-year-old child does, and then think about that child on his way home to see his father and, all of a sudden, that child has his life taken from him.


BURNETT: And now we go to South Africa where Olympic star Oscar Pistorius is holding a private memorial service for Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend he is accused of intentionally murdering. Pistorius has been charged with premeditated murder after shooting Steenkamp in his home on Valentine's Day. Now, he says it was a tragic accident. He shot her because he thought she was an intruder.

Pistorius is free on bail but the question tonight is whether this case will ever go to trial.

Jeffrey Toobin is our legal analyst. He says there's a strong likelihood it could end in a plea deal. He's OUTFRONT tonight.

Criminal defense attorney Anne Bremner is also with us.

Jeffrey, you write in "The New Yorker" about this. I mean, this is a case not just within the context of the fame of Oscar Pistorius, of the bizarreness of the case, of the beauty of his girlfriend, in a country where domestic violence is an epidemic. But it might never go to trial.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: That's right, because the actual issues in the case are fairly narrow. We know how she died. We know who killed her.

The only issue in the case is what was Pistorius' intent, what was in his head. Was he really shooting at an intruder, was he really engaged in domestic violence? That is something that I think both sides will worry that they are going to lose. And in that case, plea bargains often happen.

Plea bargaining is part of American legal culture. It's also part of South African legal culture. This case seems right for one.

BURNETT: Really? And why? Why? What's weak about the prosecution case that makes you think that?

TOOBIN: Because the idea that you might be looking for an intruder is credible in South Africa. People have home invasions there. People protect their homes with guns. It is not a crazy idea.

Now, I think much of Pistorius' story is crazy, the idea that he somehow didn't speak and didn't find her, but --

BURNETT: Didn't notice her in the bed. TOOBIN: Didn't notice her, that she was gone. But, I mean, look, it's problematic. But both sides have a lot to lose if they go to trial, and Pistorius, I think when push comes to shove, there is a charge in South Africa called culpable homicide, which is basically a negligent homicide that seems to fit this case fairly well, if you believe Pistorius was looking for an intruder.


TOOBIN: A short prison sentence is something that I bet he would take at this point.

BURNETT: Short prison sentence or even I guess you could have community service. I mean, technically, with that charge in South Africa.

Anne, do you agree with Jeff's takeaway?

ANNE BREMNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I have great respect for Jeff. I mean, he's fabulous.

But I think, here's another side to this. I think that let's take a look like deja vu all over again. Let's look at other celebrity type trials and whether or not they have resulted in plea bargains and they haven't. They tend to go to trial. You know, Casey Anthony, Scott Peterson, Robert Blake, Phil Specter, Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson, Martha Stewart, even the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

So, why did this go to trial? Why did they not end in plea bargains? It's because, to get the real truth in a case like this, really get the truth, you need a courtroom. You need witnesses sworn. You need evidence, et cetera. And they tend to go that way.

So, just looking at history, it seems to me we may well have a trial with Oscar Pistorius.

TOOBIN: Well --

BREMNER: But the second part of it is we have to assume with a plea bargain if he's going to be offered a deal he can live with, and I think based on the evidence and based on the improbabilities in his statements as the judge said, he may not get the offer he wants.

TOOBIN: One thing that all those cases she mentioned have, Anne mentioned, have in common is they were all within the United States of America. In South Africa, you have a case that Mark Thatcher, Prime Minister Thatcher's son --


TOOBIN: -- who was accused of fomenting a revolution abroad, he got a very sweet plea bargain deal.

So, the fact that it's a high profile case alone doesn't prevent a plea bargain from taking place. Look, I think we don't know today the most important evidence in this case, which is the forensic evidence. What do the ballistics show? Was he -- was --

BURNETT: We are able to find out for example was it a boom boom boom boom or was it a boom, wait, you would hear someone scream, boom?

TOOBIN: Was Pistorius actually standing on his prosthesis because that would suggest he had time to prepare. That is a very significant fact. So there's more we need to know and there's more both sides will know.

But if the evidence continues to be at least somewhat ambiguous, I think both sides have a lot to gain with a plea bargain.

BURNETT: Anne, who ultimately, if this goes to trial, and obviously in South Africa, a trial does not come with a jury, which could be good or could be bad.


BURNETT: But goes to trial -- who does that benefit the most? Well, the judge is going to benefit the prosecution.

I want to add on cases being in the U.S., Amanda Knox didn't have a plea deal. And that was in Italy. In the case in South Africa that just mentioned involving a relative of Margaret Thatcher, it was very murky and those often result in plea bargains.

But I think a trial, truly looking at the evidence in this case, will probably favor the prosecution given that the story that he has right now doesn't seem to even line up with the evidence. But let's say he can create enough doubt, he can cry, he can talk about her dying in my arms and he can do all the things that convinced another judge at a bail hearing to let him go --


BREMNER: -- he may be able to convince another judge about doubt in this case and that it was an accident because only he knows. And Reeva knows really what happened.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, both of you. We appreciate it. Check out Jeff's article in "The New Yorker."

And still to come, a hot air balloon carrying tourists falls out of the sky. We have the dramatic and horrific pictures for you.

And we all know someone who has fought or died from breast cancer. We have new numbers tonight about why more young victims in this country are being diagnosed now.


BURNETT: And we're back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we reach out to our sources around the world.

And tonight, we go to Egypt where there are conflicting reports over the safety record of a hot air balloon company that was an absolutely horrific crash that happened. Nearly two dozen tourists from around the world lost their lives. I asked what went wrong.


REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, this hot air balloon dropped 1,000 feet. To put it in perspective, New York's Empire State Building is roughly 1,200 feet. Nineteen tourists killed, among them nine Hong Kong nationals, also British, Japanese and French citizens. The crash took place in the city of Luxor in southern Egypt, site of some of Egypt's most ancient ruins.

The cause of the accident, according to state media, an explosion of the flammable gas cylinder on board. Officials say all hot air balloon rides will be grounded until the investigation is over. Despite the tragedy, hot air balloon rides here in Egypt pretty safe, based on our research.

This was the first fatal accident ever in Egypt involving tourists -- Erin.


BURNETT: Thank you, Reza.

Now, let's check in with Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on "A.C. 360".

Hey, Anderson.


We're keeping them honest tonight on the program. One of the men charged with picking the new pope played a central role in the cover- up of sexual predators in the priesthood. We're talking about former cardinal, Roger Mahony. He will cast a vote for the new pope, but before he does, he has taken to social media to complain about those protesting and pointing the fingers at the media for its reporting about him. Christiane Amanpour reports from Rome.

We'll also hear from a former priest who says he himself was molested.

And also tonight, in crime and punishment, stunning and shocking details of intimacy and deceit as accused murderer Jodi Arias took the witness stand for an 11th day. She's been on the stand. This was her 11th day. It's a case that seemed ripped from the script of an X- rated movie playing out in court in Arizona. Our Randi Kaye was there. She has tonight's report.

We'll also speak with CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos covering the case.

Those stories and a whole lot more, the latest on the world of politics, the upcoming cuts, those tonight, also the "Ridiculist" at the top of the hour, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Anderson, looking forward to seeing you in just a few minutes. And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: breast cancer shocker.

This story caught my attention not just because I'm a woman, although, of course, that's part of why, but also because I know and a lot of people on the OUTFRONT team know young women who are fighting breast cancer.

A study released just this afternoon shows that the number of women between the age of 25 and 39 getting diagnosed with advanced breast cancer is going up. Almost everyone in the country knows someone affected by this disease and the Susan G. Komen Foundation has this horrible statistic. In this country, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes. And every 13 minutes, one of them dies.

OUTFRONT tonight, Dr. Marisa Weiss. She specializes in breast cancer treatment and Dr. Weiss' study shocked, and I just have to get to the bottom line of it.

Why the increase among young women because I know statistically it's significant, among young women in particular?

DR. MARISA WEISS, TREATS BREAST CANCER AT LANKENAU MEDICAL CENTER: Yes. These are young women -- these are mothers, they're our daughters, they're our sisters, precious lives at stake. And we're seeing more breast cancer now than we have in the past.

And there are a lot of reasons for that. There are well-established risk factors that are more today than before like early puberty, obesity, more women are drinking alcohol and drinking more of it. Women are still smoking.

We're more sedentary. We're not as physically active.

And fewer of us are having full term pregnancies and when we do, we tend to postpone them and not breastfeed or only breastfeed for a short period of time. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are protective.

There are also emerging environmental concerns about the -- that we're really worried about.


WEISS: So, there are a lot of chemicals out --

BURNETT: Yes, I want to ask you about those. But, first, to cut to the chase of something that you've been saying, which is that only 10 percent of breast cancer is genetic. I didn't know that. I was shocked when I read that.

You're saying 90 percent of it is not, that means we can control it, right? At least 90 percent of it.

WEISS: Well, that's -- you're right. Only 10 percent of breast cancers are due to one of those single genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2, which means that most breast cancers are related to lifestyle, your exposure to the environment, your weight, how physically active you are, reproductive choices -- things that we can modify, some of we can control.

But there is good news, which is that we are now getting more scientific evidence, proof, that you can take steps today to lower your risk. And breast cancer is every woman's greatest risk of cancer.


WEISS: For a lot of reasons, the breast is the most common place for cancer to occur in a woman's body and there are steps she can take to lower her risks immediately.

BURNETT: So let me ask you about that, because there's two areas -- one when you talk about -- we hear so much and I saw this the other day, that there's now going to be a to charge your cell phone where you put it on the table and it gets an electromagnetic charge from the wall, you don't even need a plug. And something like that made me think, gosh, all these waves just constantly going through our body.

Am I just being, you know, scaredy cat, or is all of this stimulus that we're receiving right now in the modern world, part of why more people are getting breast cancer?

WEISS: Well, we need to look into all potential causes for breast cancer including the whole idea about electromagnetic radiation that people are concerned about. But we already do have solid evidence about well-established risks, things you can do in your everyday life like getting to and sticking to a healthy weight, exercising three to four hours a week, five to seven is better, limiting your alcohol use to five or fewer drinks per week. Not smoking.


WEISS: Avoiding extra hormones like birth control pills for extended period of time, or as well as hormone replacement therapy after menopause.


WEISS: You also want to avoid radiation exposure as a young girl and up to age 25.

Those are some well-established steps that you can take to lower your risk.


WEISS: Plus, limiting your exposure to things in the environment that could be hormonally active.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Weiss, thank you very much. We appreciate that.

I want to, of course, put that on our Web site as well for you all to see.

But I want to tell you something that's just come in to CNN. Sources are telling our Elise Labott at the State Department that the Obama administration is moving toward increasing aid to the Syrian opposition in the form of nonlethal military equipment and military training. Now, these changes are being talked about with allies right now as part of Secretary of State John Kerry's meetings in Europe. The sources stress that the United States is not providing weapons to the rebels, an important distinction and one we'll see if it will last.

Well, last night, we brought you a new story about a policy introduced by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. She's decided that beginning in June, Yahoo employees aren't going to be allowed to work from home anymore.

You were really passionate about this subject and we've got thousands of emails and tweets about it. We included a poll on our OUTFRONT blog asking whether you agree with Mayer's decision. And there's been a back-and-forth on this poll all day.

At the moment, though, the yes side is winning, with 61 percent of you agreeing with Marissa Mayer's decision.

If you'd like to take a poll or add a comment of your own, please do so. Go to our blog,

Well, that was last night's essay. Tonight's essay? It's next. And it's about the most unlikely menage a trois ever.


BURNETT: One of the wildest elections in Italian history is finally over. And as expected, it came down to one guy, the guy who inspired a group of topless female protesters to storm his polling station. That looks so inappropriate. Shouting, "Enough, Berlusconi, enough!"

That's right. Bunga, bunga is back. Yesterday and today, all of the headlines had been about Silvio Berlusconi's amazing return to power.

There's just one problem. He lost. When all the votes were counted, Silvio finished with 31 percent, a strong showing but only good enough for second place behind a guy called Pier Luigi Bersani.

But still every headline is about sweet Silvio, because sometimes you don't have to be first to be famous. Even people who hate him, and there are a lot of them, want to read and hear about him.

And this phenomenon where the winner isn't always the headline is not just in politics. This weekend with the 55th running of the Daytona 500, but from beginning to end, it was all about one person -- Danica. She won the pole, led a lap and managed a very good eighth place finish. But every single headline was about her, even the headlines that actually mentioned the winner, by the way, I'm not going to mention because you probably don't care, because they mention Danica. Danica is a household name. Danica is famous like Silvio for her success, but she's also famous just because. It's the same sort of intangible that Tiger Woods has. Long before Tiger was winning big golf tournaments, when he was 2 years old, he was wowing audiences and charming Mike Douglas. He had that hard-to-define "it" quality. And then he wowed the world with his skill, to the point that now, even after he's eliminated in the first round of a tournament, even after his personal life imploded, he's still the one that gets all the attention.

Silvio, Danica and Tiger, what a threesome. They're not famous for nothing. They are hugely successful at a level that most of us can only dream of.

But what really matters is that they have that something, that ineffable and intangible something simply known as star power. People care about them. That's even when they lose, they're the ones we want to hear about.

And maybe that's a great gift or maybe it leads to an intense stressful life since every loss and every failures in the headlines you can't have any secrets. Only perfection is enough.

What would you think? Would you trade places with one of those three?

And, by the way, if you're going to say yes, please let us know which one. I want to tally and see if the one that I think is going to trounce the others actually does. Visit at, please, and let us know.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" starts right now.