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American Morning

Occupy Wall Street Movement Planning Protest at Stock Exchange; New Alleged Victims Coming Forward in Sandusky Child Abuse Scandal; Man Who Fired Gun at White House Arrested; Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Action"; NYC Braces for "Occupy" Protests; Suspected White House Shooter Arrested; Secrecy at Penn State; Victim #1 Mother on Sandusky; The Tea Party Budget; Obama Talks Quit Smoking Struggle In Ad; Debate Over Controversial School Lunch Bill

Aired November 17, 2011 - 06:59   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Occupy protesters launch a day of action from coast to coast. Today is the movement's two-month anniversary. They're going all out to get their message heard.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: His TV interview shocked the nation. Now, it appears that Jerry Sandusky's own words have triggered a response on some potential victims of the former Penn State coach.

ROMANS: And police tracked down the man accused of shooting at the White House. Now, the search for a motive.

COSTELLO: And why Congress thinks pizza is a vegetable and want French fries on your kid's school lunch menu on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: All right. Good morning. It's Thursday, November 17th. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING.

COSTELLO: Up first this morning, right now the Occupy movement is preparing to stage a massive show of force to mark the movement's two- month anniversary. Protests are planned in hundreds of cities. Here in New York protesters are planning to take their message to Wall Street, the subways, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Mary Snow is live in downtown Manhattan. Have the festivities begun?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, the last time we spoke about an hour ago, there was a small group. Take a look now. There are a couple of hundred protesters gathering this hour. These protesters are expected to head couple of blocks south here to the New York Stock Exchange.

And you are looking at a very different looking Zuccotti Park than from a few days ago after the city of New York evicted protesters and really prohibiting them from setting up anybody kind of sleeping bags or tents and staying in this park overnight.

And two days after that eviction, take a look at the headlines of the "New York Daily News." it pretty much sums it up here "Do or Die for Occupy' with the Occupy Wall Street future at stake. This is where the movement all started two months ago. And these protesters are vowing to have a strong presence, as I said, at the stock exchange.

There's heavy security down there, heavy police presence. Carol, on an ordinary day there is heavy security at the stock exchange. Later today, these protesters expect to march across the Brooklyn Bridge around 5:00 this evening. The Brooklyn Bridge had been targeted in weeks past and there have been massive marches, and these protesters expect one more again today. Carol?

COSTELLO: So there probably will be a great number of arrests but after today, where do the protesters go from here?

SNOW: That's the big question. And will they try to -- in their words -- occupy another physical space like they had been for the past two months? Talking to some people in this group saying that that's not clear, that this protest had been planned. They want to get through today. They have been meeting and reorganizing. They say they feel recharged after what happened. But whether this just becomes a you know, movement where they are planning protests or plan to occupy a physical space, that remains unknown.

COSTELLO: Mary Snow, we will get back to you. Thanks so much.

In San Francisco, occupy protesters took their message straight to one of the big banks. Students and demonstrators stormed the lobby of the Bank of America there. Police were called in and reported that more than 100 people were arrested. And stay with us. In less than 15 minutes we will talk to New York City deputy mayor Howard Wolfson to find out what the city is going to do to prepare for today's massive protests.

ROMANS: Now to the Penn State child sex scandal. Breaking overnight the "New York Times" reporting the Second Mile is missing files that could be key to this investigation. Investigators say a chunk of travel and expense reports from the years 2000 to 2003 are missing. During that time a janitor and then graduate assistant Mike McQueary allegedly saw Sandusky sexually assaulting boys. Investigators want to know whether Sandusky used Second Mile perks to lure his victims.

Also break thing morning, CNN contributor Sarah Ganim reports exclusively that new potential victims have decided to come forward, outraged after hearing Sandusky's interview with NBC's Bob Costas. The victims, their claims date back to the 1970s. That Sandusky interview was hard to watch for so-called victim number one. His mother spoke to Anderson Cooper last night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was upset. He was very upset about it. He said -- I didn't watch it at -- I watched it when it was on, and he watched it after that. And he said that he cried. And I said, why are you crying? And he said because I'm afraid he might go free.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": He's afraid Sandusky might go free.


ROMANS: Sarah Ganim has been covering the Penn State scandal from the very beginning. She is a crime reporter for "The Patriot News" and now a CNN contributor. She joins us from State College, Pennsylvania. Good morning, Sarah.


ROMANS: So what you know is that a couple of victim rights' advocacy lawyers, well-known lawyers in your area, are telling you that, look, that interview inspired other people to come to us and say that this -- this is just -- this is just wrong. Those denials have inspired us to come forward and say this happened to me, too.

GANIM: Yes. These lawyers were telling me that, you know, Jerry Sandusky may have wanted to get his story out there when he spoke to Bob Costas. But what happened was it inspired this triggered response from victims who hadn't yet come forward who are now talking to these attorneys and who have a reputation for keeping victims' rights first and foremost and exploring their options of what they are going to do.

You have to remember that these victims that these attorneys talked to yesterday have never told their story to anyone. Like many of the victims in this case, they have kept it bottled up for many, many years. And now they are coming forward and considering what they are going to do about it.

ROMANS: Some cases, I mean, we have seen in other cases that one of the reasons why people don't say something is because they are afraid. They have been groomed sometimes in these sorts of cases by a sexual predator who has urged them and succeeded in getting them to keep quiet. And also because they are afraid of the response, publicity, not being believed. In a way, all of that is playing out right now, isn't it?

GANIM: It is. And they are watching this. They are watching it play out on television and reading about what is happening to some of the other victims. The response they are getting. Victim One's psychologist told me he is being bullied in school. And he is the youngest of the victims we know of. He's still a teenager. And he's having to deal with this out, you know, this response, this backlash, towards him when he was the one that prosecutors say came forward, was believed, and did the right thing, and had the courage to stick to it to the end. And he's getting all this negativity. And it is really incredibly hard for that.

ROMANS: He is not anonymous at school is what you're saying. People at school know that he is victim one.

GANIM: I think that what happened here is this is a small town. It's gotten a ton of attention. And, you know, yes, unfortunately I think that his anonymity is fading.

ROMANS: So it gives context to what victim one's mother told Anderson Cooper last night as well. She describes the conversation she had with her son's principal when she realized something was really wrong here and was encouraging the school to intervene after her son first reported Sandusky to the school. Let's listen to what the mother said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, I want you to call the police, call Children and Youth, you know. I said call the police right now. And I said it like three times, call the police right now. And he said no, you need to think about what the ramifications of what would happen if I did that.


ROMANS: Sarah, standing up to Sandusky, standing up in light of the empire that is Penn State when you are one little kid, I mean, that would suggest that -- that would be one reason why it took so long for this all to open up.

GANIM: Yes. And the attorneys I talked to yesterday said that there were some cases where the victims that he talked to tried to make some mention, tried to bring their allegations forward in some way to people and that they were either shot down or told that they weren't going to be believed or discouraged from coming forward. So I think that we have seen that there were a lot of missed opportunities in this case, and there might have been more.

ROMANS: All right, Sarah, thank you so much from State College.

Later this hour we will hear more from the mother of one of Sandusky's alleged victims, including what happened to make her suspicious about her son's relationship with the accused coach.

COSTELLO: Authorities say he had a direct interest in the president. This morning the suspected White House shooter is in custody. Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez was arrested yesterday. A gun linked to him was found near the White House along with two bullets on the South Lawn. CNN's Athena Jones is live at the White House with more. Good morning.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. We can expect Oscar Ortega-Hernandez to appear at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon in Pittsburgh in U.S. magistrate court there. That's the first time we will get to see him make an appearance and possibly hear more of the charges we brought against him.

We know that the U.S. park police in their arrest warrant, the charge was for carrying dangerous weapon. But it is important to look back at a 1994 case, the case of Francisco Duran, who in 1994 walked right up to the White House, the front of the White House, the opposite side of where the bullets were found on Tuesday, and he shot at least 29 shots across the North Lawn into the White House. Duran was convicted of 10 counts, including attempting to assassinate the president. And so while it is impossible to tell this early what all the charges might be that are brought against Ortega-Hernandez, this could be one of them, Carol. COSTELLO: Any word on his motivation?

JONES: It is interesting. We hope more of that will come out as well, maybe not today but in the coming days. As you mentioned, authorities of interviewed family and friends and determined that Ortega-Hernandez had what they are calling a "direction of interest towards the president and the White House." It sounds a little awkward. But others simplify it as saying he was obsessed with the president. Hopefully we will find out more.

We do know he has a criminal history in several states. He was arrested several times in Idaho and has been found guilty of charges ranging from alcohol and drug violations to resisting arrest. We also know that earlier on the morning of Friday morning, about 11:00, hours before the shooting, Arlington police, police in Arlington, Virginia, right across the river from D.C., stopped Ortega-Hernandez, who was on foot. He had been reported acting suspicious. They talked to him and questioned. They didn't arrest him, but they were able to take pictures, and those were pictures put on the fliers and that helped lead to his capture, Carol.

COSTELLO: And as far as security at the White House, I don't know whether this guy allegedly shot from the car or outside of the car, but there are snipers on top of the White House. Could they see him?

JONES: Well, it is hard to speculate. Certainly this would have been -- supposed to have happened around 9:00 at night on Friday night. So of course it would have been very, very dark. He was at least 700 to 800 yards away. So south of the White House on Constitution Avenue, it is quite a distance away. It's near the Washington Monument. And so it is hard to know what kind of weapons they have and what the scopes look like and all of that.

But certainly when I spoke with the secret service yesterday they said that this occurred on the edge of the outer perimeter. There is always a perimeter around the White House, several perimeters. There are layers of security. And so this happened on the far edge. They believe in this case security worked. One of the other layers, of course, is this ballistic glass behind the White House's historic windows, that historic glass. You have that other layer that will stop a bullet. It's bulletproof glass. It is hard to know what they saw on Friday night.

ROMANS: Athena Jones reporting live for us. Thank you.

While all that is happening at the White House, the president has been traveling. He arrived in Indonesia overnight as the Pacific tour continues. In a speech to the Australian parliament he said America is a Pacific power and here to stay. The president was there to announce up to 2,500 U.S. marines will be deployed to Australia in a deal with that country. The move coming as China expands its military reach into the Pacific.

COSTELLO: Back home, mood is not very good. New CNN poll shows that just 25 percent of people think things are going well in the country, 74 percent say they are going badly, 44 percent are confidence that we will be able to turn things around, but that number is much lower than it was last year or the year before.

ROMANS: New reports of unrest in Syria overnight. Explosions and gunfire rocked the Syrian capital after a couple of military defectors struck a key government security complex. Meantime international pressure on Syrian president Bashar al Assad is to end the brutal crackdown on protesters. That backlash is growing.

COSTELLO: In Kuwait angry protesters stormed the parliament building demanding the country's prime minister step down. Demonstrators included opposition lawmakers who accused the Kuwaiti regime of corruption.

ROMANS: All right, still to come this morning, deadly storms ripped through the south. Now search and rescue teams are still looking for more survivors.

COSTELLO: And lip-locked leaders -- find out which fashion label is in hot water for their new kissing campaign.

ROMANS: And they are getting all the publicity they hoped for.

All right, pizza a vegetable? Congress seems to think so. And it could become a staple for your kid's lunch. We will explain.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. It is about 13 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: All right. It is 16 minutes past the hour. That means it's time for Reynolds Wolf. Good morning, Reynolds.


We got people in parts of the southeast that are right now really just trying cleanups from the mess of yesterday's storm. We got a video to show what happened just yesterday. Some powerful straight- lined winds, possible tornadoes ripped through parts of Alabama, Georgia, and into the Carolinas. And you can see what's left behind.

Unfortunately, we've got four fatalities talking about one in Georgia and three more in Rock Hill, South Carolina that we are aware of. We may find that there are other people that may have lost their lives due to yesterday's storms.

What we're seeing right now, though, was not only the damage there but also seeing a lot of that precipitation now moving farther out to sea. Right along the frontal boundary that's zipping into the Atlantic right behind it. We still have some residual moisture, but we also see something else, some cold air at the surface. So with the moisture going over that cold air -- we're seeing a little bit of a snowfall, very light precipitation into portions of the Appalachians.

Now, in terms of your forecast that you can anticipate will be on the top half of the system, possibly some delays in a few key spots. Mainly up towards New York and Philadelphia could have some major delays around an hour or so. In Boston, D.C. metro, showers, low clouds may keep you grounded, but delays expected to be just under an hour.

Same lengthy delays under an hour for Atlanta, for Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and San Francisco due to the low clouds. And I will tell what, although San Francisco is dealing with the low clouds, it's going to be the Pacific Northwest that's going to be dealing with the clouds, the rainfall.

And in the highest elevations, the coastal range and back into the Central and Northern Rockies, snow is going to be a big deal. Not only that, some strong winds that may top 40, say, 45 and 50 miles per hour. But some locations at the highest peaks may get up to a foot or two of snow before we round out the weekend. So it could be great for skiers in the long term, but just trying to drive, trying to get from point A to point B, maybe really tough for a lot of people.

We're catching a break in parts of the Central Plains, but certainly some cooler air in spots like Minneapolis and back into Kansas City in 30s and 40s; 59 in Dallas; 68 in Houston; 59 is you high in Denver; 55 in Salt Lake City; 60s in San Francisco and Los Angeles; 43 in Seattle; 52 in Boston; 56 your high in Atlanta; 85 in Miami and New York with 47 degrees your high for the day.

You're up to speed. Back to you. Your turn.

ROMANS: Sure you are up to speed? Wow. You've covered a lot of ground. Thanks, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

COSTELLO: He did, didn't he?

ROMANS: He sure did.

COSTELLO: Thanks, Reynolds.

It's being called a block party the One Percent will never forget. You are looking at live pictures near Zuccotti Park where right now protesters are gathering to answer Occupy Wall Street's call to shut down, not only the financial district, but also the subways and possibly the Brooklyn Bridge. Today's so-called "Day of Action" is to mark the movement's two-month anniversary.

Joining me now is Howard Wolfson, New York City Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications. Welcome.


COSTELLO: So it's going to be a tough day for the city.

WOLFSON: It's -- it could be. We're obviously watching this very closely. The -- COSTELLO: You're doing more than watching, right?

WOLFSON: Absolutely. The Occupy Wall Street movement has said that this is going to be a massive protest. There are going to be tens of thousands of people in the street.

Now, this is New York. We will be prepared. We are always prepared. This is a place where we honor the first amendment and where people come and protest all the time. And we're going to make sure that if people want to peacefully protest, they're going to have the right to do that. If people break the law, then obviously we'll deal with that.

COSTELLO: So when protesters say they want to shut down Wall Street, what does that say to you? They're better exercising their first amendment rights or breaking the law?

WOLFSON: Well, it depends on what they do in that context. If they attempt to enter a building that they're not allowed in that's breaking the law. If they want to express their concerns about Wall Street, that's totally fine.

COSTELLO: So if they stay in what area -- in the streets, on the sidewalks, will police be trying to keep them out of Wall Street altogether?

WOLFSON: I think it will depend on where they go, what time they are there, how many of them there are. It could be a very fluid situation. Police on the ground are very well trained to deal with these situations and they'll deal with it appropriately and effectively.

COSTELLO: Protesters have also said -- and we're looking at live pictures right here of what's happening now and there is a big police presence down there. Protesters have also said they want to shutdown the Brooklyn Bridge. The last time they tried to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, things didn't go so well for them. There were many arrests. So how are police handling that this time around?

WOLFSON: Well, we -- again, encourage and allow and guarantee the first amendment in this city. We're not going to let people walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a roadway during rush hour. That's not legal.

And my hope is that people will act peacefully. There's no indication that they wouldn't. And massive protest is not incompatible with lawful activity and we're hoping that people will observe the law.

COSTELLO: I just wanted to get your reaction to a column in "The Wall Street Journal" this morning, and it's about Mayor Bloomberg making the decision to clear out Zuccotti Park. This is from "The Wall Street Journal."

"Occupy Wall Street was getting us tired as Charlie Sheen jokes about winning. Then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg played right into the Occupy Wall Street movement's hands. Mr. Bloomberg's post midnight raid on camp at Zuccotti Park swept the protesters from their spiritual home, but it re-energized the movement, too."

And the editorial goes on to say, if Mayor Bloomberg had just been more patient, waited for the cold weather to move in, the protesters would have gone off by themselves. But instead we have this massive protest today.

WOLFSON: Well, there are partisans on both sides, on both the left and the right who are arguing whether what we did the other night was good or bad for Occupy Wall Street. That was not a consideration of ours. We weren't acting against the interests of OWS or for the interests of OWS. We're acting on behalf of the people of the city in the rule of law. And we found the situation in which there was a danger presented by the continuing occupation of that space, fire hazards, sexual assaults, drug use.

And we have to act. And whether that was good or bad for the movement, it's not our issue, not our consideration.

COSTELLO: So in retrospect you have no regrets.

WOLFSON: Oh, absolutely not. The action was handled absolutely professionally. There were no significant injuries unlike Oakland where you had rioting, none of that happened here. This was exactly the right thing.

COSTELLO: I do have to tell you the New York Press Club wasn't so happy about what happened. Because police would not allow them anywhere near the area to see what was going on, which seems to be a violation of first amendment rights.

WOLFSON: Absolutely not. You know, standard operating procedure in this city, I don't know about other places, in the middle of an active ongoing police action, you don't have reporters along. And I don't think there is any question people --

COSTELLO: Many times reporters observed operations like this.

WOLFSON: This is not an episode of "Cops," right? We don't take reporters and we're busting down doors or in the middle of an ongoing action. And so that is standard procedure in this city. I don't know about other place.

COSTELLO: Well, some reporters also accuse the police of being rough with them. Simply they were just trying to get the story, trying to report what was going on and that's -- you know, of course, what we do.

WOLFSON: You know, there are -- there are a lot of politicians in this city who are concerned about this. And -- but what they are ignoring is the fact that the central issue before this mayor and before the eight million people who live here was whether or not this dangerous situation in Zuccotti Park was going to continue.

The mayor stepped in. He acted. He acted prudently. He acted appropriately. The NYPD gets a lot of credit. We have some of the people running for mayor in the city who have compared this to Tiananmen Square or to the Iraq War, totally inappropriate and outrageous and real insult to the professionalism and the people who carried this out. We're not going to stand for that.

COSTELLO: Howard Wolfson, thanks so much --

WOLFSON: Thank you.

COSTELLO: -- for being here this morning -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Still to come this morning, "he said/they said." Did Mike McQueary really go to police to report an alleged child rape at Penn State? The police say -- two different police departments say they know nothing about it.


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

Right now, stock futures are flat after fear got the best of the markets yesterday. The Dow slid nearly 200 points. The reason, concerns again about Europe and the so-called super committee here which has just six days now to cut a minimum of $1.2 trillion from America's deficit.

Coming up next hour, we're going to get a new report of a number of unemployment claims filed for the very first time last week. Economists expect that number still hovering at the key 400,000 levels, but you really want to see it come down further to show growing strength from the labor market. We'll get that read as soon as it's available.

The price of oil is above $100 a barrel for first time since July. One market analyst telling CNNMoney we may not see prices at the pump skyrocket just yet. Why? Because of slowing demand in Europe worries about a slowing economy.

If you're a current or even former Netflix customer, you could be entitled to a small payout to settle allegations of the movie giant and Wal-Mart illegally conspired back in 2009 to raise DVD rental and purchase prices. Those eligible will receive either a Wal-Mart gift card or cash.

And the Italian fashion label Benetton is getting heat for its latest ad campaign. The so-called "unhate" ads has a series of pictures of world leaders kissing each other on the lips. The provocative images are essentially artwork. They are not actual photos. The company has already dropped one showing Pope Benedict kissing an Egyptian Imam after protests from the Vatican.

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: That was some picture. Top stories now at 30 minutes past the hour. The two-month anniversary of the "Occupy" movement. You're looking at these live pictures.

That's near Zuccotti Park where protesters are now gathering. They're planning to shut down Wall Street just about right now. Expected to take their message then to the subways and then to the Brooklyn Bridge just in time for rush hour this afternoon.

ROMANS: Police have captured a man suspected in the White House shooting. Oscar Ortega-Hernandez was taken into custody at a Pennsylvania hotel yesterday. A gun linked to him was found near the White House. No one was hurt. Hernandez will appear in court this afternoon.

COSTELLO: Police are contradicting claims by Penn State whistle blower Mike McQueary that he went to the police after witnessing Jerry Sandusky's alleged rape of a young boy. Both the campus and state college police say there is no record of any report.

In the meantime, Sandusky's prime time TV interview was reportedly the trigger for many of his alleged victims to come forward and share their stories. Some of those cases dating back to the 1970s.

CNN's Drew Griffin has been trying to scale the wall of silence surrounding the Penn State child sex scandal to uncover details of the Jerry Sandusky investigation. Drew is in State College this morning.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Carol, instead of continuing our look for the records, which we have been told we cannot get.

We decided to go searching for the people, the officials, who should have known and most likely did know about the allegations, the investigations, and why nothing had been done for so long once these investigations were launched.

The former University President Graham Spanier, former university counsel, his name is Wendell Courtney, and the former university police chief, a guy named Tom Harmon, according to the grand jury report, all three of these officials most likely knew a heck of a lot was going on with Jerry Sandusky and these allegations as far back as 1998.

In fact, after that mother accused Sandusky of showering with her son naked in 1998, the former police chief had an investigation going on, but somehow we are told from that grand jury report Tom Harmon abruptly stopped that investigation.

Tom Harmon now works for an architectural and engineering firm. They have an office very near the campus here and do business with the campus. This is what happened when we went and tried to find him.


GRIFFIN: Is Mr. Harmon in?


GRIFFIN: He's not in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does not work in the office. He works out of his home.

GRIFFIN: Does he have an office number? I mean, a number that if somebody at this office --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can't provide that information. Sorry.

GRIFFIN: You can't provide that information?



GRIFFIN: The former police chief sent us an e-mail, Carol, saying that he could not discuss this because of a pending investigation. We went to the university counsel's office, Wendell Courtney. He was the university counsel back in 1998.

In fact, he gave his blessing back in 1998 for the investigation of Sandusky. He is not talking either. In fact, when we went into his office, he actually had an attorney come out and tell us to leave the property all together.

Graham Spanier, now he was forced to resign as the Penn State university president, but he still lives here, lives in the mansion, lives down a private road.

He is not talking, not answering any questions so continuing silence here at Penn State University. As many people continue to look for answers as to who knew what when and where -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Drew Griffin reporting. Thanks.

ROMANS: Last night on CNN's "AC 360," Anderson Cooper spoke with the mother of one of Jerry Sandusky's alleged victims. He is identified only as victim number one in the indictment.

She talked about how she first realized wasn't quite right with her son. I also want to mention that her voice is distorted on purpose. It is to help protect her and her son's identity.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC 360": After a while, he didn't want to -- he didn't want to see Sandusky anymore. When Sandusky would call he would ask you the lie, say he wasn't around?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. COOPER: That started making -- that made you suspicious?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, very suspicious and then out of the blue one day, he was on the computer and wanted to do to look up sex weirdos.

COOPER: He wanted to do a search about sex offenders, sex weirdos --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He asked me what's the web site you get on to look them up is. I told him that it was Megan's law. He said well, how do you type it in? and I gave him the web address. He typed it in the computer.

I said who are you looking for? He said Jerry. I was -- like, I kind of froze. I was like wow. What are you looking him up for? And he said, I don't know. I just want to see if he's on there.

I said, well, why would he be on there? Is there something you want to tell me? He was like no. Don't they put those kinds of people on there? I said, well, what's going on?

You need to tell me. He said, I don't know, I don't know, sometimes he just acts weird so I just wanted to see if he was on there. That's all. That was the end of that conversation.

COOPER: So he actually wanted to search under Jerry Sandusky's name on a site for sexual offenders?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That was like a big clue to me.


ROMANS: The mother says she wants Sandusky to go to jail the rest of his life.

Still to come, the clock is ticking down for the so-called "Super Committee" to find common ground on deficit reduction. But is the Tea Party arriving to the rescue? We are going to talk to the man behind their plan, Dick Armey.

COSTELLO: It is a school lunch debate. Well, at least some call it a debate. Why Congress wants to put more French fries and pizza on your -- on your children's tray because pizza is a vegetable. Don't you know it?


ROMANS: Most eyes in Washington today are on the so-called "Super Committee." They now have less than a week to come up with a plan to cut the deficit. But this morning, members of the Tea Party are putting out their own plan. They say it balances the budget in four years without tax hikes, cut spending by $9.7 trillion over 10 years.

Shrinks the federal government in the process and stops the growth of our national debt. The devil is obviously the details. We are going to get to those in a little bit.

But first, one of the men who helped put this whole thing together, Dick Armey. He's the chairman of Freedom Works and of course, the former House Majority Leader from Texas. Welcome to the program, sir.

DICK ARMEY, CHAIRMAN, FREEDOMWORKS: Thank you for having me.

ROMANS: So let's talk about the Tea Party budget if you will and how you would achieve this, the details. You would repeal health care reform in its entirety. You would eliminate four cabinet level agencies among them energy, education, commerce, and HUD.

You would reduce or privatize the EPA and the TSA, end student loans, cut foreign aid. You would also get rid of other programs and agencies like legal services and the Small Business Administration and AmeriCorps, the National Endowment for the Arts.

With all due respect, in what Washington are you going to get all of that done? How much of this is operational and how much is aspirational?

ARMEY: Well, actually all of it could be done if we had a Congress that had the will to do it. When we put this together, we had a meeting of some 250 activists and we talked this over.

At the time they were forming the "Super Committee," the general feeling among the group was these guys will never figure out how to do it. And let's -- why don't we do a commission?

They elected commissioners from among their ranks. We have welcome engineers. We started the process of doing -- great decisions. We came up with what I believe to be quite reasonable things.

Certainly, there are suggestions in there. It is all scored by CBO. In four years to where these guys can't figure out how they can even get a start on. And I think one of the things we are trying to show Congress, this is a bad heart.

Just go get it done. You say you can't cut AmeriCorps, but you are going to end up cutting the Marine Corps. Would you rather cut the Marine Corps than cut AmeriCorps? Make some decisions. We have shown them a road map. It can be done. We've done it. Why can't you do it?

ROMANS: Let's talk about the Department of Energy. It is something we have been talking about in the news lately for obvious reasons with Rick Perry. How -- you cut the Department of Energy, you end it. So you have to move, what, you guys would move -- securing of nukes and the nukes stuff to the Defense Department and then just end everything that's that Energy does?

ARMEY: Well, you know, again, you can take the -- the worst agency of the government. I remember when we -- we did this with commerce back in or tried to do it with commerce back in 1995 and 1996. There are some legitimate necessary things to be done.

But there's always a place to put that necessary stuff while you eliminate the unnecessary agency. And the fact of the matter is that even if you look at the Department of Education, one stretches their brain, works real hard at it.

I'm sure that you can find some two, three things that are worthwhile and contribute positively to the better education of our children.

ROMANS: Just two, three in the whole Department of Education? There are just two or three things you think?

ARMEY: Well, look, this isn't no thinking thing. The United States of America was the envy of all the world in how we educated our children for first 200 years. In the late '70s, they created the Department of Education at the federal level.

You have seen a direct correlation between increasing size of the federal Department of Education, decreasing performance of the American education of our children to where we are -- we are no longer the envy of the world.

Now, I would -- I would put this challenge. You find me some justification in terms of the increase improved quality of education from our children and grandchildren and we will talk about what it is that we need to keep from that agency.

ROMANS: Last quick question.

ARMEY: Quite frankly, it is probably done more to diminish the quality of education for our children than any other thing in this country.

ROMANS: Let me ask you about the fed. Would you get rid of the Federal Reserve?

ARMEY: No, no, no, no. If you are going to have a managed care and see which courses can be efficiency we would discipline it and we would make it in fact, confine it to its legitimate task.

My line on the Federal Reserve is time to get it to start thinking inside the box, stay focused on its essential duties and let's introduce a little bit of competing currencies so that we further incentivize them to stay focused on maintaining the quality of the dollar as they were intended to do in first place. ROMANS: So you'd have another currency to be backed by gold bouillon, gold actually of U.S. stocks so you could choose which currency you wanted to use in America?

ARMEY: Yes. Why not? I think -- right now, for example, you take a look at euro -- Europe. They all went to the euro and starting to break down and if it doesn't work Europe functioned fairly well with competing currencies in the past.

The whole notion of competing currencies is a notion that does, in fact, bring with it the same thing you get from competition and every other walk of life. If you have five people competing, you have five people incentivizing to do a better job of what they are doing.

ROMANS: All right, if --


ARMEY: If you have one monopoly on -- a government monopoly on money and it can get sloppy, as our Federal Reserve has done.

ROMANS: Dick Armey, chairman of Freedom Works, a former majority House leader, out with us with the Tea Party budget.

Thank you for dropping by this morning, sir.

ARMEY: Thank you for having me.

COSTELLO: Still to come this morning, pizza, the new vegetable? That's what Congress seems to think. It could become a staple for your kids' lunch. We'll explain.


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

The Occupy Wall Street movement's biggest protest yet is under way in New York City. Thousands are marching on Wall Street to mark the group's two-month anniversary. They are also planning to protest on subways and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Former Penn State coach and accused child molester, Jerry Sandusky, is getting a response to his primetime TV interview this week. Exclusive reporting by CNN contributor, Sara Ganim, says several possible victims decided to come forward as a result of that interview. Some cases going back as far as the '70s.

The president saying the United States is a Pacific power and here to stay. He arrived in Indonesia this morning after announcing a shift of military power to Australia.

The police capture ad man suspected in the White House shooting. Oscar Ortega-Hernandez was taken into custody at a Pennsylvania hotel yesterday. He is accused of firing two bullets at presidential mansion on Friday. Powerful storms ripped through the south. At least four people killed yesterday. The nasty weather destroying homes and ripping up trees and knocking out power lines. Rescue teams are now searching for survivors.

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


COSTELLO: Fifty-one minutes past the hour.

You may remember President Obama was declared tobacco free after his last medical checkup. Well, now, he's talking about his struggle to quit smoking in a new video for the annual Great American Smoke Out by the American Cancer Society. This is the first for the president. Check it out.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Over the years, we made great progress in reducing the number of Americans who smoke. But, today, 46 million Americans are still hooked. And tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable early deaths in this country.

The fact is, quitting smoking is hard. Believe me, I know. We also know that the best way to prevent the health problems that come with smoking is to keep young people from starting in the first place.

We've always known the fight to stop smoking in this country won't be easy. But people like all of you that make me confident that together we can help Americans everywhere live longer, happier and healthier lives.


COSTELLO: Wow. So, we're glad he quit smoking and finally admitted to smoking and then quitting.


COSTELLO: Because he quit and started again and quit and started again but this time it seems to be like the real thing.

ROMANS: Well, he talks about young people, keeping people -- I don't know how long he smoked, but it could have been 20 years. We don't know if it's from college or whatever. But getting young people to not start, you know, that's the key because it's very difficult to stop once you start.

COSTELLO: So the next step is to get House Speaker Boehner to stop smoking --


COSTELLO: -- and to do a similar ad campaign. ROMANS: That's right.

COSTELLO: Do you hear me, Congressman?

ROMANS: It's all about being healthy in Washington. If Congress gets its way, by the way, pizza could be a new vegetable. And French fries could be a staple in your children's school cafeteria. There is a huge debate on Capitol Hill this week over a controversial new bill that blocks strict health regulations for school lunches.

COSTELLO: CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is here with all the details.

So, they're sort of intimating that the tomato paste or tomatoes on the pizza would qualify as a vegetable, except tomatoes aren't vegetables.


GUPTA: Right. So there's that debate first, whether a tomato is a vegetable or a fruit.


GUPTA: A longer-standing debate than the one they're having now.


GUPTA: But this does go -- do you remember in the '80s, with ketchup, potentially, being called a vegetable? This was something they discussed with school lunches in the past. This has been a showdown for some time.

We have been reporting on your program about the new bill, the healthier school lunch bill. They want it to do some very specific things, limit starchy vegetables, for example, cut down on pizza, cut down on French fries, as you say, as a staple, make them more occasional options, and try to change the way the kids eat. They've been pushing this, really, for about a year now.

And what we're hearing is that component of this healthier school lunch spending bill, those things will not be a part of this. This is a debate going back and forth for some time. But people, they are saying, look, we're not -- we're not planning on giving more money to cut down on things like pizza and French fries and adding things like fruits and vegetables and grains and low-fat milk. That will not happen, at least the way things stand right now.

ROMANS: Why? Why?

GUPTA: Well, part of it -- as you might guess -- I mean, you guys know this world -- is money. Part of it is how you define these things.

And, carol, you're joking about the tomato paste thing, but that is a real debate going on right now, saying, look, tomato pastE, if you serve it with two teaspoons -- a piece of pizza with two teaspoons of tomato paste, it could be considered a vegetable. That's what they're saying. And potatoes aren't the culprit here. it's the way you prepare the potatoes.

ROMANS: Right.

GUPTA: So these are some of the debates going on over the actual foods. But then you're also talking about money. Keep in mind, about two-thirds of kids get the majority of their calories from school lunches. And about a third get at least some of their calories from school lunches. So this is not only important in terms of providing calories, but also dictating the way kids eat now and how they might eat later in life. Some of the same points you were making about smoking with President Obama, some of those habits start early in life.

COSTELLO: I wonder, like, where this is really coming from. Because I can't help but think that the companies that sell frozen pizzas to schools across America have lots of lobbying money and maybe that's a reason, too, that Congress is balking on this.

GUPTA: Well, there might be more lobbying money --


GUPTA: -- than you think at stake than you think. This is huge money, overall. If you think about it, 21 million kids are getting their food from their lunch programs in school. It costs about $10 billion to $11 billion a year. They wanted to add on another 6.8 over five years, so just about $1.2 million every year. There is a lot of money at stake here, no question.

But what they also found, when you carry out the equation, while it costs more money now, it could reduce costs later on some of the food costs of these other foods such as the fresh fruit and produce --


COSTELLO: That's long-term stuff. We're not good at that in this country.


GUPTA: I know. I mean, it's just politics hits health, kids' health. A collision here in a big way.

ROMANS: Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it, guys.

COSTELLO: Ahead in the next hour of AMERICAN MORNING, the latest on the Occupy Wall Street movement, now actually headed to Wall Street to make their message heard.

ROMANS; Also basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stops by to talk about his battle with cancer and how he's helping others with the disease.