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Campbell Brown

Democrats Reach Deal on Health Care Reform; Global Warming: Trick or Truth?

Aired December 09, 2009 - 20:00   ET



CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, breaking news from Pakistan: five Americans arrested.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: A Pakistani official however tells CNN he is confident that they were planning terrorist acts.

BROWN: Another American faces charges in the Mumbai massacre. How big is the threat of homegrown terrorism?


Plus, what is real price you will pay if Congress slashes health care costs? With the overhaul one step closer to reality...

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Senate made critical progress last night.

BROWN: ... can Congress really cut the fat without hurting the very people it's trying to help? Tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks down what it means for you.

And "Global Warming: Trick or Truth?" After all the controversy of stolen e-mails that critics say prove a hoax, you will hear from the one voice silent until now, tonight's newsmaker, former Vice President Al Gore.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are private e-mails more than 10 years old, and they have tried to blow it up into something that it's really not.

BROWN: Will those e-mails damage support for Gore's most passionate crusade, and what can President Obama expect to get out of his trip to the Copenhagen conference?


ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hi, everybody.

Tonight, much more from Al Gore on climate change, what he calls the noise machine and his take on President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.

But we are going to start tonight as always with the "Mash-Up." We're watching it all, so you don't have to.

Our top story tonight, increasing fears about homegrown terror. Five American men under arrest in Pakistan facing serious questions about just what they were doing there.


MESERVE: A Pakistani police official says he is confident that five men arrested in Pakistan were planning terrorist acts, and that they are the same five young people reported missing from Northern Virginia late last month.

One source says that one of those young men left behind a video.

NIHAD AWAD, SPOKESPERSON, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: I have seen the video and I was disturbed by the content. You can tell that this is a -- maybe a final statement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Among the missing, Ramy Zamzam, a Howard University dental student and his Facebook friend, Waqar Hassan Khan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None of these students appear to have had any kind of military-style training or to have made other preparations. They were not known to law enforcement before.

CHARLES GIBSON, HOST, "WORLD NEWS": Meanwhile, a Chicago man pleaded not guilty today to charges of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism overseas. David Headley is charged with helping to plan the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

JUAN ZARATE, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The dangerous elixir here is that you have Americans radicalized, reaching out to known terrorist organizations and going to fight and get trained, but potentially coming back into the homeland.


BROWN: We are going to have a lot more on these two stories tonight, including information on just what the government is doing to try to protect us from homegrown terror.

President Obama is in the air right now. He's heading to Norway to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize. It comes one week after he announced plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

The commander in charge of that war, General Stanley McChrystal, sat down with Christiane Amanpour for his first interview since the president's announcement. And she asked him how important it is to defeat the Taliban.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that if you don't get -- I don't want to say your act together, but get this fight done, that Taliban could take over Afghanistan again?

GENERAL STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, U.S. COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN: I think it's very important we get this -- this effort right and we -- we defeat the Taliban. And that...

AMANPOUR: Is there a risk that the Taliban could again be in control of Afghanistan?

MCCHRYSTAL: I believe that there is a risk that the insurgency could -- could cause Afghanistan to be unstable to the point that it would be a real risk to the region.

AMANPOUR: And if they did, would al Qaeda come back?

MCCHRYSTAL: Absolutely. I believe that they would.

AMANPOUR: Why is there so queasy an attitude to the word "defeat"? I mean, isn't a military meant to defeat its enemy?

MCCHRYSTAL: It is interesting, because in military definition, "defeat" does not mean eradicate or wipe out an enemy. It means prevent them from being able to accomplish their mission. That, in fact, is what we are trying to do with the Taliban.


BROWN: And once again, McChrystal says the overall goal in Afghanistan remains unchanged, to prevent al Qaeda from setting up shop there once again.

Before taking off for Norway, President Obama weighed in on tentative Senate accord on health care. His top priority moving one step closer to reality, but tonight many questions still remain.


DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anxious to move forward on his top priority, the president praised a tentative agreement to drop a public option from the Senate health care bill.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I support this effort, especially since it's aimed at increasing choice and competition and lowering costs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The deal, according to negotiators, includes two new proposals, first a nonprofit national insurance plan. Unlike the public option, this coverage would be provided by private insurers. But the government would negotiate the rates.Another huge change, Medicare 10 years earlier. At just 55, those who qualify could pay the premiums, be covered they Medicare, which right now it kicks in at 65.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans said expanding Medicare is a terrible idea because the program is already going bankrupt. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last thing you want to think about when the Titanic is sinking is put grandma and more of your family on the boat.


BROWN: Of course, the health care wars far from over. Many people are concerned that cutting costs will mean cutting vital care. And Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to joining us a little bit later tonight to separate fact from fiction on that front.

Down in South Carolina, Jenny Sanford is speaking out about her "Appalachian hiking, Argentinean mistress having" husband, the governor. She spills all to ABC's Barbara Walters.


BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Your husband called this woman in Argentina his soul mate. What did that feel like?



J. SANFORD: yes.

WALTERS: Do you think you were his soul mate?

J. SANFORD: Well, clearly not.

WALTERS: Did you think this marriage can survive?

J. SANFORD: I think the hurdles are significant.


BROWN: So, wonder if Governor Sanford is watching that interview? Listen to what he told reporters today.


GOV. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: She's been a real grace under fire. And I think it made a lot of people in this state and in this country quite proud.


QUESTION: Are you watching tonight?

QUESTION: You going to watch it.

M. SANFORD: You will never know.



BROWN: The governor did have one thing to smile about today. South Carolina lawmakers have decided not to impeach him. He will instead be censured for bringing ridicule, dishonor, disgrace and shame -- those are direct quotes there -- to his state.

And that brings us to the "Punchline" tonight. This is courtesy of Mr. Jimmy Kimmel, who takes a shot at a favorite target, Sarah Palin.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": A man was arrested at the Mall of America yesterday throwing tomatoes at Sarah Palin. Neither of them came close to hitting her. Instead, he hit a cop and now might be charged with assaulting a police officer.

They released his mug shot today. He looks familiar. But I cannot figure out...



BROWN: Jimmy Kimmel, everybody.

And that is the "Mash-Up."

Still to come tonight, new worries that terrorist groups can recruit Americans inside the United States. We are going to tell what you has law enforcement so concerned tonight.

And "Global Warming: Trick or Truth?" Al Gore speaks out on the climategate e-mail controversy.


GORE: So if you take one little thing from 10 years ago out of context and describe it inaccurately, then it becomes a controversy without any real substance.



BROWN: A dental student from Howard University is among five Americans under arrest in Pakistan tonight. A Pakistani police official tells CNN they are confident the young men were planning terrorist attacks. Though they have not been charged, Pakistani police believe they may have been trying to link up with known militant organizations there.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says such extremist groups are a constant concern. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: We have been well aware of the threats that we continue to face along with friends and allies around the world. We know that much of the training and the direction for terrorists comes from Pakistan and the border area with Afghanistan.

We know we have got to work more closely with both Afghanistan and Pakistan to try to root out the infrastructure of terrorism that continues to recruit and train people who are willing to do what is alleged with Mr. Zazi, David Headley, and others in the recent cases that have come to light.


BROWN: And Najibullah Zazi, David Headley, and now these five young men, as Secretary Clinton just pointed out there, tonight, we want to know, how much of a threat is homegrown terrorism?

And joining us to talk about is CNN senior political analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend, also former security adviser to President Bush.

But, first, let's get the very latest on this from CNN's homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve, who has been following all these developments from Washington.

And, Jeanne, give us a sense of what U.S. officials are saying. Are these five guys arrested in Pakistan the same people who went missing near Washington?

MESERVE: Well, I will tell you, the Pakistani officials are being definitive about this. They are saying, yes, they are one and the same and that they were trying to link up with terrorist groups in Pakistan, perhaps unsuccessfully.

U.S. officials, however, are not saying this. They say they are not yet able to confirm that the five arrested in Pakistan are the five who disappeared from Northern Virginia, but it's the working assumption amongst government officials that, yes, they are the same ones.

The ones that disappeared from Northern Virginia, young Muslims, aged 19 to 25, all of them U.S. citizens, their parents became concerned about their whereabouts. That information eventually made it to the FBI. They started to check them out. An FBI official says they had never surfaced on their radar before, they didn't know these people and they are still looking into this matter.

BROWN: So, do they think, Jeanne, that they were planning an attack?

MESERVE: Well, let me point out, as you did in your lead-in, that no charges have been filed here.

Of course, the investigation is in full swing, and they are trying to determine if they were going over there for training, if they wanted to strike U.S. targets abroad or here at home, or if maybe they were going to wage jihad overseas.

I spoke to one law enforcement official who says, given the information they have now, which is still quite sketchy, they think that what they might have had in mind on jihad overseas, rather than striking American target, but again, no charges filed, investigation still very much under way.

BROWN: And there is a video, Jeanne, that one of the men left behind. Tell us about it.

MESERVE: Yes, one of them left behind. And the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a press conference today. And a couple of people there had seen the video. They said it was about 11 minutes long. They found it very disturbing.

They described it not as a jihadi video, but as a farewell video. They did say it gave some indication of what these young men were leaving to do. But then they wouldn't spell out what that was, beyond saying that they talked about some current world events and that young Muslims had an obligation to play a part. So, hopefully, we will learn more.

BROWN: All right, Jeanne -- Jeanne Meserve.

Want to bring in Fran Townsend.

It seems like, correct me if I'm wrong, that we are hearing a lot more about cases like this, these homegrown terrorists. Compare that, how difficult it is to deal with it, to trying to deal with threats abroad.

FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, the big thing that we emphasized in the last few years was strengthening border security. There's not a -- there shouldn't be a surprise that what that means is, our enemies adapt. So they understood.

And you remember hearing Secretary Chertoff talk about this while he was still at the department, that what they would do is look to recruit young Americans either...

BROWN: Who are already here.

TOWNSEND: American citizens who are already here or legal permanent residents.

BROWN: Right.

TOWNSEND: We are now seeing that. We are now seeing the fruits of al Qaeda's recruitment and training of those individuals.

We have been working for many years with our allies around the world and intelligence services to track travel patterns, suspicious travel patterns. Of course, there are law-abiding Muslims who go back to their home countries to visit family. The problem is, in there, in that travel somewhere, is often individuals, young men typically, who are going to tribal areas to get training, be recruited for particular operations. You know, this is also not unusual. We have seen it in the Somali community, you will remember, in Minneapolis, where, all of a sudden, families were concerned about their sons disappearing.

So, this isn't the first time we have heard this sort of a story. We are just hearing it more often.

BROWN: And to that point, Jeff, let me ask you about David Headley, who is this man arrested in Chicago accused of planning the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. What do we know about this case?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is like a John Le Carre novel. His story is so incredible.

He was born to a Pakistani father and a Philadelphia mother in Washington, D.C. His name was Daood Gilani. But his parents split up. He lived his first 17 years in Pakistan, moved to Philadelphia, where his mother ran a bar. He helped run the bar, wasn't very good at it, wound up getting involved in the heroin business, was convicted of dealing heron, became an informant for the government, was released from prison, then moved to Chicago and the authorities now say was involved in helping the Pakistanis plan the attack on Mumbai in India almost a year ago.

You got all that? I mean, it's just -- you know, again, it's like a novel.


BROWN: So is it -- are we drawing too many conclusions from this if we say this is a sign we're seeing these cases that more and more American Muslims are being radicalized, or...

TOOBIN: I don't know if you can say more and more. But this is the nightmare scenario, because the one thing you could say about 9/11 is, the people who did it were all from overseas. If you strengthen the borders, you can stop people like that.

And we, fortunately, seem to have done that. But American citizens travel freely. They don't have to register with the government. They don't have to tell anybody where they're going. That is why we love being Americans. But it also allows people to plan jihad if they are so inclined.

BROWN: So, how does the FBI deal with this? Do they have the resources they need? It's a lot harder to track, as you pointed out, and fight this problem.

TOWNSEND: Well, they now have a national security division that is devoted to the prevention of terrorist attacks, not just the investigation. And so the gathering of domestic intelligence, it's been very controversial. Americans rightly worry about the protection of their civil rights and civil liberties. But, under the existing legal structure, there is a lot they can do. It requires them to work very closely with state and local police departments, because, after all, these guys get radicalized in local communities. And so you need the local police, you need the local mosques, and you need the local Muslim communities to identify those who are outside the bounds, as we are understanding happened in the Northern Virginia case, where their families did.

This is how they target this sort of activity in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They rely on families to actually report what they call aberrant behavior.

TOOBIN: But it's not entirely clear how good we are at doing this. The FBI, what they do traditionally is find crimes, prosecute criminals. The mind-set changes to prevent crimes, terrorist crimes, before they take place.

The laws make it harder to do it, and it's just hard to identify people in advance.

BROWN: All right, it's something we are going to keep watching and talking about a lot more often.

Fran Townsend, Jeffrey Toobin, and Jeanne Meserve earlier for joining us a well, thanks to everybody.

We have an update tonight on the story of that massive airport security breach we told you about. The federal government is now going after some of those blamed for posting what is being called a how-to guide for terrorists.

And also tonight our newsmaker, former Vice President Al Gore. The man behind "An Inconvenient Truth" is not holding back about the global warming e-mail scandal, when we come back.


BROWN: The president says he can pay for health care reform by cutting waste. Tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta on what that could mean for your family's coverage.


BROWN: When you think global warming, you probably think Al Gore. Well, tonight, what the former vice president has to say about climategate.


GORE: Does the noise machine of the climate deniers blow them out of proportion and fool some people into thinking they have substance? Well, that's another -- that's another matter.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: Tonight's newsmaker: former Vice President Al Gore. He is never at a loss of words when it comes to the environment, but he has kept silent on the scandal over e-mails stolen from a climate change lab in Great Britain until now.

Today, Gore broke his silence about those e-mails and a whole more. He sat down with John Roberts and Kiran Chetry on "AMERICAN MORNING."


JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": First and foremost among them, I'm sure that you're familiar with what's being done, climategate, University of East Anglia, the Climatic Research Center, all of those e-mails that were hacked. We saw language like, trick, used, hide the decline, resistance to Freedom of Information Act requests. I wonder what your thoughts are about this. And on the surface at the very least, does it look suspicious?

GORE: Well, they took a few phrases out of context. These are private e-mails, more than 10 years old, and they have tried to blow it up into something that is really not.

Just to pick one example, some of those exchanges you're talking about had to do with years ago whether or not a study that they thought was of poor quality and shouldn't belong in the scientific report should be excluded from the report. Well, they had exchanges back and forth. It ended up in the report.


GORE: Fully analyzed and discussed. So if you take one little thing from ten years ago out of context and describe it inaccurately, then it becomes a controversy without any real substance.

ROBERTS: Some of them were from 10 years but many of them were far more recent than that, some as recent as last year. You know, I talked with Professor Peter Liss, who is the interim director of the Climatic Research Unit. He thought that, in fact, this would have some sort of an impact on public opinion, that people who weren't sure or were skeptical might become more so. What do you think?

GORE: Well, that's a separate question. Is there any substantive reason to worry about them? No. Does the noise machine of the climate deniers blow them out of proportion and fool some people into thinking they have substance? Well, that's another -- that's another matter. And I don't know how to respond to that.

Over time the scientific process whereby all these scientists pick over every detail openly and fully, that process works and that's the process they followed.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: You won in 2007 a Nobel Peace Prize for your work on climate change. And, as we know, President Obama will be accepting his Peace Prize. And there are some critics that say, show us what he's done to deserve it. What's your take on that?

GORE: Well, I think he is eminently deserving of the prize.

I think, in a short period of time, he has brought about a dramatic transformation in the ability of the United States to once again provide moral leadership in the world. He has addressed the longstanding conflicts between the United States and some parts of the world that kind of close their minds to us.

He has been very proactive in trying to bring about the stop of spread -- the spreading of nuclear weapons. He's addressed these areas of conflict around the world. So, I thought it was a well- deserved recognition.

ROBERTS: Even supporters of the president have said that this is an award given not so much for things he has done, as opposed to potential, things that he might do. Do you see it that way?

GORE: No, I don't.

ROBERTS: And what does he have to do to live up to that award going forward?

GORE: Well, I think that it strengthens his hand in the years ahead. But the Nobel Committee made it clear that, in their view, his actions already, just in his first year as president, merit the award.

CHETRY: Which leads me to my question about what you hope comes out of this Copenhagen conference. I mean, even in a best-case scenario, you have the E.U. promising more than President Obama may promise.

GORE: Yes.

CHETRY: And he could still face a lot of pushback at home dealing with the wars and dealing with health care as well.

GORE: Yes.

CHETRY: I mean, how much is a political reality?

GORE: Well, I think this meeting, sometime toward the end of next week, we will probably see a political agreement among the heads of state gathered there, including President Obama, that will give instructions to the negotiators to fill in the details and get a binding treaty early next year. But in this political agreement they're shooting for, they will hope to also get specific commitments country by country to start the reductions process sooner than would start if we just waited for the treaty next year.


BROWN: Former Vice President Al Gore. Tonight, the global warming debate you haven't heard much about. If you agree that it is a real threat, then what do we need to do about it? You're going to hear from two experts with differing views on that.


BROWN: President Obama's trip to the U.N. climate conference is nearing, but tonight there are signs of strain between the U.S. and China on global warming. Each pointing fingers at the other in Copenhagen. Each saying the other needs to go beyond words, improve their commitments to cutting emissions.

Well, this week, as part of our special series "Global Warming: Trick or Truth," we have brought you those who believe and those who doubt the threat. Well, now we're moving the discussion forward. Both my guests agree that global warming is real. But the question now is what do we do about it?

And here to walk us through some of the ideas, some of the potential solutions are Bjorn Lomborg, who is the author of "The Skeptical Environmentalist." He is in Copenhagen for us tonight. And here in New York, Alan Robock, who's director of meteorology at Rutgers University with us as well.

First, the solution everybody is talking about, Bjorn, at the Copenhagen conference is cutting carbon emissions. You're not a climate scientist, you're a political scientist, and you think that's the wrong focus. Explain to people why.

BJORN LOMBORG, "THE SKEPTICAL ENVIRONMENTALIST": Well, basically, everybody here are going to promise grand cuts in carbon emissions but we're not actually going to follow through on them. And how do we know? Because we've tried this strategy for 18 years. We tried in 1992 in Rio. We promised to cut carbon emissions, and we did no such thing.

Then we got together in Kyoto in 1997 and promised even grander carbon cuts. And we didn't do them either. So the point here is not that we shouldn't cut carbon emissions, but it's how we should do it. It's really putting the cart in front of the horse when you're just trying to say we should have these limits but don't actually have the technology.

What we do need is the technology. That's about investing and research and development to get much better green technologies so everyone will buy them, including the Chinese and the Indians.

BROWN: All right. Let me get Alan's take on that. Alan, as a climate scientist, cutting emissions is, you know, on the agenda. It's sort of item number one. What's your response to what Bjorn just said?

ALAN ROBOCK, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Well, I don't think the past behavior is necessarily what's going to happen in the future. I agree with him that we need to develop the technology, green technology, that will produce jobs and that will help us cut emissions.

BROWN: But you're just saying everyone is finally sort of woken up and after 18 years of doing things one way we're going to change? ROBOCK: Well, we need pressure from the government to do it. For the last eight years, the fossil fuel industry has been very strong in the United States and the United States has done nothing to reduce greenhouse gas missions.

Everything has changed now with Obama as president. And John Holder as his science adviser, they've committed to reducing emissions from the U.S. But we need -- carbon is too cheap, so we need some sort of push from the government, a carbon tax or a cap and trade system that makes it economically viable to reduce emissions.

BROWN: So -- so that the incentives are there.

ROBOCK: Another potential solution here that's getting a lot of tension, geoengineering. Bjorn, explain for us what that is, why you advocate that as a short-term solution.

LOMBORG: Well, basically, geoengineering is about changing the earth's climate and making it cooler. One of the things we asked some of the world's top economists to look at some of the best solutions in the world from cap and trade to carbon capture to green energy research and to geoengineering. What they found was if you invest in things like marine cloud whitening, essentially making clouds a little whiter by putting up salt in the atmosphere, which is an entirely natural process but amplifying it, you make the clouds a little whiter. They reflect sunlight off the earth, and it becomes a little cooler. And actually for just $9 billion, the estimates show that you can actually avoid all of global warming for the 21st century. Now that's about a thousand to 10,000 times cheaper than anything else we're talking about.

Now, let me just point out. We still need to do research to make sure that this is safe.

BROWN: Right.

LOMBORG: But it's certainly something that we should be looking into.

BROWN: Alan, I know this is a specialty of yours and you think there are a lot of downsides to this.

ROBOCK: First of all, there is no technology to make clouds brighter or to put a cloud of particles in the stratosphere to block out the sun. The technology just doesn't exist, so we need to do research to see even if it's possible.

Also, we've done climate model stimulation to see what would be the effects of emulating a volcano or blocking out sunlight for a while. We can learn from the 1991 Pinatubo eruption that indeed a volcanic eruption can cool the climate. But it also produced drought. It destroyed ozone, and it reduced solar power. Our climate models show that if we did permanent geoengineering, there might be a huge threat to the food supply for people in India and China because we will reduce the strength of the summer monsoon. BROWN: All right. So clearly not an immediate solution if anything. And I want to move on to another point, Bjorn, so we don't run out of time. You say that if you could run the Copenhagen conference, you'd have everyone pledge not to cut emissions but to spend money on green technology, but that's going to give us a lot more bang for our buck. Explain.

LOMBORG: Yes, that's exactly what the climate economists including three Nobel laureates judged. When they looked at all the different options, they basically pointed out if we try to cut carbon emissions dramatically, for every dollar we spend, we probably avoid about two cents of climate damage. Whereas for every dollar we spend on investing in research and development in green energy technology, we do 500 times better or avoid about $11 of climate damage.

So clearly, if we want to do good for climate, let's spend our money where we'll end up doing a lot of good essentially by making sure that the Chinese and the Indians can afford green energy very, very soon.

BROWN: Alan, what do you think?

ROBOCK: I certainly agree that we have to invest in green technologies, but that is reducing emissions. I don't understand why he thinks that these two things are different. We have to use energy more efficiently and put less CO2 in the atmosphere, and that's the solution. They aren't different. They're the same thing.

BROWN: Bjorn?

LOMBORG: Well, fundamentally, asking to cut carbon emissions mainly mean you use the technologies that are already on the shelf. We've looked at the countries that abided to the Kyoto protocol and actually it turns out they did not increase their research and development and actually went down slightly. Why? Because you go for technology that's on the shelf. You don't try to get technological breakthroughs for 10, 20 or 30 years ahead. So we do need to focus much more on the long term solution that's not just going to make well-meaning Westerners cut a little bit but make everybody cut a lot.

BROWN: In the interest of ending on common ground --

ROBOCK: I agree we need new technology. We can't use current technology, but government incentives will make us produce technology much faster and it is possible to do quite easily if that's the focus of our policy.

BROWN: Well, let me thank you both. We got to end it there. But Alan Robock here with me in New York and Bjorn Lomborg, who is in Copenhagen tonight. A great conversation. Appreciate it, guys. Thank you.

And our Dr. Sanjay Gupta here tonight to look at whether fraud and waste can really be cut out of our health care system without making your coverage worse. He'll also weigh in on a new study that says germs may be a good thing for your kids, when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: A big thumbs up today from President Obama for Senate Democrats' health care deal. The White House is happy to see progress even if it means the public option is off the table. But as we inch closer to the end of this health care debate, plenty of tough questions remain. Health care in this country costs over $2 trillion. So what will be cut? How will reform affect your insurance coverage? Just a little while ago, I talked with our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, about this.


BROWN: So, Sanjay, walk us through some of the specifics. Aren't they places where we can cut cost on procedures and tests where it actually might be better for us?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think so, you know. And I think there's sort of this umbrella theory that, you know, we pay way too much and get way too little. It's something that really does gain a lot of traction when talking about health care reform. And, you know, there's this idea that, you know, we're starting to toy with this term that makes people's eyes glaze over called comparative effectiveness. We do lots of procedures. We do lots of testing. Do we really know it leads to a better outcome?

And I think, Campbell, I think a lot of people will be surprised at how much we don't know about that. But to your point and in, you know, can we use generic drugs, for example, more often than we use brand name drugs? Can we cut down on the number of tests that we ordered?

There was a study that found I think you'll find interesting, Campbell. If a particular office, say a medical complex or a doctor's office has certainly tests available in the office like an ultrasound machine or an MRI machine, they're far more likely to get the test. Now, of course, it doesn't mean patients who go there need those tests more. But, you know, if you have a hammer, everything becomes a nail and there I think lies part of the problem.

BROWN: So what does that mean then in the context of the debate we're having right now? I mean, would the MRIs, I guess, be on the chopping block, or, you know, the sonogram machine?

GUPTA: You know, I don't think so. And I think, you know, obviously MRIs have a lot of legitimate uses. Tumors, for example, we talked about this just a couple weeks ago about women with breast cancer or high risk and MRI might be a good test for them. But, you know, the reality is if you look at the number of MRIs ordered and whether or not it leads to better outcomes for all sorts of things, low back pain, for example, what we tend to find and study after study is that ordering more of those tests doesn't -- you know, end up with a patient having better relief of their lower back pain.

So if that's the goal, which it is for patients, they just want to feel better. Having more tests available to them may not always lead to that better outcome. So I don't think on the chopping block, but maybe less ordering of those tests.

BROWN: And we have heard President Obama talk repeatedly about just cutting wastes to more generally out of the system. Where do you think most of the waste is coming from?

GUPTA: Well, there appears to be a few big areas. You know, health I.T. becomes a big buzz word because of how much paperwork is in doctors' offices and hospitals in general. But also there's this sort of more nuance idea, Campbell, about something known as fee for service. You pay. Doctors and hospitals get reimbursed for every single service that they provide as opposed to taking care of the patient as a whole.

So if a patient gets readmitted to the hospital, the hospital gets reimburse every single time. But if you have more of a system where you take care of the patient as a whole, then you start to cut down on the waste of paying each time. And also, errors, medication errors, medical errors overall, obviously, everyone wants to cut down on those but making a real concerted effort either through technology and other incentives also appears to be a big fertile area with regards to cutting down waste.

BROWN: And you talk to doctors about health care cost, reducing health care costs. One of the first things they complained about is the insurance company paperwork. How much is that affect I guess the patient's bottom line?

GUPTA: I think that -- you know, when I toured around the country talking to primary care doctors in particular, when I say why is there such a primary care doctor shortage in this country, about 16,000 primary care doctors short? That's what they point to, Campbell. They say that that paperwork, that sort of arduous relationship between, you know, the doctor and the insurance company and filling all that out. I think it's a huge role.

And I will say, you know, even with health I.T. implemented, it's not going to evaporate overnight. I mean, there's a lot of paperwork that's still going to need to be done. But I think over time, they're going to start to hopefully systemize these things a little bit more.

What's also interesting is by collecting all of that data from patients -- you know, Campbell goes in with X problems. You've got this treatment at work. They'll start to figure out sort of more globally or at least nationally what really works for patients and what's best practices for people in the future.

BROWN: All right. Sanjay, stand by for us. We're going to come back to you in just a moment on another subject.


BROWN: But before that, "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a minute. And, Larry, what have you got for us?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Campbell, we've got more on the breaking news from Pakistan where missing U.S. students were arrested there planning -- were they planning terrorist attacks? Hard to believe.

Plus, it's war and peace for President Obama. He's on his way to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Still answering questions about a troop buildup in Afghanistan. And a California lawmaker is pulling the plug on efforts to honor Tiger Woods with a coveted award. We're going to talk about that and lots of other things next on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Now back to you, Campbell, and the good doctor.

BROWN: All right. Larry, thanks very much.

Straight ahead, are patients who try to keep their kids ultra clean -- or parents, rather, not patients -- parents who try to keep their kids ultra clean with hand sanitizers and soaps, are they actually putting their kids at greater risk?

A new study suggests just that. We'll have the facts for you when we come back.


BROWN: Stop keeping your kids so clean. That is the headline from a new study at Northwestern University. Researchers think exposure to germs at an early age can actually help prevent serious illnesses later in life, and they're talking about illnesses like heart disease and cancer even.

Joining me once again with the facts on this study, our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Also here, Lenore Skenazy, who is a mom who prides herself on less is more when it comes to raising children. She's also the author of the book "Free Range Kids."

So, Sanjay, pretty incredible to sort of link heart disease in adults with germs and kids.

GUPTA: Right.

BROWN: Explain the connection to us.

GUPTA: Well, it's a little bit counterintuitive. But the way to think about it really is that kids who have exposure to germs early on in life sort of prime the immune system. They have an immune system that sort of gets primed by these germs. And what's interesting is there's this key ingredient known as CRP, or C-reactive protein. It's a measure of inflammation. People who have more CRP tend to be likely to suffer from heart disease.

Kids who are exposed to germs, again, early in life, tend to have less CRP. So the immune system is primed, it works well, and you have less inflammation in the body overall. So, that seems to be the link as far as less heart disease later in life.

BROWN: So would you go so far as to say that it's a good thing for your kids to get sick early in life?

GUPTA: Well, you know --

BROWN: Not to sick, obviously.

GUPTA: Well, you're the new mom, right? So I'm sure you think about this all the time. But, you know, I think there are some germs out there that are obviously nasty ones. You and I talked a lot about H1N1, for example, this year.

But, you know, kids played in the dirt for thousands of years and, you know, for the most part, we're fine. But even more than that, there's something to this idea that, you know, milder exposures early on in life lead to this likely idea that you're not going to have these catastrophic infectious diseases later on where your immune system is suddenly surprised by something. To get small, small inoculations for lack of a better word, that may not be such a bad thing.

BROWN: So what do you recommend to people here, Sanjay? Because with all the concerns about swine flu, we have been washing our hands like crazy, sanitizing with Purell and everything else more than ever.

GUPTA: Yes. You know, it's funny in our house we sort of have the five-second rule. You know, as far as, you know, food falls on the floor and that we won't eat it after five seconds, which people always look at me like I'm crazy. But the reality is that I think a small amount of germs is probably not such a bad thing.

We do tend to wash our hands a lot. We also keep an eye on surfaces, especially in areas like the kitchen, where you going to have a higher likelihood of having some nastier germs. But things like air sanitizers, for example, that's probably a waste of money. I mean, unless you're within six feet of someone who's sick, sanitizing all the air all the time probably just has no benefit.

BROWN: Lenore, as a mom, you've taken this on --


BROWN: The world's filthiest mom, OK. You said it, not me. But you flipped it to sort of the cultural implications of this.

SKENAZY: Well, what's interesting to me is that there are a lot of products being sold to us from Purell to things like this -- baby kneepads. The --

BROWN: So what? Knees don't get dirty.

SKENAZY: No. The whole idea is that whatever your baby is born with it's not enough to keep them alive. You have to suddenly douse them with Purell. You have to pad them as if they're going of into battle. You have to buy things like this is anti-microbial scissors, as if they're not going to touch anything all day except the scissors. It's just a bizarre idea. But the idea that parents can be sold anything if they're told that their children's health and development depends on it. As Dr. Gupta was saying, I mean, we raised children for millions of years without these things. Why do we suddenly need Purell and baby kneepads?

BROWN: Are you feeling validated by the study?

SKENAZY: I love this study. This study made me so happy because I've always seen so obvious that children should be playing outside. They're happy, they're healthy, they're in the dirt. It's what they were -- you know what we've evolved to have in our childhood. It's part of childhood and to take it away is taking away, as we've just learned, a crucial part of their immunization.

BROWN: All right. I wish I could be as relaxed about this as Lenore is. I'm working on it, though.

SKENAZY: You're good enough.

BROWN: All right. Lenore and Sanjay, as always, Sanjay, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

SKENAZY: Thank you.

BROWN: And "LARRY KING LIVE" is going to start in just a few moments. But first, HLN's Mike Galanos back with tonight's "Guilty Pleasure," the video we just can't resist.

Mike, what have you got?

MIKE GALANOS, HLN PRIME NEWS: The video and the song we couldn't resist, Campbell. We know Orrin Hatch as the Republican senator from Utah. Well, here's Orrin Hatch, the songwriter. A little twist. It's a holiday tune called "Eight Days of Hanukkah." And there's video of him helping out in the studio. Let's watch and listen.


MUSIC: Eight days of Hanukkah come let's celebrate come let's celebrate tonight. La, la, la, la, la. La, la, la, la. La, la, la, la, la, la.


GALANOS: There you go. Now, he didn't sing much there but he wrote the song. Senator Hatch, Mormon, by the way.

BROWN: Yes, I was going to say.

GALANOS: He's actually a musician.

BROWN: Senator Hatch, non-Jew, but go ahead.

GALANOS: Veteran musician, songwriter. He says he hopes Barbra Streisand covers one of his tunes someday. I think this all started with a journalist and he asked the journalist, you ever heard of my love songs? The journalist is like, no, you've got any Hanukkah songs? Nine years later, there you go. BROWN: OK. That was interesting stuff there.


BROWN: Definitely a guilty pleasure.

Mike Galanos for us tonight. Mike, thanks very much.

A program mote for you. Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning starting at 6:00 Eastern as President Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize. CNN is there live with a special edition of AMERICAN MORNING. And live coverage of the ceremony begins at 7:00 Eastern.

That's it for us. Thanks for joining us. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts at the top of the hour.