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CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Mitt Romney/Marine Murder Manhunt

Aired January 14, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, political crunch time in Michigan -- it's do or die for native son Mitt Romney.
What is he thinking on the eve of this pivotal GOP primary?

And then, the latest on the worldwide manhunt for that fugitive Marine -- the prime suspect in the grizzly killing of a pregnant fellow Marine. She asked for protection from him, but didn't get it.

Did she and her baby have to die?

And Britney Spears -- she comes to court and goes to church, then is ordered to stay away from her kids.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with the former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney.

It's on the line tomorrow.

How does it look?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It looks very good, Larry. I'm pretty -- pretty happy being in Michigan. Of course, this is where I was born and raised, where my parents lived and where my dad was governor. And it feels like coming home. And I'm -- I'm pretty proud to be here. So it feels pretty good.

KING: Do you think it's imperative that you win tomorrow?

ROMNEY: Well, I'd like to win tomorrow. And I think it's important. It would be a huge boost to me. I've already won more votes than anybody else running on the Republican side for president. And I think I've got more delegates than anybody at this point. That's a tough -- a tough measure to make. But getting Michigan, a big state -- the first big state -- would be an enormous boost.

But if, for some reason I didn't, I, of course, am going on. This is not a two or three or four state contest. This is something that's critical and I'm going to keep on battling to make sure that the America have a candidate who can lead our economy and, of course, help this state get out of a one state recession.

KING: Now, since the Democrats are not in competition tomorrow -- they have chosen to sort of boycott this because they made it earlier -- Democrats and Independents can cross over in Michigan tomorrow.

Do you think that will have any telling effect on the Republican race?

ROMNEY: You know, it's really hard to forecast how many Democrats will decide to come over and vote on the Republican side. There may be some who will do what they did in 2000, which is come and vote for Senator McCain. They did that in huge numbers in 2000. But I think this time it's also possible some may come over and say, you know, Mitt Romney's dad, George Romney, was a guy who fought for the people of Michigan, did a good job, brought more jobs to Michigan and if the kid is anything like the father, he would be good for us, too. So maybe I can get some boost of some Democrats come over and vote.

KING: As you know, I knew your father. I interviewed him a number of times. He would have been more on the liberal Republican side than you.

Would you agree?

ROMNEY: Well, you know, the -- the world has changed a lot.

KING: Yes.

ROMNEY: He was with me in '94 when I was running against Ted Kennedy. And he was as conservative as I was. You see, he would not be for same-sex marriage. He was also opposed, of course, to any discrimination against people. But he would have felt marriage was between a man and a woman.

So, you know, the world has changed and I think my dad would have been unmovable. They called him "The Brick" because he was solid as a rock. And I think -- I think I've inherited some of that. I sure hope so.

KING: OK. A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 61 percent of Americans believes the United States economy is now in a recession.

Is that a false belief?

ROMNEY: Well, it could be. It's, you know, up to the economists to measure what's happening to the GNP. At this stage, there's no indication that we've seen that kind of a decline yet. But it's very possible for us to slip into a recession. And for that reason, it's important for the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates low, to provide additional credit into the market.

I've also proposed a special tax program that would let middle income people earning $200,000 a year and less save their money tax- free -- no tax on interest, dividends, capital gains. That's more capital in the market. It allows middle income people to get a break on their savings.

KING: Did this economic problem sort of creep up on us?

A month ago, we can't find any of the candidates talking a great deal about it and now it's number one.

ROMNEY: Well, I think anyone has to recognize that, short-term, the economy is going to vacillate and when you see a downturn, you get real concerned and want to take corrective action.

But long-term, this has been an issue that I know I've been talking about from the very beginning, which is the challenge we face -- particularly from Asia. China is a new Asian tiger. India is a tough competitor. We're seeing our dollar decline over a long, slow slide, because people have less and less confidence in our future.

We're going to have a president that understands the economy. I spent 25 years in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go. And I'm going to fight to strengthen America's economy long- term, so we can have the kind of bright future that our kids deserve.

KING: Why is Michigan in such trouble?

ROMNEY: Well, Michigan has endured a number of indignities, if you will. The auto industry, which has always led the world, had a number of burdens placed upon its back over the years. The first was CAFE requirements that caught them by surprise. And then, of course, they had the burden of very high health care costs -- a large number of retirees with a legacy cost which is extraordinarily high. They also faced the fact that we have in our automobiles and other manufactured products in this country embedded taxes -- taxes that are tacked on.

Our foreign competitors have those taxes refunded by their governments. We can't do that here.

And, as a result, our car companies are at a real disadvantage. We've lost jobs. Some people say well, those jobs are just going to go away. But, you know, we still have hundreds of thousands -- if not millions of people -- affected by the auto economy. And I want to help turn the automobile economy around in this country, turn Michigan around, and, of course, do the same thing for our entire nation.

KING: Has, frankly, governor, the president of this administration been late in dealing with this?

ROMNEY: Well, you know, there was immediate action at the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates. And Hank Paulson, of course, part of the administration, secretary of Transportation -- excuse me -- of the Treasury, called for a special program with mortgage holders, to help them restructure mortgages so people could stay in their homes.

You know, I think we need more aggressive action in that area. And, specifically, I think those that are servicing mortgages and perhaps those that hold them need to combine in cooperatives or other efforts to make sure that we don't put more and more homes into foreclosure. That just puts a drag on the housing market.

But I don't believe we have to fall into recession. But at the same time, I don't believe the federal government should just write a check to everybody. That's going to end up with money just going to the oil companies and that's not going to help America long-term. I'd rather be investing in our future.

KING: But has the president, frankly, been late in acknowledging it?

ROMNEY: I don't know whether the president wants to say that there is a recession when we don't know there is on yet. But I think he's been very up front in pointing out these are fragile times for our economy. That's why Secretary Paulson came out with his program, and the president, as well, with regards to the FHA.

In addition, the president said that having the FHA stand behind homeowners that are able to meet their original obligations, that may not be able to meet the new reset, higher payment levels -- these are policies the president has been talking about for months, frankly, and I think it's taken the Democratic candidates a while to realize that this could be a good -- a good issue for them.

KING: I guess there's no way of knowing it -- we don't ask people in Iowa or in New Hampshire.

Do you think the Mormon factor has played a part at all?

ROMNEY: Oh, sure. There will be some people who -- who Wilson make their decision based upon where someone goes to church when they think about their elected officials. But I think, in the final analysis, you're not going to find my party to what the Constitution and the founders forbade. They said in the Constitution that no religious test should ever be applied for qualification for office in these United States. And I know there will be some people who may do that. But I think the great majority of people know they're electing a secular leader.

In our nation's history, we've had a deist and we've had Quakers and Unitarians and people of a number of faiths -- a Catholic, of course. I just don't think Americans are going to discriminate against someone based on their faith.

KING: Your rival, Governor Huckabee, has an add in which he says he believes that most Americans want their next president to remind them of the guy they work with, not the guy who laid them off.

Do you think that was at you?

ROMNEY: I hope he hasn't stooped to that level. I actually hope, as well, that we don't, if you will, channel the John Edwards kind of speak where we attack people in our own country. Look, this is not a time for America to be divisive. I spent my life in the private sector. Unfortunately, Governor Huckabee has not had a job in the private sector, in the business world. He doesn't understand what it's like to create jobs and also to see jobs go.

No one likes to let people go. That means that your business is in trouble. And people only do it to try and save their business and to try to rebuild it and save as many jobs as possible. I've been in a situation where, prior to taking over a CEO position, the company had laid people off. We fought real hard to keep that from happening again and fortunately rebuilt that company and now it's a very successful large enterprise.

But let's not attack employers. That's -- I don't think you ever gain something for wage earners by attacking the wage payers.

KING: How do you like running for president?

ROMNEY: Boy, it's an exhausting process. Oh, gosh, you go all over the country. Lots of plane flights. Lots of meetings during the day -- rallies, speeches. But at the same time, you meet terrific people. Any worry you had about the future of America is dispelled as you meet the people of America.

This is a great land. This is a people that are good people. They have a good heart. They want to be asked to sacrifice when that sacrifice is needed. They want to be told the truth. And, frankly, they're tired of seeing Washington -- a place which is just broken. They can't get the job done. It's been promising us energy independence. We haven't got that. They said they'd fix social security. They haven't. They haven't reduced burdens on the middle class. They said they would get health insurance for our citizens. They haven't done that. They said they'd improve our schools. President Bush has fought and made a change there.

But, by and large, people looking at Washington recognize that Washington is broken. And I'm going to Washington to fix that and to get Republicans and Democrats to finally work together.

KING: What don't you like about it, running?

ROMNEY: Well, the toughest part about running is the fact that sometimes the opposition campaign or campaigns don't just talk about issues, they -- they make personal attacks. And that's never fun. It's not meant to be part of the political process.

KING: Yes.

ROMNEY: Let's talk about our differences on issues and record. But let's not make personal attacks and -- that always demeans the process.

KING: Tomorrow night, Governor, there will be two editions of LARRY KING LIVE, at 9:00 Eastern and midnight, covering the Michigan primaries. We hope that you will come back on one of those editions and join us, no matter how it comes out.

ROMNEY: Thanks, Larry.

Kind for the invitation and good to be with you tonight.

KING: There is another sensational case in the news tonight -- the manhunt for a Marine who may have killed a fellow Marine and her baby.

And that's next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: By now, everybody knows about the missing suspect in that tragic killing of a pregnant Marine soldier. The suspect is also a Marine who she had previously accused of raping her.

Joining us all in Jacksonville, North Carolina is CNN correspondent Randi Kaye, "Jacksonville Daily News" reporter Jennifer Hlad and Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown.

Anything new to report sheriff?

SHERIFF ED BROWN, ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: No, Mr. Larry. As of right now, we do not know the location of the suspect, Laurean, in this case. We do have investigators working around the clock -- agents of the federal and U.S. Marshal Services working around the clock throughout the United States, I would say, on the ground, waiting for the call to go pick Mr. Laurean up in case it comes in.

The news -- a press conference today -- there's been $25,000 reward offered for information leading to Mr. Laurean's arrest. There is -- I understand the federal, the FBI has put up billboards throughout the USA for him.

My message tonight -- and I want Mr. Laurean -- and I hope he's listening -- to understand that we -- we are going to continue to pursue his apprehension. We would really think he would make -- make a good decision to stop the run, come on back and deal with the issue or the issue at hand in this case.

KING: Randi Kaye, what, if anything, has his family had to say?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laurean's family hasn't had anything to say. We've had reporters from CNN trying to get in touch with his family, Larry. And they're pretty much staying out of this. It's actually Lauterbach's family that has been speaking out and really criticizing how this investigation was handled related to their daughter. They basically have said it's been sloppy and slow. And they're pointing fingers at the Marines for how they handled this investigation.

There were many pieces of information, Larry, that the sheriffs department here was not told by the Marines. For example, this protective order that had been filed against Laurean by Lauterbach back in June of this year -- they were not aware of that. In fact, they didn't know about it until sheriffs' deputies found the paperwork in Lauterbach's car over the weekend. They were not even aware there was a restraining order -- the military equivalent of a restraining order against her.

And, the sheriff's department was not given Laurean's name until January 7th, which was 20 days after she had disappeared.

So how did they know to go interview this guy or if he was a serious suspect or even a key person of interest if they didn't have his name?

KING: Jennifer, is the thinking that the Marines just look -- were indifferent about doing anything about this guy?

JENNIFER HLAD, REPORTER, "JACKSONVILLE DAILY NEWS": Well, it's not exactly clear why the information wasn't given to the sheriff's department. I do know the sheriff has said it wasn't the top brass that's to blame. But as you know, there are many levels in the military. So it's not clear exactly at which level the breakdown in communication occurred.

From what I've heard, the day that Lauterbach went missing they sent -- they called her at her house and they sent Marines to her house. But in between there and when they gave the name to the sheriff's department, I'm not sure exactly where -- what went wrong.

KING: We'll ask the sheriff about that when we come back.

And joining us will be Tim Susanin. He is the former judge advocate general in the United States Navy and a former federal prosecutor. He'll be added to the panel right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Late Saturday night, reports started surfacing that Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean was seen at a bus station in Shreveport, Louisiana. But North Carolina authorities now say it probably wasn't the man they're looking for. They're still confident that they're closing in on the suspected murderer.

Corporal Laurean vanished just hours before the bodies believed to be those of Maria Lauterbach and her unborn baby were found in the backyard of Laurean's home. Investigators say he left a note claiming he buried Lauterbach's body because she killed herself. But authorities say blood evidence in the house proves otherwise, calling Laurean a liar and a killer.




BROWN: The human remains that were removed from the shallow grave behind Laurean's residence Friday afternoon is being transported to Chapel Hill today to be examined by the state medical examiner's office. The FBI has coordinated a posting of Laurean's photograph on billboards all over the United States. They have confirmed a $25,000 reward for information leading to the location and the arrest of Cesar Laurean.

KING: As you know, there's a lot of controversy between what the military did and did not do in this matter.

Joining us now, a return visit with Tim Susanin, the former judge advocate general in the U.S. Navy, former federal prosecutor. He is in Philadelphia.

Our panel remains with us, as well.

Tim, what do you make of this apparent lack of communication? TIM SUSANIN, ATTORNEY, FORMER NAVY JAG: Well, Larry, it seems to me, that the key date here seems to be December 19th, because on that date, the family calls the sheriff's office and reports Maria as missing. And she's put in right -- she's put right into the NCIC -- national criminal database computers. So right away, the sheriff's office has absorbed what's going on here.

We also know as of that date, the Marines know that she's missing. Up until that time, the Marines thought there was a friendly relationship. So they're kind of put on notice now that they need to rethink things.

I know Sheriff Brown said in his press conference today that as soon as this report came in on December 19th, he started to focus in on the sexual assault perpetrator. But it really wasn't until January 7th that he started to narrowly focus in on Laurean.

So the real question is -- whether we're talking about the Marines or the sheriff's office -- why that gap from December 19th to January 7th.

KING: All right.


BROWN: I don't know that there is a gap, Mr. Larry. I looked at the report tonight. The report now is -- I have acknowledged that I didn't have, because I hadn't done a detailed report -- a review of that report. Even though there was not a focus in the direction of Laurean, because the name was not provided, there were attempts made to learn about the accusation on the base and attempt to talk with the person that had been accused, even though the name was not available at the time of the report.

BROWN: But let me clear this up.

SUSANIN: The name just...

BROWN: Let me clear this up.

The report -- the missing person is believed to have been killed on the 15th. The report to anyone didn't come until the 19th. It's a tragedy. I think what could have happened sooner would have still been the same result if we had just known about it sooner...


BROWN: ...because when we got the information and the authorities on the base got the information, it appears that the tragedy to Maria Lauterbach had already occurred.


BROWN: And the end results would have been earlier.

KING: Tim? SUSANIN: But, Sheriff, certainly on the 19th, though, you knew of the sexual assault incident, right?

I mean I guess my thought is regardless...

BROWN: That is correct.

SUSANIN: ...of whether you had the name of the alleged perpetrator or not, that really was irrelevant to the fact that the incident occurred. And I'm not sure why another 19 days go by before, in your words from today's press, are you narrowly focused in on the perpetrator.

BROWN: The attempt -- and I read the report tonight and I can't do anything but tell you what the report says. An attempt began to -- at that time, to call or find out from someone who the person was. And I'm going to be by the report. I don't have any reason to defend anything about what has happened in our arena. But that attempt was futile. And realize that we're working over the military holidays.

However, the attempts never...

KING: Yes...

BROWN: ...offered opportunity to us to talk to with anyone to identify who that suspect was...

KING: Randi...

BROWN: that case.

KING: Randi Kaye, when and if this suspect is apprehended -- and whatever happens -- apparently this story is more than that.

It's going to be bigger, right?

KAYE: I would imagine so, Larry. You have the Marines doing their own investigation of their policy and how this investigation was handled. They're looking at themselves very closely. In fact, we called them today. They wouldn't even speak to us about it until they got their ducks in a row and really knew what exactly had happened here and who knew what when.

So I do think that this is going to be bigger. There's really two stories going on here -- not only the terrible murder of this woman and her unborn child and this now nationwide manhunt for this man who they believe is responsible, but also the question of did the military -- did the Marines do the right thing?

And I spoke with a former Navy JAG today who said that there is no protocol in place, that they were not required to share what they knew with civil law enforcement -- civilian law enforcement.

But the question is should they have?

And you have a woman here who says she's been raped, who clearly was afraid of this guy at some point -- afraid enough to have come out with a protective order against him.

And they didn't share that information on day one?

You would think that would be the number one step.

KING: Jennifer...

SUSANIN: Well, but she wasn't missing at that point.

SUSANIN: I'm sorry, Larry.

KING: Go ahead, Tim.

SUSANIN: Yes. She wasn't missing at that point. I mean we -- this really breaks into two pieces.

Prior to the time that she was missing, was there a reason that they should fear -- have fear for Maria's safety?

And we know that there might be reports that she told her mom she was afraid for her life. But if that information never got to the Marines, that really skews things.

Once she's missing, that's a whole different story.

KING: All right, I've got a...

SUSANIN: And, of course, the question is what are they sharing?

KING: I've got a time situation here.

Jennifer, do you expect a lawsuit?

HLAD: It's not clear yet if there will be a lawsuit. I can imagine that there will be. I also know that District Attorney Dewey Hudson had said this will probably actually definitely change the way that cases are handled in the future, in terms of dealing with the Marine Corps and the sheriff's office. They are going to look at how this was handled and how they can maybe fix it in the future so that something like this does not happen again.

KING: Thank you all very much.

We will not leave this alone.

When we come back, today's drama and developments on the fate of Britney Spears and her children.

Don't go away.


KING: More late developments in the saga of Britney Spears. Joining us in Los Angeles Kareen Wynter, our CNN correspondent, also in L.A. is Kevin Frazier, the weekend host and correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight," and Fabricio Mariotto. He is the photographer with Paparazzi Agency who came to Britney Spears earlier this month and gave her a ride home after she abandoned her own car after it had developed a flat tire.

Kareen, what happened in court today?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Larry, unscripted drama. It just doesn't get any crazier than this. We'll get to what happened in court in just a second. It's what happened outside. So everyone was gearing up for Britney Spears. Would she show? Wouldn't she? Well, she did, well, sort of.

She pulled up here, Larry, with her entourage, a member of the paparazzi who she is reportedly dating, her manager, and someone else in this black SUV, and pulled up right next to me. We were right outside the court house. She came out. Of course, there was a bunch of media.

It's what happened next. She started screaming, I'm scared. I'm scared. Stop it. I want to go back in. And she basically got back in her SUV, took off. Where did she go? She went to a church. She went to a shopping center. She got some lunch and went shopping and then went home. She never made it here.

Meantime, there's a hearing going on inside. Kevin Federline is in. Key members actually testified today. This is regarding the on- going battle regarding Kevin Federline and Britney Spears' two sons. Two members of the Los Angeles Police Department who responded to the domestic dispute, that custodial dispute, at the beginning of the month at Britney Spears' home, as well as a court appointed monitor, the parenting coach; they were all inside.

The bottom line is, at the end of the day, Kevin Federline still has sole physical and legal temporary custody of the two children.

KING: Until the next hearing on February 19th, right?

WYNTER: Absolutely. The court says, you know, if she wants to show up in the meantime, she can. They'll call an emergency hearing. Who knows what will develop? What is the commissioner thinking? What kind of display did we see out here today? It was absolutely despicable, to be quite frank.

KING: Kevin Frazier, what do you make of this?

KEVIN FRAZIER, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Larry, the circus has officially come to town. The things that interesting is Britney was not required to be there today, but her lawyers expected her, and they wanted her to be there. And, you know, at the end of the day, if your children are in the balance, a chance to see your children is in the balance, you would believe that you would show up.

When she came there, the Sheriff's Department, as you can see in many of those shots, was next to her. They were going to try and guide Britney into the court house. But she panicked and she left. Allegedly, though, the shenanigans that went on outside had no bearing on what went on inside. Commissioner Gordon strictly went with the testimony of the first responders, the parenting coach and the court ordered monitor.

KING: Fabricio, what was it like when you gave her that lift?

FABRICIO MARIOTTO, PHOTOGRAPHER: It was great. I couldn't believe it in the beginning. I calmed down. I started chatting with her, started throwing some jokes, tried to make her laugh, because she looked really concerned. I think it was because of the car, of course.

She was just dropped it in the middle of the street. It was being towed away. All the cops were there. So, yes, it was pretty exciting. You can imagine, right?

KING: What did you talk about?

MARIOTTO: We talked about, first of all, the car, of course. I asked her if she needed a favor to go back to the car and try to help her just pick up the car, open the car so the guys from the tow truck could open it without dragging the car -- and the damage would occur, you know. So I was there to help her. She basically asked me to go back in the car and get her car.

KING: Curious. We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll be joined by a very high-profile New York attorney, by our friend Pat O'Brien, the host of "The Insider," and Dr. Drew Pinsky. We'll keep our panel with us as well to discuss the saga of Britney Spears, which never goes away. Don't go away.


KING: Joining us now is Pat O'Brien. Remaining is Kevin Frazier and Fabricio Mariotto. Joining us now as well is Pat O'Brien, host of "The Insider." In New York, here is Mark Jay Heller. He is the high- profile attorney who has been involved in a number of celebrity, divorce, paternity, child custody support and visitation cases. And in Los Angeles, Doctor Drew Pinsky, host of VH-1's "Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew."

Pat, you've interviewed her once?

PAT O'BRIEN, "THE INSIDER": A number of times. I've known her for a long, long time when she was the pop princess of the world, the biggest thing on the planet, but --

KING: What happened to her?

O'BRIEN: Pretty much everything. You know, this thing started out as kind of a joke. Everybody says, Britney, oops, she does it again, then the babies. It started to get serious with the bald head, shaving the head thing, and the umbrella attacks.

But it's turned from late night talk show jokes to a serious, serious matter. If you look at just what went on today with her driving down the freeway, where our kids ride around at 95 and 100 miles an hour, I mean, this has got to stop. Someone is going to die. Someone is going to get hurt. It's either going to be her or somebody else.

KING: Should the jokes stop?

O'BRIEN: The jokes should stop. She's a very sick woman, I believe. I'm not a doctor. I'll let Drew --

KING: Mark, these cases, back and forth hearings, she doesn't have to be there. Give me a legal aspect.

MARK JAY HELLER, ATTORNEY: From a legal point of view, I think that what really needs to be done is to implement a rarely used legal approach, whereby the court, considering their jurisdiction over a child, could implement a procedure, whereby they would have a stay away order from the paparazzi and make sure they don't go within 100 feet to the children or Britney. I think that, considering that Britney and the children have been living in a magnified fish bowl, the intensity of something like that is remarkable.

I think that if she can get a relief from that, then she might be able to take control of her life and address the issues. Interestingly enough, today, when she got to the courthouse to go in, the paparazzi jumped on her. Again, she couldn't get to the court.

KING: Could a court order paparazzi not to go?

HELLER: Well, if you remember the outcry with Princess Diana and many years back with Jacqueline Onassis. She had a problem with paparazzi. They can under certain circumstances.

KING: She got it against one photographer.

HELLER: That's right. But I think the public interest is so such that they can direct an order precluding them from coming within 100 feet from the children, and/or Britney. And I think that's what a judge needs to do right now because a little --

KING: I'm sorry, you wanted to say something.

O'BRIEN: I mean, Leonardo Dicaprio is the biggest name on the planet and he seems to get by. I mean, basically Britney has to stay inside every now and then. I think she's addicted to the chaos. An addict goes from one addiction to another. I think, right now, she's addicted to being in front of the cameras.

KING: Dr. Pinsky, you're the doctor. What do you make of that analysis?

DR. DREW PINSKY, VH-1: I think Pat O'Brien is right on. I think getting the paparazzi away will be helpful and stop some of the circus. But the fact is, when somebody has serious mental illness, when their life is in danger, it's really not so much about the circumstances around her as getting them in the treatment process. She has been engaged multiple times, has left treatment impulsively, has not followed through on the directions of her treating team, has been in denial about the needs of her care. And that will not change by moving the paparazzi away from her. The fact is, as Pat said, she's going to die or someone else is going to die. She's following the Anna Nicole blueprint to the letter. This is a really, terribly seriously medical problem. She's a deserves our prayers, not our disdain anymore.

KING: Fabricio, do you think you and your like are part of the problem?

MARIOTTO: No, I don't think so, Larry. I think she needs to be treated. I really think that, because, since she shaved her hair, like, we were really concerned about her. Her behavior is not like normal.

KING: When why do all of you follow around her like a pack of wolves? Why?

MARIOTTO: Unfortunately, this is the way we have to work. We take pictures. We're paparazzi. We still have to do that. There's nothing we can basically do. Our agency pays for the pictures, the magazines. But she could easily come out of the house without being noticed.

FRAZIER: What I was going to say, Larry, is right now it's like the California Gold Rush in the 1800s and everyone is coming out and panning for gold, whether they know what they're doing or not. It's the same with the paparazzi. They're making so much money off of Britney, and that's why they chase her and they take these chances. That one picture can get them paid so well.

You know what, you do need to back up and leave the girl alone, because I don't think America wants to see Anna Nicole number two. I think we are a more compassionate nation than that.

KING: Mark, is she unrepresentable?

HELLER: I think she is representable to a great extent if somebody will step out of the box and step up and do what everybody in America wants to see happen. This is a girl that's been entertaining us since she was 11 years old. Everybody wants there to be a happy ending for Britney and her children.

KING: You think so?

HELLER: And the only way that's -- you know, some people revel in others' heart aches. But I would hope that most of us are rooting for her redemption. I certainly believe that the first step is a judge to step out of the box and say, you know what, I want the paparazzi out of her life.

KING: Do you think people are rooting for her, Pat?

O'BRIEN: At this point I think they're rooting for what Dr. Drew is talking about, for her to get some help. Even if you read the cynics on the Internet, the blogs and the comments after these stories, nobody is laughing anymore. Nobody is rooting really for her, they're saying get her off the streets. The streets are still public property. I think the paparazzi have a right to work. And comparing this to Anna Nicole, at least Anna Nicole's whole scene was moderately entertaining. She did all that stuff, that drama and that reality show with a wink and a tongue and cheek. It had a terrible ending. But, at least while she was going through it -- none of this is funny anymore, Larry. This is painful to watch.

KING: We'll take a break and be back shortly. Let's check with Anderson Cooper with "AC 360" at the top of the hour. We're in the same building, Anderson. What's up?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to be together again. Coming up at the top of the hour on 360, you hoped it wouldn't happen. You feared it might. Race has taken center stage, as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton battle for the Democratic nomination. The Obama campaign is criticizing Clinton's camp of making what they say are racially insensitive remarks. The Clintons are just as quick to call those accusations outrageous.

All of this comes as the South Carolina primary looms and African-Americans are expected to make up nearly 50 percent of the vote.

We're also going to following the case against actor Wesley Snipes. The government says the actor owes taxes on 38 million dollars in income, but Snipes says he owes nothing. You won't believe his defense.

All that and more on the man hunt for the Marine suspected of killing a fellow Marine. All that, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. "AC 360," 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. We'll be back with more. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with this outstanding panel. In recent days, Britney has used a British accent while going out and about in public. Here's a sample.


BRITNEY SPEARS, SINGER: Where's the car? I don't know where the car is. You're so welcome here. Where's the car? Why does it take so long to get the car? Why didn't you pull it up there? It's too much.


SPEARS: My, god. Where is the car? Oh my god! I don't like it.


KING: Dr. Drew, what do you make of that long piece? PINSKY: Listen, all I know is she's been admitted to drug treatment centers. Pat O'Brien hit it exactly right. She's an addict. She's addicted to all this attention. She's addicted to various different substances, no doubt. Until she is off substances, loath to anyone to try and arrive at a diagnostic conclusion.

Having said that, the fact that she seems so empty and so unsure of who she is that she would adopt different personas has psychological implications. It also brings up the question of multiple personality disorder. These kinds of questions and discussions would naturally emerge. But the reality is, you cannot begin to make a diagnosis until someone is off drugs and alcohol weeks or months. So until that is the case, I would advice against -- strongly caution against making any diagnostic conclusions.

KING: Pat, you went through something like?

O'BRIEN: Not like this, but, yes.

KING: An addiction.


KING: Do you fear for her health?

O'BRIEN: I do. Dr. Drew helped me through my ordeal. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Yes, you have to find a program that you can fit into, and a program that likes you enough that allows you to fit in to it. You have to connect with it.

KING: You have to admit you have a problem.

O'BRIEN: You have to surrender, basically.

KING: She's obviously not surrendering.

O'BRIEN: She's still in the fighting move.

KING: Mark, can the law help, other than if you get a court to issue an order against paparazzo?

HELLER: Yes, I think we've all been looking at the lawyer representing Britney and the lawyer representing the husband. But why hasn't the court appointed a special guardian to represent the children?

KING: They can do that, right?

HELLER: They can do that and this is all about the children's well-being. I think that that's something that needs to be done immediately. There should be a special attorney, a guardian ad litem, appointed to protect the children.

KING: Makes sense. Kevin, what was with Dr. Phil? I think you spoke with him, right? And he went to the hospital. What was that story? FRAZIER: Well, Dr. Phil worked with Britney's family for about a year. He did go to the hospital on January 3rd, when she was taken to the hospital. And I think a little bit of it was that it got spun out of control, that Dr. Phil was trying to exploit Britney also.

And really, what was going on is that he had been involved with the parents for at least a year. He has a wealth of information on this subject. He really wanted to do a show about parents and people who have older children or siblings that are having some kind of mental issue or drug issue, and that you can't commit them or you can't reach them. The whole thing kind of spun out of control and he became the scape-goat in this situation.

PINSKY: I heard he doesn't have a license to practice in California. So I'm a little confused by what you mean, Kevin, that he was working with the family, because he doesn't have a license to do that. And then if he did, and if he was actually practicing with that family, and then stood up in public and talked about what he was doing with that family, that's a big deal, if that's in fact what happened.

FRAZIER: Well, the family contacted him and asked advice. He gave the family some advice.


FRAZIER: He's entitled to give them advice.

PINSKY: Sure, of course.

FRAZIER: They turned to him. Also Robin, Phil's wife, is very close with Britney's mother.

KING: Dr. Pinsky, what can a parent do with a child over 21?

PINSKY: Well, the bad news is not much. What I do in intervention, where I have adult children and family in the room, is to turn to the family and go this person is dead. This person does not want help. They're dying. And you now, in front of that person who we've now called demise, we need to begin to deal with the fact that this person is dying, and how are you going to handle that, and get them to disengage completely from that adult child, with love.

They care about them deeply. But they can't do anything. They can only leave them behind and deal with their own grief. That has an impact on the patient.

KING: We'll get some final thoughts from each of our guests right after this.


KING: Naturally, we're all concerned with where it's going. What's going to get her to go right, Pat.

O'BRIEN: You have to realize, and I'll say this on January 14th, 2008, she's out of chances. She's lost her career. She had a chance to get that back. She has lost her family, it looks like now. She lost her husband. She's lot the respect of people in her industry. She has got to realize that her chances are over. She's got to go to some place and find help and get back into her life.

KING: What do you think, Mark?

HELLER: I think, from a legal point of view, she has to be given the benefit of the doubt. When she went into the hospital on a 5150, she could have been retained for 72 hours. Let's not forget, they found no drugs and no alcohol in her system. They released her immediately finding that she was no threat.

Clearly, the issue must be a psychological one, bipolar or postpartum. Legally, that's what has to be focused on. If we can keep the paparazzi away, and if we can get her an opportunity to take control of her life, and have a court-appointed attorney for the children, we can put this together.

KING: Fabricio, what do you think is going to happen?

MARIOTTO: Larry, I don't know. We're concerned. We're very concerned. Just waiting like a time bomb. Hopefully, we're rooting for her.

KING: Kevin, what do you think?

FRAZIER: I think that it is, as was mentioned earlier, going down that road of Anna Nicole, and it is one of the saddest stories that I've ever had to cover. I don't want to have to cover a similar situation, but it seems we're heading that way.

By the way, the English accent is probably from her boyfriend and hanging out with him. She probably adopted his accent.

KING: Dr. Pinsky, what do you think is going to happen?

PINSKY: I agree completely with pat. Now she's not only lost her career, she's lost her children. The only thing left to lose is her life. I believe that will be the case or she'll be looking back at us from a ventilator, and hopefully, that will be her bottom and she will be willing to make change. She needs long term treatment, months and months away from all the action.

KING: It has to be her decision, right?

PINSKY: You have to want to get better. You really do. The problem is, people don't break, they don't capitulate, until they believe. Usually for women, it's when they lose their children. But when they believe they're going to die, that's when they get with it and start listening to the treatment team.

KING: We only got 20 seconds, does she think nothing is wrong?

PINSKY: I think she seems in massive denial. I think the mental issues, what's being called bipolarity or character logical illnesses, are interfering with her ability to have insight. But, there's no doubt she's an addict. She's been admitted to a drug treatment center. That can't be the case unless you meet criteria for addiction. So it's mental health and addiction. These are both medical and life-threatening problems.

KING: Pessimistic?


KING: Pessimistic?

HELLER: I'm pessimistic.

KING: Thank you all very much. Thanks to our panel. And thanks to Hollywood.TV for some footage tonight. Don't forget to check us out at You can e-mail guests, download our podcast or check out our King of Politics section. We have quick votes, video clips and transcripts too, all at

Tomorrow night, the Michigan primary. We'll tell you who is in and who is out in this make or break contest. We'll be on as usual at 9:00 Eastern and again live at midnight with a special results show. Now "AC 360" and Anderson Cooper. Anderson?