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American Morning

Penn State Assistant Coach Speaking About Child Sex Scandal; Occupy Wall Street Protesters No Longer Allowed to Camp Out in Zuccotti Park; Wall Street Protesters Return; McQueary E-mail: I Did Go To Police; Protesters Return Without Tents; Obama: More U.S. Troops to Australia; Obama in Australia; Newt Gingrich Back From the Brink; Interview with Senators Marco Rubio and Chris Coons; Bipartisan Jobs Bill Unveiled in Congress; Gabrielle Giffords Shows Marked Improvement; Occupy Protesters Return Without Equipment

Aired November 16, 2011 - 06:59   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The Penn State assistant who says he witnessed Jerry Sandusky's alleged rape of a young boy now claims in an e-mail that he did stop the attack and, yes, he told police about it.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: You can come back, but don't get all comfy. Wall Street protesters return to the park for the movement all started without their tents, no sleeping bags, and they're not happy.

COSTELLO: And the anti-Santa. A guy goes down the chimney to take stuff and gets snagged on this AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: Good morning to you. Happy Wednesday. It is November 16th. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: All right, up first, Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary speaking out for the first time since the Penn State scandal erupted. It comes as new e-mails suggests McQueary stopped Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual assault on a young boy. And he told police -- he went to police. Now, that would appear to be different from his grand jury testimony in the Sandusky abuse case.

Meantime, McQueary talked to CBS about the events that have turned his world upside down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any idea when you think you might be ready to talk?

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Just one last thing. Just describe your emotions right now.

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



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said what? Like a --

MCQUEARY: Snow blower.


ROMANS: Sarah Ganim, crime reporter for the "Patriot News" joins us now from State College, Pennsylvania. You guys are doing great reporting on this, Sarah. Nice work there. Let me ask you first, I want to start with what McQueary wrote last week that another newspaper obtained. "I did stop, this encounter in the locker room, but not physically, but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room," adding, "No one can imagine my thoughts or wants to be in my shoes for those 30 to 45 seconds. Trust me."

Two points I want to get your thoughts on here. One, that seems a little different than the summary of a testimony to the grand jury. And two, what are victims saying about that or the victims' families, because the shoes no one wants to be in are the victims' shoes, not necessarily Mike McQueary's.

SARA GANIM, CRIME REPORTER "THE PATRIOT NEWS": Well, I'll start with that. I think through the whole process the victims' families felt the attention was taken off of them and what they were going through, what they've been going through for several years, and what they're going to face. Remember, they still have to testify. The attention instead has been focused on the scandal, who and saw what and when, and the sensational football story and all of these side stories going on.

So they felt the same way through the whole process, that they're not getting enough attention. And not to sound like they're seeking attention at all, because they're not. But they feel people are effecting there are eight victims an focusing on other parts of the story.

As far at the McQueary e-mail, I think what we need to remember that that grand jury is a summary. It's not a transcript. So we don't know the exact details of what McQueary testified to the grand jury or what he told police. However, that one statement where he says he did talk to police and to the person who led university police, which is Gary Schultz, does appear to directly contradict that grand jury statement, which says that state police never interviewed McQueary and never did an investigation.

ROMANS: It's interesting that in in grand jury report, I'll put it up for you, the graduate assistant was never questioned by university police and no other entity conducted an investigation. The e-mail McQueary sent apparently to a friend says "I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police." That's going to be all about, of course, incredibly important to sort out when there is a legal proceeding that gets under way starting next month about what's going to happen here, which brings me to the idea of legal proceeding. Do the families of the victims, what do they think about Sandusky standing up saying I didn't do it? All of these people trying to give their side of events? If there is a trial that means some of these alleged victims will have to come forward.

GANIM: Yes, and really what they want, Christine, is to not have to come forward and testify. What they were hoping for was after keeping this secret for so many years, they were hoping that he would plead guilty and that they weren't going to have to go through the trauma of a very high-profile trial. But, you know, after seeing what he told NBC yesterday, they were telling me it appears that's not going to happen.

ROMANS: So the story, this very difficult story continues. Sarah Ganim from the "Patriot News," thanks.

COSTELLO: Of course there are still lots of unanswered questions among the Penn State child sex scandal. Perhaps chief among them, what Penn State officials knew about the claims against Jerry Sandusky and when they knew them. It turns out the university is exempt from Pennsylvania's open records law and protected in effect by a legal wall of silence. Drew griffin has more in a CNN exclusive.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Carol, it's the type of information would normally get in the United States from a public institution, especially a police department -- the records the incident reports, all the information you rely on to get the facts to know who knew what, when, and where.

But Penn State will you not find that, because Penn State got itself an exemption from this state's open records act. At the same time in 2000, 2008, when the legislature was discussing this new law, Penn State's president personally went to the legislature and asked to be exempt to make sure the records were kept private.

TERRY MUTCHLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PENNSYLVANIA OPEN RECORDS: What that means in essence is that while every other commonwealth agency, governor's office, police department, townships, school districts, are subject to this law and would be required to provide public record, Penn State is exempt. That came as a result of a series of lobbying efforts through the House of Representatives that was taking a look at rewriting Pennsylvania's right-to-know law, which was really among the worst in the nation. And at that juncture, the president of Penn State was one of the key lobbyists testifying before the house committee on, I believe it was August 7, 2007, seeking an exemption for Penn State.

GRIFFIN: Carol, we did try to reach Graham Spanier at his home. We did not get an answer from the former Penn State president, but we know what he told the legislature when he was seeking this exemption. He said he wanted Penn State to be exempt from the records because he needed to protect the competitiveness of the university, that he was concerned about the cost of compliance, and that a huge bureaucracy would have to be built to answer questions and open those public records. Looking back on it now, it has a whole different look. Carol?


COSTELLO: Drew Griffin reporting for us this morning.

President Obama finally making good on his promise to visit Australia after cancelling two previous trips. Earlier this morning he announced an agreement to expand America's military presence there. By 2013 2,500 U.S. marines will be stationed in a military base in Darwin, Australia.

ROMANS: And almost time to sound an alarm. That so called Congressional super committee is down to seven days to come up with a plan to cut the federal deficit. According to a new CNN/ORC poll, Americans don't have much confidence in this group. 78 percent of Americans say it's unlikely the committee will get a deal in time. And when asked who they would hold responsible if there's no deal, 42 percent blame Republicans, 32 percent blame Democrats, 19 percent blame both parties.

COSTELLO: And protesters rallied outside Alabama's capital yesterday. They are angry over the state's new tough and controversial immigration law. At least 13 people were reportedly taken into custody. The U.S. Justice Department is challenging the law, calling it unconstitutional.

ROMANS: It's a little early for Santa, if you're at the mall, but police in Georgia say a teenager was stuck in a chimney for 12 hours overnight after he tried to break into someone's house. The suspect was covered in soot as officers yanked him out of in.

COSTELLO: When would that idea strike? You're sitting around, wow, I need to break into a house and I'm going to go down the chimney?


ROMANS: Still to come, tents go, tensions rise. Wall Street protesters promising they will come back stronger after a crackdown in New York City. We'll hear from one of their leaders on what we can expect in the next couple of days.

COSTELLO: And the GOP's new favorite, Newt Gingrich. His campaign getting lots of steam and lots of cash. But can he keep it going?

ROMANS: And Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' road to recovery following a traumatic brain injury. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about her progress.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. Its 10 minutes after the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Occupy Wall Street protesters heading back to lower Manhattan, Zuccotti Park, but they're not as comfortable. Last night a judge ruled that protesters were cleared out of the park in a surprise raid by police hours earlier, ruled that they could come back but without tents, generators, and camping equipment. Protesters say they weren't allowed to lie down or even sit. One tweet is they're wandering around like ants after you knock over the ant hill.

Deborah Feyerick is live in lower Manhattan for us this morning. Deb, the park looks much different than it did even 36 hours ago.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, much, much different. They're not at comfortable and certainly there are not as many of them either. Take a look and you can see a couple dozen protesters who are here sitting, some wrapped trying to keep warm. You've got a little structure there in the middle, an umbrella is all that remains of what was a big tent city there.

Security guards, private security guards are wearing yellow vests. A number of them have been brought in. This whole park, take a look, has really been cleared out, virtually no signs of the camp that had sprung up here. You can even see the lights in the pavement, something that you haven't seen for a while.

The New York Supreme Court yesterday saying that Occupy Wall Street, they could come, they could protest, they could demonstrate, but the First Amendment does not give them the right to set up tents, to set up generators and to effectively camp out.

Now, it's - the two-month anniversary is tomorrow. Go to their website and you see that they are planning or at least calling on a move to shut down Wall Street. They're going to go to various subways to try to talk to people (INAUDIBLE) public microphone.

But you can see that anger there, the anger, the shared anger over disparity and, well, over - they want an economy that works for everyone, not just for a few. And, as a matter of fact, there was (ph) a little altercation this morning with a protester yelling at police officers saying, yes, yes, well you're getting pay check. You're getting a paycheck. So there really is a deep sense of frustration, but very quiet, really.

Trinity Church, they've said you could comment (ph), you could work out of our space (ph) there. It's right near here, right near the World Trade Center site. But, right now, "Occupy Wall Street," it seems it's really trying to regroup, trying to figure out what their next move will be and - and how they're going to take this forward, even though, you know, many occupations around the country are sort of being dispersed, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Deb Feyerick. And the question is, will that galvanize and energize the movement, or is it the end of that movement?

FEYERICK: Exactly.

ROMANS: Deb Feyerick in Lower Manhattan. Thanks, Deb - Carol.

COSTELLO: Oh, and that's the very question we're pondering in just a short time, because joining us now is Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party in New York and a Wall Street protester himself. Welcome, Dan.


COSTELLO: So I'm going to ask you, what Christine just asked you, is this - will this - you know, they took the "occupy" out of "Occupy Wall Street."


COSTELLO: Not only in New York but in cities across the country.


COSTELLO: So will this galvanize the movement or kill it?

CANTOR: We should back up. You know, two months ago nobody in America was really talking about the issues of any quality, of the 99 percent. So, at some measure, while what the mayor did was quite wrong, there was no reason to go in in the dark of night to trample on the First Amendment rights of the protesters, in fact, in some ways it doesn't matter. They have already won. They've already changed the conversation in America.

It's clearly going to - to continue. Many people were saying yesterday, you can evict an encampment but you cannot evict an idea whose time has come. And this idea that we need to have an economy that works for everyone, that the country is seriously on the wrong track, has spread and there are millions of people who now - who understand this.

COSTELLO: OK, so - so some are saying that now is the time. Since the message is out, like you said, supposedly, now is the time to regroup, and the Occupy Movement should sort of, like, maybe enlist the help of politicians that might be able to help them, something they've been loathe to do. Do you think that that will happen?

CANTOR: You know, I don't know. I'm not - I'm a supporter of, you know, the - the message of Occupy. I haven't been down there sleeping or - I've been there a few times. And they will make their own decision, and clearly there's going to be a big march tomorrow afternoon and some other things during the day both here and around the country.

So I would imagine that it's going to take some new forms, but they will continue to try to articulate this idea that we can do better. They want to ask different questions.

You know, there's this writer, Rebecca Solnit, wrote yesterday, "You can pull up the flowers, it doesn't mean the spring isn't going to come." Spring will come. This movement will still be there. And the question for them is to be creative and smart and move it forward in ways that reach many more millions of people.

COSTELLO: Well, will it move online now, do you think?

CANTOR: Well, it already is, to a degree. I think they're going to continue. They haven't vanished. People are still around. They're trying to figure out what to do. We shall see.

There - there will be both political aspects, cultural aspects, online work. You don't know for sure what's going to happen. There will be an election next year. It will be interesting.

If the election is about the 99 percent, then they will have made a great contribution, which I think many of them, they're already quite proud of having done, as they should be. That said, their First Amendment rights still need to be (INAUDIBLE).

COSTELLO: We'll talk about that in just a second, because Mayor Bloomberg held that news conference yesterday, and I just want you to listen to part of what he said.



MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now, they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.


COSTELLO: He said, "Now they'll have to occupy the space with the -

CANTOR: Power of their ideas.

COSTELLO: Yes. Power of their ideas instead of, you know, physically.

So, as you listen to Mayor Bloomberg say that, what went through your mind?

CANTOR: He's partly right and he's partly wrong. Of course, it's the power of their ideas that - that has captured the day, to a degree, but we live in a - in a country in which money often trumps speech.

The Supreme Court has been largely captured by corporate interests. A good chunk of Congress. So it's - it's wrong to say it's merely the power of ideas. You need to be able to amplify those ideas.

It's easy for the mayor to do that. He's the richest man in New York City. The Occupiers did it with their physical selves, by taking this space. Now, they have even said themselves, it's not really about that space. It's about these ideas, which are spreading.

So I'm - I'm quite optimistic about what they've accomplished and what they're doing.

COSTELLO: Do you think because a lot of mayors made the same move as Mayor Bloomberg, and a lot of police departments did exactly the same thing as the New York City Police Department did yesterday, do you think that this was sort of an orchestrated campaign?

CANTOR: That's a good question. There's - there'd certainly been some intimations that it was a little bit. I mean, you know, people wait in line in New York, they camp out for a week to buy the tickets to the new "Twilight" movie, so it's not like we're not used to encampments here. It's when it has political meaning, saying, the top one percent needs to actually be part of this society in a fair way, that's when it incites the kind of reaction we got yesterday.

So people need to keep in mind that, you know, this is a big, complicated world we live in. It's actually quite possible for people to have respect for the First Amendment rights and dealt with all the issues.

So we're sorry to see how the mayor reacted, but I think there's no question but this is going to continue to be a vital, really long overdue part of American political debate.

COSTELLO: Dan Cantor, thanks for being here this morning.

CANTOR: Thank you so much.

COSTELLO: We appreciate it - Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Carol.

In Boston, hundreds of people marched to protest the eviction of Wall Street protesters in New York City, but the mayor there saying there are no plans to give them the boot just yet out of Dewey Square, as long as things remain peaceful.

But it looks like time is up in Dallas. A federal judge cleared the way for the eviction of protesters near City Hall in Dallas. Dozens of people have camped out there for about a month now. City officials will meet today before they take any action.

And in Seattle, it turned ugly, police arresting a half dozen people and using pepper spray on protesters last night. "Occupy Seattle" says an 84-year-old woman and a pregnant woman were hit; police saying they acted after giving several warnings to protesters who were blocking intersections during rush hour.

Still to come this morning, Newt Gingrich now in the worst place he could possibly be in the GOP race, right behind Mitt Romney. Just ask Bachmann, Perry or Cain. He talks to our Jim Acosta about why this time, for Newt, it's real.

Twenty-two minutes after the hour. Plus some Facebook profiles accidentally becoming quite scandalous. We'll tell you why. We'll be right back.


ROMANS: Welcome back. "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Right now U.S. stock futures are trading lower after what eventually turned out to be a positive day on Wall Street. All three indices finished yesterday in the green because of upbeat reports on retail sales, inflation and manufacturing.

Approaching D-Day in Detroit, this evening, the city's mayor, Dave Bing, will speak about the city's financial crisis. The speech comes just days after a report revealed that Detroit could possibly go broke by July 2012 unless immediate and drastic cuts are made.

The Postal Service reporting an annual loss of $5.1 billion, and it may be no surprise in today's digital age that declining mail volume is one of the reasons for the losses. The other, an increase in the health care costs for its employees.

Facebook says it's working to identify and shut down the accounts responsible for a coordinated spam attack that caused pornographic and violent images to appear in some people's news feeds. According to Facebook, users were somehow tricked into copying malicious codes into their browser bars, and that allowed hackers access to their accounts.

Google is expected to unveil its long awaited music store today. According to the "Wall Street Journal," songs will sell for about $1, and you may also - you may also be able to let your friends on Google+ listen to the songs you buy.

Don't forget, for the very latest news about your money, check out the all-new AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after this break.


COSTELLO: It is 30 minutes past the hour. Time for our top stories.

A new twist in the Penn State sex scandal. An e-mail from assistant coach, Mike McQueary obtained by "Allentown Morning Call" newspaper says McQueary stopped the alleged assault of a young boy by Jerry Sandusky back in 2002 and he told police about it. The account stirred contrast to McQueary's grand jury testimony.

ROMANS: After a rude awakening early yesterday morning, Wall Street protesters are allowed back into their home base at New York's Zuccotti Park this morning, but without all of their stuff. A judge saying no more tents or generators allowed.

COSTELLO: President Obama is in Australia this morning unveiling plans for an expanded U.S. military presence there. Twenty five hundred Marines will be deployed in the Australian port of Darwin by 2013. President Obama is calling his visit a clear indication of America's commitment to the Asia-Pacific region.

White House correspondent Dan Lothian traveling with the president. He joins us live this morning from Canberra, Australia. I guess, it's night time, right?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It's still night time. I've yet to go to sleep, but this is a country that the president himself pointed out very critical, a long alliance with Australia.

And also now this move happening because of the growing importance of the region so under this new agreement. Starting in the middle of next year, 200 up to 250 U.S. Marines will be deployed to the northern part of the country.

That number expected to tick up to 2,500 Marines who will be part of a task force, a military task force. Now there have been a lot of questions out in about, and concerns, about the growing presence, military presence of China in the region.

And while some administration officials say that indeed is one of many factors in this uptick of military activity here in Australia, the president himself said that China, and fear of China, was not a factor.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think the notion that we fear China is -- is mistaken. The notion that we are looking to exclude China is mistaken.


LOTHIAN: Now, the U.S. Marines will be involved in exercises and training. I should point out that already the Chinese are pushing back. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying that of this new arrangement that it was, quote, "may not be quite appropriate."

But one of the president's top advisers said that it's not only appropriate, but necessary in dealing with some of the challenges down the road in the pacific, Asia-Pacific region -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Dan Lothian reporting live from Australia. I hope you get to go to sleep after this. You are amazingly coherent. Thanks, Dan.

ROMANS: It's like a round of speed dating with the GOP candidates after Rick Perry's flubs and the Herman Cain scandal, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is surging in recent polls.

This after the campaign was declared DOA last summer. CNN's political correspondent, Jim Acosta caught up with him on the trail.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet the GOP's latest fresh face -- Newt Gingrich.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yesterday afternoon in Jefferson, Iowa, someone introduced me as the frontrunner.

ACOSTA: Yes, the same Gingrich who once a dead candidate walking now has a shot at the GOP nomination. Drawing big crowds in Iowa, he is candid about his near-death political experience when his entire senior staff abandoned him all at once last summer.

(on camera): Did you feel dead?

GINGRICH: No, I felt desperate, but I didn't feel dead. I've done this for 53 years and the two hardest months of my career were June and July. I am the only candidate running who has actually led at the national level.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But with Gingrich's humility has its limits. In assessing what initially went wrong with his campaign he compared himself to two conservative giants.

(on camera): Where did you go wrong?

GINGRICH: I think it was a big mistake on my part to try to bring in conventional consultants because I am much like Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. I'm such an unconventional political figure that you really need to design a very unique campaign that fits the way I operate and what I'm trying to do.

ACOSTA: Gingrich has climbed in the polls by outshining many of his rivals at the GOP debates and by selling ideas that sometimes veer from Tea Party doctrine. For example, Gingrich would spend billions on a new brain science project to find cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

GINGRICH: The best way to control the cost of Medicare is to defeat the diseases so people stay healthy.

ACOSTA: But in nearly the same breath, Gingrich rails against the Washington establishment.

GINGRICH: The Washington establishment model is pain and austerity.

ACOSTA: Despite being a creature of the capital -- for nearly three decades.

(on camera): You're not a creature of Washington?


ACOSTA: How long have you lived outside of Washington since your days as the speaker?

GINGRICH: I haven't. Well, I've lived in Mclean, Virginia, for practical reasons. I did work at the Central Intelligence Agency. I did work at the Pentagon.

ACOSTA: But critics might say you are a creature of Washington.

GINGRICH: You can call me anything you want to. All right, none of my policy proposals represent the Washington establishment.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Ultimately, Gingrich wants voters to judge him not on his past, such as his previous marital difficulties, but on what his campaign web site calls, "The New Newt."

(on camera): Is this because this is the new Newt that we're seeing here, the new Newt Gingrich?

GINGRICH: Go back and get the "Time" magazine cover in 1994 where they had me as Scrooge holding tiny Tim's broken crutch, and the title was, "How Mean Will Gingrich Be To America's Poor?"

One of the things that it led me to be, was it created a caricature of me. So when people finally saw me in debates, they said, that can't be Newt Gingrich because, in fact, I'm very different from the media imagery.


ACOSTA: Another telling sign of Gingrich's sudden surge, he plans to open up his first campaign office in Iowa next week and has an infusion of campaign cash to work with after raising nearly $3 million in just the last month. Jim Acosta, CNN, Sheffield, Iowa.

ROMANS: All right. So does the former speaker have the staying power? One of his early tests as frontrunner will be right here on CNN.

The next Republican debate on national security that's going to happen Tuesday, November 22nd at 8 p.m. Eastern. Candidates will take on big issues like Homeland security and foreign policy, Tuesday, 22nd of November, 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

COSTELLO: Still to come this morning, who says bipartisanship is dead in Washington? Come on. We'll tell you about a new jobs bill that both parties may be able to get behind.

ROMANS: And Gabby Giffords' remarkable recovery from a near fatal gunshot wound. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the road ahead for the Arizona congresswoman. It is 37 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: Welcome back. Finally something both parties in Congress may be able to get behind. A bipartisan jobs bill, it was unveiled on Capitol Hill yesterday.

Joining me now to talk about this new plan, the bill sponsors, Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Welcome to both of you. We like bipartisanship.

So let's start with what's in this that you're hoping you can do. Tax breaks for small businesses. You've also got in there regulatory reform. Incentives to hire veterans, which you know, everyone can get behind, I think, and some measures to attract highly skilled immigrants.

I'll tell you something, these aren't exactly groundbreaking. Some would call them the low-hanging fruit. Is this what it takes? We've got take it piece by piece and find the things you can agree on first? Senator Rubio, I'll let you start.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: That's exactly right. I mean, the point is, there are things we disagree on, you know, tax policy, spending policies. These are big issues and those are decided in elections. We're going to have one next year.

But we can't just sit around here for 12 months and do nothing while people are out of work. And there are things we do agree on and so our point is let's pass the things we agree on.

And then let's have an election about the things we don't agree and so what this bill tried to is identify things that were in the president's jobs plan, the Republican jobs plan that we had in common and let's get those done.

ROMANS: And Senator Coons, that's the point here. This is the common denominator between the two. The president had been pushing for these things as well.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE), MEMBER, BUDGET COMMITTEE: That's right. Some of these ideas were borrowed from the president's jobs plan, some from Republicans in the House, some from Democrats in the Senate.

Senator Casey, for example, of Pennsylvania was the origin of the idea to encourage veterans through a tax break to become franchise owners and entrepreneurs.

He recognize along with several others that the skills it takes to be a platoon leader overseas to get a group of 18 and 19-year-olds to do difficult and unpleasant things over and over may be the same skills that takes to be a successful franchise operator.

These are common sense ideas from a broad range of backgrounds, but we're putting them out as a billing to because the American people want to see us work together to make progress in growing our economy.

ROMANS: And growing the economy is the key here, Senator Rubio. I mean, some would say this is tinkering around the edges. I mean, you've got a real problem in the job market that needs addressed and you've got sort of inaction in Washington.

People frustrated with Congress, 69 percent say you guys have done nothing to address the Congress' problems and when you break it down by party, 28 percent are blaming Republicans, 18 percent are blaming Democrats.

Unemployment is 10.6 percent in Florida. You've got nearly a million people out of work there, obviously a swing state. Are you worried as we close in on these elections that more Americans are going to blame Republicans here, Senator Rubio?

RUBIO: Well, it's not really a political calculation for me. I mean, I go back home and I know people that have been out of work a year, and they're hurting.

And they're looking at us and saying, can you guys do anything? They pay us every two weeks up here to do this job. We're not volunteers. I mean, this is our job. We need to deliver.

Now these are the things we can get done and I think three things will happen. Number one, these are meaningful policies especially for the small businesses that will be helped by some of these measures that we're talking about.

Number two is that it will actually, hopefully people will look around and say that didn't hurt too much. What else can we work on together?

And number three, as we hope it will send a message back home that finally some good news is coming out of Washington. Because I think this gridlock and this bickering as much as anything else is having a deep psychological impact on our economy and on people's willingness to invest in our economy.

ROMANS: Senator Coons, you just have the payroll tax holiday in there still because there are some economists, Diane Swonk is one of them from Mesereau Financial, who told me many times she's very concerned that there could be an effective tax increase coming to a lot of people's paychecks that could really be a jolt in the wrong direction?

COONS: The payroll tax holiday is not one of the proposals in this bill. It does have a couple proposals like modifying the RND tax credit to make it permanent and to encourage companies that invent things here to make things here.

That by some estimates could create hundreds of thousands of jobs. There are also three tax proposals targeted at small business. Things that will help them with expensing capital investments with accelerated depreciation and with attracting capital through a capital gains tax relief for five-year holding of small stocks.

The point here is that access to capital, access to qualified employee, access to innovation and invention are several of the elements that are holding back small businesses that have high growth potential.

We pull together a combination ever proposals from lots of different sources that we think could really make a difference.

ROMANS: Yes. COONS: And frankly, I also think a lack of confidence that Congress is able and willing to tackle the real challenges facing our country is one of the big drags on our country. We've lost our confidence. In this bill, we're showing confidence in small business owners, in veterans, in inventors and in entrepreneurs and I think that's important for all of our country.

ROMANS: I'll give you another thing that were lacking -- there's a lack of demand. You know, the overall company just isn't growing well enough and that allows sort of these riffs between Democrats and Republicans with different views on how to get it jump it started.

That allows those riffs to really grow and become quite troublesome. I want to ask you about the "Super Committee," guys, they have a week to cut a deal, seven days. Talk about bipartisanship. That's going to be the real show of whether we can get some bipartisanship.

I want to -- draw a set of numbers for you. 78 percent of people don't think the committee will have a deal done by Wednesday.

Senator Rubio, do you think they'll get it done?

RUBIO: How do we know?


RUBIO: I mean, that's why I voted against it. I'm not apart of it. Neither are you, neither is Senator Coons. We don't -- there's no public forum going on. We don't have public information. The public's not engaged. We, as members of Congress, have no role to play in it. We're going to get an up-and-down vote. We can vote yes or no but we can't amend whatever they come up with.

I wish them the best. I know they're working hard. I want them to succeed because it's good for our country. And let's just be hopeful that they can.

ROMANS: Senator Coons --


COONS: Dealing with our deficit and debt is one of the biggest problems facing our country. The super committee has an expedited process. That means they're able to get anything that they come up with by a majority that meets this goal, they can get to the floor for a vote, past what has frankly been a very dysfunctional Senate this year. We've had way too many filibusters and fights over amendments. We aren't able to move forward common sense proposals.

I do think the super committee will, in the end, come up with a deal. I've noticed, in my one year here, that we always seem to pull together a deal in the very last hours. I frankly think the American people can't afford for us to fail to come together with a big, bold and bipartisan deal. So I'm optimistic that the super committee will ultimately deliver on their mandate. ROMANS: I'll tell you, the rest of the world is starting to get a little nervous. So are America's investment bankers quite frankly. And by bankers, I mean the people who lend us money when we come up at the last second all the time to solving our near-term problems. But we'll see how they do on this one.

Senator Chris Coons, thank you so much, a Democrat from Delaware.

Also, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida.

Nice to see you today. Thanks.

RUBIO: Thank you.

COONS: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Gives you hope, huh?


COSTELLO: Yes, we'll see.

Still to come this morning, we're getting our first up-close look at how far Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has come since the near fatal shooting 10 months ago. Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at how far she still has to go.

ROMANS: And today's "Romans' Numeral," 903. Here's a hint. It's a special day for Coach "K."

It's 47 after the hour.


COSTELLO: Here's what you need to know to start your day.

He's been criticized for not doing more in an alleged rape of a boy by former coach, Jerry Sandusky. Now, in an e-mail, Penn State assistant, Mike McQueary, says he helped to stop the assault in 2002 and then he did go to police about it.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters can return to Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan this morning but the state supreme court ruled it can no longer camp out overnight.

President Obama is in Australia, announcing plans to widen the U.S. military presence there. 2,500 Marines will be stationed at a base in northern Australia by 2013.

Afghanistan's political future is on the table. At a national assembly meeting, Afghan leaders are discussing the country's long- term relationship with the United States and possible peace talks with Taliban insurgents.

Mario Monti has officially been appointed prime minister of Italy. Monti says he's convinced his country can overcome its debt crisis. He presented his new government to Italy's president this morning, including a list of new ministers.

You're now caught up on the day's headlines. AMERICAN MORNING, back after a short break.


ROMANS: Because I couldn't bear to do another story about bank fees --


-- this morning's "Romans' Numeral" is a number in sports news today. The number, 903. That's the number of wins by Duke basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski.


They only call him Coach "K." And don't try to say that.

COSTELLO: It's easier that way.


ROMANS: Last night's win makes Coach "K." the winningest men's coach in Division I basketball and that's a number we can all get behind this morning.

COSTELLO: Yes. He beat his mentor, Bobby Knight of Indiana.

ROMANS: Very cool. Very cool.

COSTELLO: In this morning's "House Call," Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' amazing recovery from a near-fatal gunshot wound 10 months ago.

ROMANS: Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, talked with Diane Sawyer about the highs and lows, including the moment Gabby learned what happened on that fateful day in January.


DIANE SAWYER, ANCHOR, 20/20: And when Mark told you what happened?



GIFFORDS: Sad. Oh, sad. A lot of people died.

SAWYER: It hurts your heart?

GIFFORDS: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Tough, tough, tough.


ROMANS: Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us live from Atlanta now to talk about her progress.

Sanjay, you can see in the clip, the conversation is still difficult for her. Is that going to get better?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Most likely it will. She's had such strong improvement, quick improvement early. That usually bodes well in terms of where her speech will end up. All of her doctors seem to agree, it's not going to be 100 percent, but a lot better than what you heard just there.

But let me just point out really quickly, when you talk about speech, it's sort of categorized into the two areas, what is called receptive speech and expressive speech. Receptive is understanding communication, and expressive is expressing yourself. She has always been able to understand well. It's her expression that's slowing getting better and better. And even since that clip that you just saw, she had a little audio announcement yesterday from her office a couple weeks after the clip.

So take a look at this for comparison.


GIFFORDS: This is Gabby Giffords. I miss you. I miss Tucson, the mountains, the blue skies, even the heat. I'm getting stronger. I'm getting better. It's been a hard year for all of us.


COSTELLO: Wow. Well, you know, I'm just curious --

GUPTA: Improved, compared to before.

COSTELLO: Yes, it is. It dose seem she's much improved even in that short spate of time. I think she has until May to decide if she's going to run for office. I think many people are wondering, will she be able to do that that soon? And will she need, you know, her -- you know, her entire speech repaired before she goes back to work possibly?

GUPTA: Well, you know, first of all, in terms of whether she actually will do it or not, who knows for sure. I think that what you would say most and neurologists and rehab doctors would say is that 18 months is when you start to really get some of your best improvements. You can improve after that. But that is sort of the peak time. She may have significant recovery between now and May because, you know, right now is about the 10 or 11-month mark from when the accident occurred. So she could have significant improvement.

As far as what she needs, it's more the sort of -- you heard the recollection of word, sort of word finding difficulties that's been problematic. If she is reading, as she was in that clip you just saw, she strings together sentences quite well.

ROMANS: Mark Kelly, at the beginning of the ABC special, said that optimism is a form of healing. There is some truth to that sometimes, isn't there? At least the point of view is important in this, as you point out, a long recovery path.

GUPTA: Yes, I think that's more than anecdotal now. People have believed that sort of instinctively for some time but now there's data to show that optimism does all sorts of things in terms of your healing. That's worth pointing out. She's had excellent care, as well, resources. From the moment this happened until now, she's been getting excellent rehab. And that's part of the significance of her recovery, as well.

COSTELLO: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

Ahead in the next hour, taking the "Occupy" out of Occupy Wall Street. Will it make the movement stronger or kill it off? Do they need a leader now more than ever?

Five minutes until the top of the hour.