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Campbell Brown

Bailout's Big Change; Sarah Palin Unplugged

Aired November 12, 2008 - 20:00   ET


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there, everybody.
President-elect Obama working mostly out of the public eye today, but those of us in the media continue to stalk him. Check it out. Here he is rushing from meeting to meeting. Those are the taillights of his SUV up ahead there.

But, no bull, this ain't going to be easy. The problems he's inheriting are changing daily and growing more urgent by the minute.

Bullet point number one tonight, the massive financial bailout's big change. True or false, the government is spending billions of your tax dollars to buy up bad mortgages, just as it said it would? That's false. It was true, but not anymore.

Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announced today that instead of buying up bad mortgages, he wants the government to by more stock in banks to encourage credit car lending and car loans.


HENRY PAULSON, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Approximately 40 percent of U.S. consumer credit is provided through securitization of credit card receivables, auto loans and student loans and similar products. This market, which is vital for lending and growth, has, for all practical purposes, ground to a halt.


BROWN: Bullet point number two tonight, we begged her to talk to us. Not she won't shut up, Sarah Palin at the Republican governors meeting in Miami. CNN asked her if she's thinking ahead to 2012 and a run for the White House.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: Not ruling that out, but there again, that's based on my philosophy of it's crazy to close a door before you even know what's open in front of you.


BROWN: And bullet number three, ex-Congressman Mark Foley, remember him? A lot of Republicans blame him and his lewd text messages to congressional pages for costing them control of Congress. That was two years ago. Well, now, tonight, for the first time, Foley is talking about it, part apology, part defense, part explanation. He blames childhood abuse for some of it.


MARK FOLEY (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: You're 12 years old. The priest is telling you, this is healthy, this is good. And, if you tell anybody, I will kill myself.

So, your life is instantly changed. It doesn't make it right. I regret to this day that incident and what I have done.


BROWN: We're going to have more from Foley's tearful, emotional interview coming up in just a little bit.

But, first, as always, cutting through the bull, today's big change to the government bailout plan, and, already, a lot of people are screaming foul. We just told you the headline today. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson tells us he now has a different plan for how to spend that $700 billion of your money.

When Congress OKed the bailout package, they all told us it would be spent buying up troubled mortgage assets. That's what Congress voted on. That's what Congress approved.

Well, now Paulson says it would be better for the economy if he uses the money to buy bank stocks as a way to help their balance sheets, so they're more likely to lend you money for a car, or student loan, or a credit card.

Some today are accusing Paulson of being a flip-flopper.

Here's more of how he explained the big change.


PAULSON: What we said to Congress was we needed a financial rescue package because the credit markets were stopped up.

And we were focused on the problem. And the -- and when we went to Congress, the illiquid assets looked like the way to go. As the situation worsened, the facts changed. And I will never apologize for -- for changing an approach or a strategy when the facts change.


BROWN: Now, personally, as long as there is some congressional oversight, I care less about the flip-flop than I do about figuring out what is the best thing for our economy and making sure that that's what our government is doing. And since our government can't agree on just what that is, we're getting help some cutting through the bull tonight.

Joining me right now, Mike Schneider, an anchor for Bloomberg News, and Eamon Javers, a financial correspondent for

And I basically, guys, have one question, the same question for both of you.

Eamon, I will start with you.


BROWN: Is Secretary Paulson doing the right thing here? Is this what is best for our economy?

JAVERS: Well, look, today's event was clearly a sign that the government is really making it up as they go along here with this bailout. This is called the trouble assets bailout, and they're not going to have any troubled assets involved anymore. They're moving on to credit cards and auto loans and all kinds of other non-bank financial institutions, as he called them today.

But the secretary was also a little bit defensive. He anticipated some of this criticism that you're likely to hear, saying, hey, wait a second. You said you were going to do one thing. Now you're going to do another thing. But he says the ground has shifted so dramatically, he just has to do this. And he might be right on that, Campbell.

BROWN: But -- and then I will go to use Mike -- Eamon, if he is right, why didn't he do this to begin with?

JAVERS: Well, that's something that we're going to have time to do, a lot of history and look-back later.

Why didn't they go after credit cards to start with? Everyone has known who pays any attention to the markets that the credit card market is a problem, that the auto loan market is a problem. The automakers are screaming that they're not able to sell their product anymore because people can't get loans to buy new cars.

So, this has been pretty evident that these things were a problem. It's possible the Treasury just thought they could do something a little bit more limited to start with and then maybe expand it if they needed to later. Clearly, they're reversing course in the middle of the stream here.

BROWN: Mike, what is your take? Is this the right move?

MIKE SCHNEIDER, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Well, what we're hearing, Campbell, basically -- we talked to Martin Feldstein today, used to be chief of the Council of Economic Advisers -- now he's a Harvard prof. And essentially what he's saying is that the consumers need something more than they can respond to.

And what appears to be a calculated move here is that they feel they have to start getting to a position right now where they get money back out there so people can get the money and start going out and buying things again. And apparently, the first time around, these first plans -- and actually the first thing was a plan that morphed out of just the TARP program into buying states and banks. It simply wasn't working.

It wasn't working to the extent that the markets needed or expected or wanted. And so what they're trying do right now is basically put money in your pocket and my pocket and everybody else's pocket, so we go out and start to spend.

BROWN: But, to that point, the Dow was down over 400 points today. So, that's not exactly the reaction they were hoping for, right?


SCHNEIDER: Absolutely. No, what we were talking about earlier is exactly what is happening right now, is that the markets are looking at this and saying, why didn't they get it right the first time? Although nobody really was all impressed with the notion of him coming out with four simple pages, saying, here, sign this and give us $700 billion.

There is tremendous anxiety that they really don't know what they're doing right now. There's talk about some political strife, perhaps, that could be happening between this administration or the administration to be. And also there's concern here that you know what? Maybe they're running out of money.

BROWN: Well, guys, you have got to hope they're all playing nice in the sandbox, given what's at stake here.

Mike Schneider and Eamon Javers for us tonight, thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

JAVERS: Thank you.

SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Campbell.

BROWN: Right now, President Bush is hosting an international economic summit. That's going to happen this weekend. That's to coordinate the response to the global financial meltdown. And a who's-who of world leaders will fly to Washington for the event, but not Barack Obama.

As we know, his transition mantra is one president at a time. Today, Obama's team, though, did announce that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach will serve as the president-elect's emissaries to President Bush's summit.

And coming up next: Sarah Palin, she seems to be everywhere these days. She's talking to CNN again. And, now, for the first time since the election, we're also hearing from John McCain. Coming up, what he says about what went wrong.

And then later, remember him? Tonight, for the first time since resigning in disgrace from Congress, Mark Foley speaks out about what he was doing with congressional pages and why he was doing it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FOLEY: Torturous, difficult, embarrassing. I don't know how many adjectives I can throw at you to quantify what has been the experience.



BLITZER: John McCain is finally talking about Election Day and about his running mate, Sarah Palin. In his first interview since the election, Senator McCain went on NBC's "Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

Take a listen.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": It's been a week since the election. How you doing?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I have been sleeping like a baby.

LENO: Yes. Yes.


MCCAIN: Sleep two hours, wake up and cry. Sleep two hours, wake up and cry.




BROWN: So, he hasn't lost his sense of humor, but things also did turn serious and sentimental when Leno got McCain to assess Palin's job as his running mate.

Take a listen.


MCCAIN: I'm so proud of her and I'm very grateful that she agreed to run with me. She inspired people. She still does.

And, look, I couldn't be happier with Sarah Palin. And she's going back to be a great governor. And I think she will play a big role in the future of this country. And I'm very grateful.

LENO: Did she ever get off message at one point?

MCCAIN: Did you expect mavericks to stay on message?

(LAUGHTER) MCCAIN: You know, I'm sure that from, time -- but she was -- look, I -- we did a lot of things together, a lot of these rallies. The people were very excited and inspired by her. And that -- that's what really mattered.


BROWN: Well, Governor Palin hasn't stayed home in Alaska for very long.

Tonight, she's in Miami for a meeting of the Republican Governors Association. And this afternoon, she sat down with our Wolf Blitzer for a wide-ranging talk about the past and future, starting with her ideas for President Bush's last two months in the White House.


PALIN: He's already doing that, and that's reaching out to Barack Obama and to those potential new Cabinet members also, and those whom we know will be in the cabinet. Reaching out to them and not being one to stay away, to shy away from addressing the challenges that we have today, working with the new administration, and start ushering in some new solutions. So I appreciate that he's already done that.

And that bodes well for our president also. And other things also that bode well for President Bush and keeping our country safe for the last seven years with no new attack on the homeland, those things I think we cannot lose sight of that President Bush has allowed for progress in those areas in our nation. You know, I'm going to do a shout-out to our president and thank him for that.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Even though he may have hurt you and John McCain in terms of becoming president and vice president?

PALIN: You know, I think that there is so much blame to go around, if you will, in terms of why it was that the Republican ticket did not win. And you know, that's being attributed to, we didn't get the Hispanic vote, that really hurt; we were outspent tremendously because, of course, Obama took the private financing, John McCain had stuck to his promise of just keeping the public financing in the campaign, so greatly outspent.

Barack Obama was a great campaigner. He had a very strong organization. So many reasons. I'm not going to look backwards there, again, and point to just President Bush and the administration as to why our ticket didn't prevail.

BLITZER: You look back and say to yourself, I wish I would have done something differently? Is there anything you look back and say, you know, I think I could have done something differently that might have helped?

PALIN: I just wish there had been more hours in the day, been able to speak to more Americans through the media. I would have loved to -- BLITZER: We tried. We tried. God knows we tried.

PALIN: I'm sorry. All right. That's why we're here today, Wolf. Yes.

But just more hours in the day so that we could have reached more Americans with that message of who it is that John McCain is. He is a true American hero. He does have solutions in mind for this country to get the economy back on the right track and to win the wars.

But he now, as a leader in the Senate, we're going to be looking to him, again, being able to unite the party, but also helping unite the nation, working with the new administration.

John McCain will continue to be that strong leader in America. And we need to listen to him.

What does Barack Obama have to do right now, in your opinion, to show that he's going to reach out to Republicans and independents and work in a bipartisan way?

PALIN: He needs to do what I did when I was elected governor of Alaska. And that is, you don't use as your litmus test partisanship. You do not look to someone's party affiliation, but you look to fill your Cabinet positions, especially, with the best of the best. That's what I did as a governor of Alaska, appointing Democrats, independents, Republicans all to work in a team effort, really walking the walk, not just talking the talk, not just that rhetoric of, you know, an ability that's preached to reach across the aisle.

But he's really going to have to walk that. And he can do that by appointing others who are not just a member of his own Democrat Party. And I think we're going to see that.

Here's another question from Chris Plumstead (ph) of Cumberland, Maine.

Let me read it to you: "I was wondering how you plan on dealing with a convicted felon and senator of your state," referring -- he's referring to Ted Stevens.

PALIN: Right.

BLITZER: He may or may not be reelected. We don't know. But what are your thoughts?

PALIN: Well, and after the four counts -- the felony counts and the judgment came down...

BLITZER: Seven. Seven.

PALIN: Seven. Yes.


PALIN: After that came down -- and I called for him to step down and he chose not to. Now it is in the hands of the U.S. Senate. It takes two-thirds vote to expel. It's up to the U.S. Senate to decide what to do. But the voters of Alaska, the will of the people was that he would be representing Alaska.

And whether some of that vote's intent was that he would win the election and then we would have a special election and still have a chance to hold onto that seat in the Republican Party, maybe that was some intention there of some of the voters. But it's in the U.S. Senate's hands now. It's not in my hands.

BLITZER: So if he's still reelected -- and they're still counting ballots, I take it, up there -- and the Senate goes ahead and kicks him out of the Senate, is that something you might be interested in? Could you name yourself, for example, to succeed Ted Stevens?

PALIN: I suppose if you were that egotistical and arrogant ...

BLITZER: Do you have any desire to serve in his ...

PALIN: ... you'd name yourself.

BLITZER: Do you want ...

PALIN: ... but I'm not one to name myself.

BLITZER: Do you want to be in the United States Senate?

PALIN: You know, I believe that I have -- I feel I have a contract with Alaskans to serve. I have got two more years in my term. I'm going to serve Alaskans to the best of my ability. At this point, it is as governor. Now, if something shifted dramatically and if it were -- if it were acknowledged up there that I could be better put to use for my state in the U.S. Senate, I would certainly consider that.

But that would take a special election and everything else. I'm not one to appoint myself or a member of my family to take the place of any -- any vacancy.


BLITZER: All right. So you're not going to name yourself, but you're not ruling out the possibility of some other way of becoming a United States senator?

PALIN: I just don't want to close any doors at this point. I'm very, very happy, privileged, blessed to serve as governor.

I want to continue to do that. But I'm not going to close a door in the future here, if Alaskans decide that, perhaps, I could be put to better use for them in another capacity.

BLITZER: You're not ruling out a run in 2012 for president of the United States, are you?

PALIN: I'm not ruling that out. But there again, that is based on my philosophy of it's crazy to close a door before you even know what's open in front of you. You travel in this road in life. And as you turn a corner and there may be something there that -- circumstances change. You've got to call an audible and you decide to shift gears and take another direction. I'm always open for that.


BROWN: Wolf also asked Governor Palin, who is a mother of five kids, about the Obama family's impending move into the White House.


BLITZER: Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, they have two sweet little adorable girls...

PALIN: Sweet.

BLITZER: ... as you know.

Do you have any advice for Michelle Obama right now, who's about to become our first -- first lady?



BROWN: We're going to have Governor Palin's answer coming up in just a little bit.

But, next, my NO BULL panel on Palin's political future and the political future of the Republican Party.

Stay with us.


BROWN: For someone with a reputation for dodging reporters' questions, Governor Sarah Palin, sure seemed liked a moment ago that she can't get enough of the media types these days.

With me tonight to talk about Palin unplugged, we have got three of our top political experts, CNN political analyst radio talk show host Roland Martin, CNN senior political analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and CNN contributor Stephen Hayes, senior writer for "The Weekly Standard."

Hey, guys.



STEPHEN HAYES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, Campbell. BROWN: Stephen, I'm going to start with you, because I know you're down there in Miami, where Governor Palin is going to be addressing the Republican governors conference tomorrow.

What's the buzz? What are her fellow governors saying about her right now?

HAYES: Well, it's been pretty interesting. She certainly has a large entourage everywhere she goes. She's followed by other governors. She's followed by staff. She's followed by media, just looking to get a glimpse of her or a shot of her or a chat with her.

But there was an interesting moment today, actually. I was at one of these side panels with a couple governors, Jon Huntsman from Utah, Rob Portman, who is maybe running for governor in Ohio, Meg Whitman, may be running for governor in California.

And they were asked -- Tim Pawlenty from Minnesota was also there -- they were asked sort of, would you have been comfortable with Sarah Palin as president right now? And there was just for a moment this sort of silence. Nobody really jumped up to answer the question in the affirmative, which I thought was interesting.

BROWN: Very.

HAYES: Meg Whitman eventually started answering and then they sort of got their sea legs and they answered the question in the way you would expect them to. But it was sort of an interesting and awkward moment.

BROWN: Jeffrey, let me turn to you.

We played this interview that Wolf did today. And one of the things that Palin told Wolf is that she said it would be an honor -- her word -- to help president-elect Obama, which I thought was fascinating, but at the same time, she couldn't seem to fully get out of campaign mode. She's still railing about Bill Ayers, and listen to this exchange.


BLITZER: During the campaign, you said this. You said, "This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America." And then you went on to say, "Someone who sees America, it seems as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

PALIN: Well, I still am concerned about that association with Bill Ayers. And if anybody still wants to talk about it, I will, because this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist who had campaigned to blow up, to destroy our Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol. That's an association that still bothers me.


BROWN: I mean, Jeff, she could have so easily said, that was in the past, Wolf. It's time to move on. It's time to look forward.

But she didn't.

TOOBIN: She's a strong partisan. And, frankly, I didn't find that answer all that offensive. I thought she stood by her campaign rhetoric.

By far, the most disturbing part of the interview, I thought, was a part we didn't show, where she was asked by Wolf about the bailout, potentially, of the auto industry. And, yet again, she had no clue about the substance of an issue.

BROWN: Well, she wouldn't take a position on it.


TOOBIN: She wouldn't take a position on it, but she showed no understanding of what the issues about the bailout.

Her problem is not the politics. Her problem is, is she qualified to be president? And what she should do, I think, is become conversant, knowledgeable about the issues, and then let's see if she be a president -- candidate for president of the United States.

BROWN: Can she do that over the next four years, Roland?

MARTIN: Well, she can make the attempt.

But I do think, though, that, at some point, she needs to back off a little bit and allow some space here, because, all of a sudden, it's like, every day, it's the Obama transition team and Sarah Palin talking to someone else today. I mean, it's sort of it just goes on and on and on in terms of these conversations.

And I don't really understand what her point is with them. Is it a matter of saying, hey, I was locked up like a child in a closet, and the McCain folks wouldn't let me out, so now I'm jumping out?

And so she needs to -- in terms of building credibility up, but, again, do your job as governor and also make some credible points. And, as Jeffrey said, if you want to comment on issues, bringing up Bill Ayers, it's over. It's done. He won. Get over it.

TOOBIN: Don't you think, though, it's a little unfair of us to criticize Sarah Palin for answering the questions we're asking?

HAYES: Yes, I certainly think that's unfair.


TOOBIN: You're asking her for interviews. She is saying yes.


BROWN: I think, at the same time, though, she was saying, I want to support and help Barack Obama, our brand-new president, our president-elect, but, at the same time, I still have all these concerns about this association with Bill Ayers.

MARTIN: Right.


MARTIN: I'm sure Obama is saying, oh, yes, please come in my administration, right.


MARTIN: But, Jeffrey, I don't have problem with her answering questions.

But, again, when you have avoided the media all this time when you were actually running, and then when, Wolf, well, hey, we tried, she said, oh, but I'm talking to you now.

Hey, Governor, the election is over. It kind of doesn't help you now, because you lost.

BROWN: But, Stephen, let me go to you on this, because we -- you're hearing all this buzz. There are a number of polls out saying that she has huge support still among Republicans and people talking about her as the future of the Republican Party.

Are Republican governors talking about her as a real leader, as the future of the Republican Party? And, if not her, who?

HAYES: Well, I don't think they are.

And it's sort of hard to tell. And one of the things I was trying to gauge today as I was talking to a number of these governors was whether they don't think she's the right person to lead the party because she's who she is, or because maybe they want to be the people to lead the party. It's sort of hard to get a grip on that.

But I think she has every right to be out talking right now. I do think she was bottled up by the McCain campaign. I think she was criticized unjustly in many of these interviews, many of the media reports about her. And I think she wants to set the record straight.

Now, I think if she does this for...

BROWN: Another week?

HAYES: ... three, four more weeks, it will be sort of overkill.

But I think she had to do what she's doing right now.

BROWN: All right, guys.

TOOBIN: You know, it's only three years and four months until the Iowa caucuses. So, I think they really need to get it together.


BROWN: It's an excellent point, Jeffrey. We're counting the minutes.

All right, to Roland, to Stephen, and to Jeff -- well, Jeff, you're sticking around to come back a little bit later and talk about other things with us.

Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

HAYES: Thanks.

BROWN: Coming up next, tonight's "PDB." We were expecting an apology, but a Georgia congressman says he meant what he said about Barack Obama and Adolf Hitler.

Plus, thousands of people protesting here in New York tonight, they're mad about the vote in California overturning same-sex marriages there and about the Mormon Church's role in it.



ISABELLA INCAVIGLIA, VALLECITO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Dear president-elect Obama, I would like you to stop people who pollute the Earth. It will make children see a better planet. It's also better to stop the war because we love the people who died, no matter what they look like. I would like people to get along more than they do right now, so we can all love each other.

From Isabella Incaviglia.


BROWN: Across the country, schoolkids writing letters to president-elect Barack Obama. We're sharing some of them with you every night. Tonight's letter, as you just heard, from Isabella Incaviglia, a third-grader at Vallecito Elementary School. That's in San Rafael, California.

And, of course, as we have been telling you, if you want to send us a video of your child's "Dear Mr. President" letter or your child's question, log on to our and you can do that.

Which national newspaper's readers just got pumped? Which congressman who blasted Barack Obama is now eating his words, sort of? It's all in tonight's PDB, the "Political Daily Briefing."

One man knows all about who's doing what in politics and that is Dana Milbank, CNN contributor and national political correspondent for "The Washington Post."

And, Dana, let's start with some pretty unflattering remarks made by a Georgia congressman about President-elect Obama. He's now backing off, kind of. What's going on here?

DANA MILBANK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Campbell, I'm not sure you can be a Nazi and a Marxist at the same time. But either way it looks like Paul Broun, a Republican congressman from Georgia, needs some time in the Gulag. He failed to heed the lesson of his colleague, Michele Bachmann, and nearly lost her seat after calling Obama anti- American.

Now, Broun has called Obama a Marxist and at the same time, compared him to Hitler. Now he's kind of apologized explaining that he only meant to say Obama's positions are Marxist.


MILBANK: In the future, Congressman Broun is expected to, shall we say, goose step more carefully around this issue.

BROWN: All right. You think?

Also, Dana, this is possibly my favorite story of the day. Former mega church Pastor Ted Haggard back in the news talking about his fall from grace. Let's listen to what he recently said.


VOICE OF TED HAGGARD, FORMER MEGA CHURCH PASTOR: I'm a stronger Christian than I've ever been in my life. I'm a stronger holiness guy than I've ever been in my life. I have a stronger marriage than I've ever had in my life. We have a stronger relationship with our children than we've ever had in my life.

I thank God that he completes the work that he begins in us. Amen.

Let's all stand up and pray.


BROWN: OK, Dana. I know you've been looking into this. What else is Haggard up to right now?

MILBANK: Well, he's back. And let's call it the Obama amnesty. In the days following the election, first, we had the disgraced candidate, John Edwards, coming out to give a speech. Then the fallen Congressman Mark Foley broke his silence with an interview. Now comes the return of Ted Haggard, the mega church pastor who preached family values at least until he was taken down a couple of years ago by a male prostitute claiming Haggard engaged in gay sex and took crystal meth.

Haggard preached at his friend's church, as you just heard on the second anniversary of his downfall, and disclosed that he has found a new outlet for his talents. He's selling insurance.

BROWN: So multitalented, who knew?

And, Dana, this past election brought many historic moments in American politics, including a very notable event in New Hampshire. Explain what happened. MILBANK: Well, Campbell, as you know, there are those who still believe a woman's place is in the house. But the state of New Hampshire prefers to have them in the Senate.

Voters there last week elected 13 women to the 24th member state Senate, making it the first legislative body in the country to have a female majority. On top of that, the state's former governor, Jeanne Shaheen, defeated John Sununu to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.

New Hampshire's other senator, Judd Gregg, is up for re-election in 2010. So just to be on the safe side, I recommend Judd might change his name to Judy.

BROWN: All right. Girl power. Off of that.

And finally, Dana, the paper of record, "New York Times," was the target of a prank today. What was that all about?

MILBANK: This is a delicious item and my colleagues and I at "The Washington Post" have long had our doubts about the truthfulness of "The New York Times." Now we have proof that they're making up the whole thing.

Left-wing group pranksters called "The Yes Men" distributed more than million fake copies of "The Times" nationwide today postdated it to the July 4th, 2009, reporting that the war in Iraq had ended, universal health care had been approved, and all gasoline engine cars had been recalled.

The hoax was so successful, in fact, that I'm thinking executives in our struggling industry might want a debate putting in fake news too in the papers every day.

BROWN: Yes. If it allows the bottom line right now, anything is possible.

Dana Milbank for us tonight. Dana, thanks.

MILBANK: Thanks, Campbell.

And coming up, Mark Foley, the Republican congressman caught sending x-rated instant messages to teenaged pages. Two years after he resigned, he's now speaking out about what he did and why he did it.


MARK FOLEY, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Oh, I'm sorry. I apologize. I don't even want to be crying on set. But they deserve to know that my failings and my actions are so embarrassing to my family, to my partner, and to them, and they trusted me. And I'm sorry I let them down.


BROWN: More ahead. And then later, Sarah Palin's message to Michelle Obama. You might be amazed by what she is telling the new first lady.


BROWN: A little bit of news outside of politics today, and we want to start you off right now with "The Briefing."

A 15-year-old girl Florida girl has been shot to death in her high school. It happened this morning in Fort Lauderdale. Witnesses say two girls were arguing in a hallway. One of them pulled a gun and fired. The suspected shooter is in custody right now.

A second school has collapsed down in Haiti. Nine people were hurt this morning after walls gave way at the Grace Divine School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. It happened just five days after another school crumbled, killing 93 people.

A price fixing scam with anything but a screen saver for consumers. Electronics firms LG, Sharp and Chunghwa have pleaded guilty and will pay $585 million in fines for conspiring to fix prices on LCD flat screens.

And Google is keeping track of everybody who gets the flu. If you have a headache or a fever, you can Google the words flu symptoms to see if you have it. Google Flu Trends tracks outbreaks around the country, and that helps the Centers for Disease Control detect them a little bit faster.

Straight ahead, our segment, "Welcome to the White House." Sarah Palin's advice for Michelle Obama.

Plus, what is the one item in the Lincoln bedroom that President- elect Obama insists absolutely must go?

And mirror image, same-sex marriage is outlawed on the West Coast and legalized on the East Coast. What's going on? We're going to try to answer that next.


BROWN: Still lots of protests and lots of controversy surrounding California's Proposition 8, of course, a ban of same-sex marriage in California that passed last week.

In the state of Connecticut, people there saw its first same-sex weddings today. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled last month that denying marriage rights to gays violates the state constitution. So basically where we are, is that it's OK in Connecticut but no longer OK in California. The country seemingly a little bit confused at the moment and so are we, frankly, which is why we are looking into all this with senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin, who's going to help us clear it up.

And, Jeffrey, there has been a huge backlash in California and around the country since Proposition 8 passed last week. But let's be honest here, the issue was put to voters. It passed. Can this really be reversed at this point?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Only if it gets on the ballot again and voters decide to reinstate gay marriage. There is a small possibility that the courts would overturn Proposition 8, but I think that's a remote possibility. This is now firmly in the democratic process, and I think that's where it's going to stay.

BROWN: You see tonight it's happening in New York. I think we're trying to get some tape of it right now. There are protesters who are picketing the New York headquarters of the LDS Church. You see it right there. That's the Mormon church. And they are blaming the church for getting out the vote for Prop 8.

And today, a spokesman for the church said that Mormons are being scapegoated here because in their words, "It can be made to appear the opposition is essentially one religion, that is, frankly, an often misunderstood religion, it's easier to make the case that the other size is reasonable."

So let's get to the bottom of it. I guess why the anger at the Mormons' role in getting this thing passed more so than anybody else?

TOOBIN: Well, certainly, there were a lot of Mormons involved in financing and supporting the effort in support of Proposition 8. The church itself did not take a formal position because the church is not allowed to take political views.

But you know, I think the protesters are completely within their rights just as the Mormons are within their rights using their First Amendment rights to say, look, we're for Proposition 8, we're against it, but this is how I think the system is supposed to work. Both sides are going to the streets, peacefully and openly.

BROWN: And to that point, many African-American voters in California who came out en masse for Barack Obama last Tuesday also voted for Prop 8, even though Obama himself opposed it. And there has been a lot of blame. We've seen it as these protests directed at African-Americans.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, this is one of the paradoxes of Proposition 8. You see, you had -- you know, a lot of African- American voters splitting their tickets, voting for Obama and also voting for Proposition 8.

There is a lot of social conservatism in the black community on the issue of marriage, and also, I think there is some resentment about gay people acting like their crusade is equal to the civil rights crusade of the '60s and '50s, and that analogy offends some African-Americans. It's a coalition that will have to be built or rebuilt if gay marriage is going to spread any farther than it already has.

BROWN: All right. Jeffrey Toobin for us tonight. Jeff, thanks.

TOOBIN: New York is next, though.

BROWN: We'll keep watching it and have you with us. Appreciate it.

Still to come tonight, a new name added to our dishonor roll. Remember the congressman who sent lewd text messages to teenage pages? We are paging him for our "Rogues Gallery."

Plus, tonight's "Bull's-Eye," dog lovers lobbying to get their favorite breed into the White House. Watch out, Obamas. These candidates really show their teeth.


BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" coming up in just a few minutes, and his special guest tonight is guess who? Governor Sarah Palin. They spoke a short while ago. Here's a preview.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: In hindsight, I wish I would have had more opportunities or that we would have seized more opportunities to speak more to the American people through the media. I didn't call the shots on the -- I didn't call the shots on a lot of that strategy, but I'm not going to look backwards and point fingers to blame in regards to the strategy.

Just suffice it to say, it's very, very important for candidates to be able to speak to the American voter. The electorate deserves to hear a person's positions, their values, their convictions, their plans, their records and their associations. I love the opportunity to get to talk to Americans about my own and John McCain.


BROWN: In just a few minutes, Governor Sarah Palin on "LARRY KING LIVE."

And coming up next, another dishonoree joins our "Rogues Gallery." Mark Foley, the one time congressman who couldn't keep his hands off the send text button.


BROWN: Time to induct a new member into our "No Bias, No Bull Rogues Gallery." But first, an update on one of our charter members, Democratic Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana. You remember him. He was the guy caught with $90,000 stashed in his freezer.

Well, today, a federal appeals court upheld bribery and corruption charges against Jefferson clearing the way for a trial. So does that mean his Capitol Hill career is caput? What would make you think that?

No, no, no, no, no. The good people of New Orleans are expected to re-elect Congressman Jefferson next month. And those are my people.

OK, turning now to our newest rogue. And does the name Mark Foley ring a bell? He's actually not our newest rogues. He's been around for a while.

He's a Florida Congressman who resigned in 2006 after getting caught sending lewd messages to teenage congressional pages. Well, he is back and he is talking, and talking and talking. And here is Joe Johns to tell us what he said.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: He is talking, that's for sure. After two years of silence, he's coming forward to set the record straight. Former Congressman Mark Foley now explaining what did and didn't happen before he left Capitol Hill in an uproar.


JOHNS (voice-over): He resigned in disgrace in the middle of a scandal involving teenage boys who were former congressional pages and lewd instant messages. That was two years ago, and we haven't heard from former Congressman Mark Foley since then, not until now.

MARK FOLEY (R), FORMER U.S REPRESENTATIVE: Oh, I'm sorry. I apologize. I don't even want to be crying on set. But they deserve to know that my failings and my actions are so embarrassing to my family, to my partner, and to them, and they trusted me. And I'm sorry I let them down.

JOHNS: The interview with Roxanne Stein of Florida TV station WPTV covers many things. It's an apology to the pages, the voters, and everyone who trusted him. It's an acknowledgment of a secret many people knew, that Mark Foley is gay, and it's a confession about his struggles with alcohol.

Remember these instant message exchanges? Foley: Do I make you a little horny? Teen: A little. Foley: Cool.

So why did he do it? He traces his problems back to his childhood. He says he was molested by a priest.

OK. It's been difficult for Foley and he is sorry. But he's adamant what he did versus what people say about him is very different. He says flirting with teenagers does not mean he's a pedophile.

FOLEY: I never had sex with a child. I never had sex with a minor. A pedophile is somebody who is having sex with a prepubescent person, and that is an outrage to be called that.

JOHNS: What made it so difficult to believe at the time that Foley was talking like this in cyberspace is that he always made child protection one of his big issues. One law he sponsored was supposed to protect them from online predators, which begs the question, didn't he ever think what he was doing was wrong?

FOLEY: I think in the back of your mind you know it's wrong. But when you've never confronted those very demons, when you've never addressed your basic, you know, why does somebody drink, why do they drink in excess? Why do they have the scars of sexual abuse in their past? JOHNS: OK. So Foley says his judgment was impaired and he behaved badly but not criminally. In fact, law enforcement officials recently said they would not prosecute him for anything. Though he doesn't say it explicitly, Foley is arguing that he is a victim.

FOLEY: I wish I would have confronted those demons. But there was a lot of hesitation because my parents had such deep faith and I didn't want to let them down. I didn't want to let them believe that a man of God could have done this to their son.

And so you keep it inside yourself. You hide it from everyone because you feel like it may have been my fault, and you try your best to move forward, ignoring that it happened.

When you're 12 years old, the priest is telling you this is healthy, this is good, and if you tell anybody, I'll kill myself. So your life is instantly changed. Doesn't make it right.

I regret to this day that incident and what I've done. But I can't change history.

JOHNS: Truer words were never spoken, and that's why Mark Foley, former Florida congressman, earned his place long ago in our "No Bias, No Bull Rogues Gallery."


JOHNS: One question is why after all this has Foley come forward now? He said it was at least partly because he wanted to stop the media from hounding him.

BROWN: What an interview.

All right. It's official. He is our newest member and our oldest member of the "Rogues Gallery," I guess. Former Florida Congressman Mark Foley.

And coming up, everybody, we're going to end on an up note tonight. This is the coolest Web site around. Non-allergenic possibilities for the White House puppy.

I'm telling you, you got to check this out. More than 10,000 people watching it right now live. That's why it's our "Bull's-Eye" tonight.


BROWN: Now, time for "Welcome to the White House." Our nightly update on the Obama family's move to Washington. And Erica Hill is here with that.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, we'll start off with a little motherly advice given today for Michelle Obama from a rather unexpected source, Sarah Palin. Here is what the Alaska governor told Wolf Blitzer just a short while ago. Take a listen.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, they have two sweet little adorable girls...


BLITZER: ... as you know. Do you have any advice for Michelle Obama right now who is about to become our first -- first lady?

PALIN: Oh. Oh, we --

BLITZER: Our first lady, I should say.

PALIN: Right. Right. Well, she is -- as I do in the governor's mansion in Juneau also, man, let the kids be kids. Let them have their friends come over. Let them hold onto that childhood, despite the fact that they are going to be in the public eye and in more formal settings and everything else.

Bring spunk and life into the White House. You do that via children being allowed to have fun and just be who they are. And they're just going to have a blast there. And it's going to be good for the country, also, to see that young life in the White House.

I think it's going to just brighten up our entire country. I look forward to that.


HILL: Well, meantime, the cabinet speculation continues, especially surrounding the all-important kitchen cabinets, and the White House chef who will control them.

According to the "Chicago Tribune," two top contenders are Rick Bayless, who has fed (ph) the First Couple at his Mexican restaurant, Topolobampo. Let's hope I pronounced that correctly. That's in Chicago.

Art Smith has the Oprah seal of approval because he was once her personal chef. Healthy and Mexican. Hey, how's that? I like that combo.

A third contender, Daniel Young, in a photo here from, who cooks for NBA star Carmelo Anthony. Quite a -- quite a list there.

Also, an inside tip though for any aspiring White House chef listening right now. Apparently, Barack Obama's favorite food is chili.

Malia Obama told "Entertainment Tonight," "I could eat ice cream forever." We'll see what her parents say about that.

The president-elect might also be in the market for a new barber, it turns out. Obama used to get his haircut once a week at the Hyde Park Hair Salon & Barber Shop in Chicago. But this week, aides said his barber came to him. He actually met Obama at a friend's apartment because of security concerns.

And one other change that may be coming when the Obamas get to the White House, which is perhaps not so welcome for those of us right here on this very show, taking out a flat screen TV in the Lincoln bedroom, Campbell. Senator, President-elect Obama, I should say, said, "You know what, it just didn't seem appropriate to me to have it in there. Who's going to watch "SportsCenter"? I think maybe we should be reading."

BROWN: But it was in there because President Bush used to watch "SportsCenter" in there.

HILL: Exactly. I think he should be watching "No Bias, No Bull."

BROWN: I couldn't agree more.

HILL: Just a thought. Just a thought.

BROWN: OK. So everybody knows, Erica, that the burning question in Washington right now is what about the new White House puppy?

Well, Sasha and Malia are waiting. We have found the next best thing. It is our "Bull's-Eye" tonight. The latest totally addictive Internet sensation. It is a live, 24-hour-a-day puppy cam featuring six Shiba Inu puppies. Is that right?

HILL: Shiba Inu, yes.

BROWN: Shiba Inu.

HILL: They're very sweet.

BROWN: Three males, three females. They're just five weeks old. No worries about allergies. says more than two million people have viewed puppy cam. I watched it all afternoon.

HILL: Yes.

BROWN: That's it for us.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.