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American Morning

Allegations of Child Sex Abuse Arise at Syracuse University; Penn State; Additional Alleged Victims Coming Forth Charging Jerry Sandusky with Child Abuse; Solyndra Hearing; Syracuse's Fine Accused of Molestation; More Alleged Penn State Victims?; Obama Announces Mission to Myanmar; Deficit Talks; Super Committee Deadline; Super Committee to Work on Budget Through Weekend; Economy Affects Number of Children

Aired November 18, 2011 - 06:59   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Another sex scandal at a major university. This time, it's Syracuse. A long-time assistant coach put on leave, and now, two former ball boys coming forward.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: New accusers also coming forward alleging abuse by Penn State assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, and the alleged victims claiming the abuse dates back decades.

ROMANS: A presidential candidate under protection. Herman Cain getting his own security detail courtesy of the U.S. secret service.

COSTELLO: And nearly 30 years later, new question surrounding the drowning death of actress, Natalie Wood. Homicide detectives have reopened the case on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS: And good morning, everyone. Friday, Carol's favorite day of the week. November 18th. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING.

COSTELLO: Good morning to you. Up first this morning new allegations of sexual abuse at another major university, this time Syracuse.

ROMANS: And this time it involves assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine, all coming on the heels of the child sex scandal, of course, at Penn State. Alina Cho joins us now live with this. Good morning, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you. Syracuse university associate men's basketball coach Bernie fine has been placed on administrative leave and police have in that city say they have now reopened an investigation into disturbing allegations of sexual abuse. Fine, who is seen here, allegedly molested two former ball boys including Bobby Davis, who is now 39 years old. Davis told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" the abuse started back in the 1980s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOBBY DAVIS, ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM: Probably when I was, you know, sixth grade, 11, 10-years-old, and he started trying to touch me and things like that, you know. And honestly I don't even remember if I thought that was what was supposed to happen, you know. I know I cringed up and didn't want it to happen. I was very, like, what's going on? It was just -- I just never -- disgusted in a sense, you know. That's when everything, when he started to touch me, my privates.


CHO: Davis says the abuse took place at Fine's home, Syracuse basketball facilities, even road trips, including the 1987 final four. Now, part of the reason this is now coming out is because there is apparent corroboration. There's a second alleged victim who has come forward as well. He is Davis' older stepbrother named Mike Lang. He's now 45 years old. He was also a ball boy for Syracuse and told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that Fine touched him inappropriately back when he was in the fifth or sixth grade.


MIKE LANG, ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM: When he first did it he'd move away and you didn't want to say anything, because you didn't feel like you were capable of saying anything, you know. He's a god to you, you know, or he can do whatever he wants. But -- and that was me. I didn't feel right about it, and I told him that. Bernie, please, don't do that to me. And then he'd do it again and again.


CHO: The first alleged victim, Bobby Davis, says he first alerted Syracuse university officials about this six years ago, back in 2005. The university it immediately launched its own four-month investigation, and that everyone interviewed, everyone else involved, denied the story and that Syracuse police decided not pursue the case because the statute of limitations expired.

Now in a statement released last night, Syracuse University said, quote, "In light of the new allegations and the Syracuse city police investigation, this evening Chancellor Cantor asked director of athletics Dr. Darryl Gross to place associate head coach Bernie Fine on administrative leave."

And late last night Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim also released a statement saying, in part, quote, "Bernie has my full support."

Fine, meanwhile, has been part of the Syracuse basketball program for 35 years. That's the longest streak for an assistant coach in division one basketball. The 65-year-old was also inducted into the greater Syracuse sports hall of fame just last month, and around Syracuse known at the "King of Syracuse."

You know, one of the victims says he thought of him as a father figure and as a god. A lot of people are asking this morning, is it just a coincidence that the stepbrother is now coming out? The university and the head coach are saying they believe that it is, at least the head coach. He is saying he believes the victims are coming forward now because they want money. He said he has known Bernie Fine more than 40 years. Had he seen anything inappropriate he would have taken action.

And so what's interesting about this story, I think, in addition to all of the allegations, Carol and Christine, is that the university response and the coach response, far different and far more forceful than that of Penn State. And so we'll have to see what happens. We're obviously watching closely.

COSTELLO: Yes. We're going to talk more about this now. For more of the news out of Syracuse we turn to Buzz Bissinger. He's the author of "Friday Night Lights" and a columnist for Newsweek magazine with his latest piece on newsstands now. Buzz, good morning.


COSTELLO: On the surface the similarities are a bit eerie here. I mean, another assistant coach coaching for some 30 odd year like Sandusky, taking kids to games and tournaments. But is that where the similarities end? What do you make of these allegations?

BISSINGER: Well, this is a much murkier case, although having watched Davis on tape, listening to him, it is the same MO as Sandusky used. These guys have great power. They're father figures and they take advantage of kids.

But both ESPN and the "Syracuse Post Standard" did do their own investigations in the early 2000s and could find no one to corroborate Davis' story. That's not necessarily unusual because a lot of victims are reluctant to go forward. Anyway, they didn't write anything.

It also seems on the surface, and we know the surface can be bizarre at this point Syracuse did do a lot more on its own to try to get to the bottom of it. They had their own police doing an investigation. However, I don't think university police are really that capable of doing extensive investigations. They're mostly good at finding kids roaming the campus drunk.

The thing that bothers me most is the comment of Jim Boeheim. And it's typical closing of the ranks of coaches and it's typical omerta --

COSTELLO: Before you go on let me read to people what Coach Boeheim said, because he's pretty furious about the allegations, you're right. He told ESPN, "Why wouldn't he go to the police first this time? Why would he go to ESPN? What are people looking for here? I believe they're looking for money. I believe they saw what happened at Penn State and they are using ESPN to get the money. That's what I believe."

BISSINGER: Well, he did go to the police, the city police, and it was blown off by the city police. A detective said, look, kid, it's beyond the statute of limitations. There's nothing I can do. So Boeheim apparently is wrong there.

I should point out the Boeheim's program is not necessarily clean. In the early 1990s they were put on two years' probation for recruiting improprieties. It's always the same thing. Boeheim, I didn't know what happened. Come on, you know what happened. You're the head coach. Boeheim doesn't know what happened. He has no idea if the victims are going for money.

This is what people always say to try to discredit victims, which are why these cases are hard to prove. Granted, this one is murky, but Boeheim should have simply said this is a tragedy. We don't know what happened. I support Bernie, but it must go forward as an investigation, much like the university. Instead he sounds like a Mafia figure.

COSTELLO: Geez. You've written an article, your new article in "Newsweek" about how universities can prevent these sorts of things from happening, prevent these allegations. I mean, what are some tips you have for universities to prevent this sort of stuff from happening?

Well, you know, preventing this kind of child sexual abuse is difficult, you know. Are you going to have to put guards in the showers? I mean, some people suggested that, and I thought, that's ridiculous. But maybe not.

I don't know how you're -- if it's true, I don't know how you're going to prevent these coaches from preying on kids. They're very, very powerful father figures. You're 9, 10, 11, 12. You've heard of Jerry Sandusky. You've heard of Bernie Fine. You look up to them, and these guys use the same MO. They give gifts. They take them on trips. They lure them in, which makes it very difficult for these kids to separate when alleged sexual child abuse begins.

The key is, college sports is a monster and it has to be contained. The reforms, both long-term, granted, complicated, and short-term so students, who aren't athletes, are getting something out of it, because now they're paying for it.

COSTELLO: Do you think we'll see more victims coming forward, you know, accusing other university officials across the country of these terrible crimes?

BISSINGER: Yes. I mean, that's always a concern. That's a concern. I did think about that with Davis. I said, why are you doing it now? Are you running in on the coattails of Sandusky? As I say two very reputable news organizations investigated this, cannot corroborate and went forward because of the cover of Sandusky. I worry other victims will come out, their stories will be murky, and the problem is it will dilute the absolute seriousness of the Sandusky case. I've said this 1,000 times. A public that is skeptical, take 10 minutes and read the 23-page state grand jury report, and then decide.

COSTELLO: It's an awful read, you're right about that, really tragic. BISSINGER: Awful, awful.

COSTELLO: Thanks for joining us this morning. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: All right. Also we're learning the alleged sexual abuse by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky may stretch back decades. Several attorneys tell CNN they're representing more potential victims. Some claiming their abuse dates back to the 1970s.

Susan Candiotti is live in State College, Pennsylvania. And, of course, Susan, the real issue here is how many people have been inspired by other people going public and now telling their story for the first time and whether defense will say, look, these are all people trying to jump on the bandwagon and get money. That's what the core is here.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what we're hearing. Good morning, Christine. And yes, through their lawyers these additional potential victims are saying the reason they've come forward is they were angry after hearing Jerry Sandusky's denial, which many people called disturbing on many different levels, but also because his lawyer has also suggested that these people are coming forward because of financial reasons. These potential victims say they deny that.

But there is still this whole wall of secrecy surrounding Penn State and what led up to all these revelations. By contrast, there's a high school here where alleged victim number one attended. And he came forward. Prosecutors praised that school for at least reporting the allegation to police as soon as they heard about it.

But we also have some rather disturbing revelations from the mother of the alleged victim number one about the school. And she said that while the principal, for example, felt badly about the suspicions, the principal also suggested to the mother she might want to think twice because he said that Jerry Sandusky had a heart of gold. Here's what happened when we went to the school to try to find out more.


CANDIOTTI: I'm Susan Candiotti from CNN.


CANDIOTTI: Yes, you may. Thank you very much. I'm here because you were singled out for praise, actually, by the -- I don't need to tell you, by the Pennsylvania attorney general and as well as by the grand jury for the school's quick action in responding to allegations of abuse. We very much would like to talk to you about that, but also to the -- to the principal, of course -- also talk about some other questions that I'm not sure whether you're aware that have come to light -- thank you. This is from your lawyer? Is that Mr. Churchetta (ph) right there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, ma'am, it is not. CANDIOTTI: Is that the principal?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And at this time we gave you the statement and would like to ask you to, please, leave at this time. We're just about to dismiss school and we don't want you in amongst the students.

CANDIOTTI: Can I leave my card for the principal?


CANDIOTTI: Thank you. May I ask who -- obviously you work at the reception desk. Assistant principal?


CANDIOTTI: May I just ask who you are? Guidance counselor. Thank you. Can you speak with us?


CANDIOTTI: Also it was said that, the mom said she was told as first you might want to think twice about doing this because Jerry Sandusky has a big heart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, ma'am, we would ask that you refer to this statement, and on advice of our attorney, we're asking that you leave now. Our students are just about to come out.


CANDIOTTI: So no answers there. We were simply given a statement and shown the door by a security guard. The statement reads in part mainly that because of the nature of this ongoing investigation the school district has nothing more to say other than to add that they're cooperating with authorities.

And of course, Christine, the backdrop against all of this, the football program of course goes on. Big game this weekend against Ohio State, and so a lot of people are trying to concentrate on that. But it's obviously impossible to forget about everything else that's going on. Christine?

ROMANS: Right. Susan Candiotti, thanks so much.

Also, still to come this morning, after three decades, police reopened the investigation into the death of Hollywood legend Natalie Wood. Those details ahead.

COSTELLO: Put the rumors to rest. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are officially calling it quits. Coming up, both stars speak out on the split.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. It's 13 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: A hostile hearing on Capitol Hill. Energy Secretary Steven Chu putting on a tough front during five hours of grueling testimony yesterday. He did not apologize for the failure of solar company Solyndra or the loss of more than half a billion dollars in taxpayer money.

Jessica Yellin reports.


JESSICA YELLIN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The topic was green energy, but the tone was fiery. The committee's top Republican -

REP. CLIFF STEARNS (R), FLORIDA: It is readily apparent that senior officials in the administration put politics before the stewardship of taxpayers' dollars.

YELLIN: -- and top Democrat.

REP. DIANA DEGETTE (R), COLORADO: The majority to date as evidence by my colleague's opening statement has focused on firing partisan broadsides at the Obama administration.

YELLIN: With a soft spoken Energy Secretary Steven Chu in the hot seat.

STEVEN CHU, ENERGY SECRETARY: The final decisions on Solyndra were mine and I made them with the best interests of the taxpayer in mind. I did not make any decision based on political considerations.

YELLIN: For Republicans, that was far from satisfying.

REP. FRED UPTON (R), MICHIGAN: Who is to apologize for the half a billion dollars that has been - that's out the door?

CHU: Well it is at GOE (ph), it is extremely unfortunate what has happened to Solyndra, but if you go back and look at the time decision is being made, was there incompetence? Was there undue - was there any influence of a political nature? And I would - and I would have to say, no.

UPTON: So no apology?

CHU: Well, it is extremely unfortunate what has happened to Solyndra.

YELLIN: Their charge, the Energy Department did not properly vet Solyndra, a company President Obama later touted as a true engine of economic growth. And once it started to fail, put up more taxpayer dollars, but let private investors get preferential treatment if the company went bankrupt.

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R), TEXAS: Do you feel that you owe people an apology for having subordinated the taxpayer dollar to what now turns out to be a very risky venture?

YELLIN: Democrats say that people driving the investigation have political motives of their own.

REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: House Republicans and their coal and oil industry allies are manufacturing a scandal trying to discredit you, President Obama, and clean energy companies. Now, that's a great deal if you're an oil company or a coal executive, but it's unfair to you and a disservice to the American people.

YELLIN (on camera): He was also grilled on the latest charge that Solyndra officials were asked to withhold news of layoffs until after last year's mid-term elections. The Energy Secretary said he had no knowledge of this until e-mails came to light this week.

Jessica Yellin, CNN, Washington.


COSTELLO: Nineteen minutes past the hour. Let's head to Atlanta to check in with Reynolds Wolf. Good morning.


We don't have any delays as of yet. But that's for now. Later on, that story is going to change considerably and we expect it really to change out towards the west. In fact, if you take a look at the map. San Francisco's going to be the spot where we may have some major delays, over an hour. Or you might want to throw Oakland in there as well.

And the Eastern Seaboard, you wouldn't get out of the issue with possible delays there, because New York and Boston, the wind may keep you grounded for up to an hour. Some places, a little bit less, like in Chicago and St. Louis. Miami, with the showers and the wind may cause an issue. But Miami, this precipitation should be relatively light.

Just the opposite in parts of the Pacific Northwest and into the Northern Rockies with this intense area of low pressure is going to pull in a lot of that moisture from the Pacific. Heavy snowfall expected for parts in the Central and Northern Rockies, even portions of the Coastal Range.

And then not only we're going to have the snow, but also some strong winds, some gusts possibly into 40 to 50 mile-per-hour range. Low visibility will also be an issue.

So you have that big eye sore (ph) in parts of the Pacific Northwest and into the Rockies, unless you're a skier it's going to be fantastic there. But the rest of the nation, beautiful conditions across the southeast, the Great Lakes and even into the Central and Southern Plains.

High temperatures, is going to be very comfortable, very mild, too, in spots like Dallas and Houston, in the 60s and 70s; 58 degrees your high in Kansas City; 46 in Minneapolis; 51 in Salt Lake City; 41 in Portland; 59 in Los Angeles. And back East we go, Atlanta 56; 78 Miami and Tampa; 48 for Boston; 46 in New York and Washington, D.C., the high into the mid-40s.

That's your forecast. I understand you guys got some interesting news to deliver? Don't you?

COSTELLO: Oh, yes. We do.

ROMANS: We certainly do.

WOLF: Yes. How about that? Tell me what you've got.

COSTELLO: That's kind.

ROMANS: Yes. We're introducing you to the newest member of the CNN family, Madeleine Grace Marciano. There she is with her mom and dad.

WOLF: Beautiful.

ROMANS: I know. Isn't she beautiful? Rob Marciano is a new dad. She entered the world yesterday. Everybody is doing great. Actually, Rob said that Eryn is recovering nicely and he is a wreck.

COSTELLO: I just can't believe how good Eryn looks.

ROMANS: I know.


ROMANS: OK. Ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, the President making some big news on his trip to Indonesia, announcing a diplomatic mission that hasn't been attempted in half a century.

COSTELLO: And after three decades, police have reopened the investigation into the death of Hollywood Legend Natalie Wood. More details for you ahead.


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

A sharp drop in stocks after another shaky session on Wall Street. That concerns about Europe's debt problems still pushing markets lower worldwide into today. Asian and European stock markets are all down right now. U.S. stock futures, though, are trading higher at the moment.

We're watching Spanish bond yields. They were up to that critical seven percent level yesterday. That's a level at which other countries had to seek international bailouts. It means it's more difficult, more expensive for the Spanish government to borrow money, but Spain insists it will not need a bailout from the EU and that insistence is helping push down bond yields a little bit this morning. American retail icon GAP struggling. Profits dropped 36 percent in the third quarter and sales were down six percent. Banana Republic and Old Navy are also owned by the Gap. The company says it will open more GAP locations temporarily for the holiday season.

Black Friday, one week from today, and the National Retail Federation estimates that 152 million people will be shopping those sales this year. That's up 10 percent from a year ago, and proof that the retail machine is in full force to get you to spend your money.

And the Honda Civic natural gas model taking home the Green Car Journal's "Green Car of the Year" Award at the L.A. Auto Show this week. This is the fifth generation of this model that's been praised for its great fuel efficiency and roomier design. It retails for about $26,000.

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: Welcome back. It's 30 minutes past the hour. Top stories for you this morning.

Police near Syracuse University say they're looking into claims the school's associate men's basketball coach Bernie Fine sexually assaulted at least one boy beginning in the 1980s. Fine is now on administrative leave. The university's Head Basketball Coach Jim Boeheim says Fine has his full support.

ROMANS: There could be more trouble ahead for former Penn State Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky. Several attorneys tell CNN they're representing more potential victims of sexual abuse and some of the potential victims claimed that the abuse dates back to the 1970s.

COSTELLO: President Obama in Bali and meeting with Indonesia's president this morning. The president is also making big news during his visit announcing a diplomatic mission to Myanmar.

It will be the first visit by a U.S. secretary of state in more than 50 years. Brianna Keilar is traveling with the president. She is in Bali this morning. Tell us more.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Carol, this is obviously, a very significant reaching out to Myanmar, which has been one of the world's most authoritarian regimes, and you hear White House officials stressing some of the moves towards reform.

A limiting or sort of a removing some of the restrictions on political opponents and the media, the October release of about 200 political prisoners, but at the same time, those same officials stressing that this visit doesn't necessarily mean that the U.S. is poised to lift sanctions or to establish diplomatic ties.

And just a few hours ago, I had the chance to sit down with Secretary of State of Hillary Clinton here in Bali.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: There has been some forward movement, and in this part of the world, we have examples of countries that did finally get on a democratic path after a authoritarian regime, military dictatorships, all of the problems that have been around for a long time.

So we're hoping most certainly for the people of Burma, that this is real, but you know, if it is, the United States will support and encourage it.


KEILAR: Now, President Obama called the leader of the Burmese Democracy Movement, Aung San Suu Kyi as he was flying on Air Force one from Darwin, Australia here to Bali to talk about his plans to have Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visit.

And do we know, Carol, that when she is there next month, when Secretary Clinton is there next month, she'll meet with Aung San Suu Kyi and she's also meet with the president, Thein Sein as well as other political leaders.

COSTELLO: On another matter, Brianna, I understand you asked the secretary about China's reaction to the president's announcement of increased military presence in the Pacific Region. What did she have to say about that?

KEILAR: Yes, that's right. I asked her if especially with the U.S. emphasizing so much its economic interests and also clearly making its military interests known with this new announcement that we saw while we were in Australia, would this perhaps be taken or would be understood to be taken by China as something that could be seen as a sort of a threat in its backyard? Here what she said.


CLINTON: We have no interest in any hostile action. What we are looking toward is the role that the United States can rightly play. We're a pacific power. We always have been.

And we over many years, because we're also an Atlantic power, built up a transatlantic architecture of alliances and relationships, and we're working to do the same. And we really welcome everyone to be part of that.


KEILAR: So Secretary Clinton saying that they really shouldn't see this as a hostile presence in their backyard, but at the same time, Carol, you can't ignore the subtext. China has been somewhat more aggressive making territorial claims on the oil-rich South China Sea, which sees most of the world's maritime commerce. So it's a very valuable shipping lanes moving through there and certainly the U.S. wants to emphasize its presence in the region as well, but rhetorically we saw Secretary Clinton and we've seen President Obama really de-emphasize any sort of racheting up of things with China.

COSTELLO: Brianna Keilar reporting live from Bali this morning. Thank you.

ROMANS: All right, meanwhile, in Washington, they're running out of time. Only five days left for the so-called "Super Committee" to strike a deal.

They're working to trim $1.2 trillion from the nation's deficit. But after more than two months of negotiating, some lawmakers fear there's little progress.

Can the "Super Committee" pull it off? We're joined now by "Super Committee" member, Representative Chris Van Hollen live in Washington. Good morning. Nice to see you this morning.


ROMANS: All right, the deadline is next Wednesday. You know that better than anyone and 78 percent of people polled don't think you're going to be able to cut a deal by then. In practical terms, you need to get something done by the end of the weekend really realistically, can that happen?

VAN HOLLEN: That's right. Time is running out. What I can say is that we are leaving no stone unturned. Negotiations and discussions continue, and we're looking to find a way. We recognize what's at stake and we're hoping to reach an agreement.

ROMANS: Can you just give me a little glimpse -- we've been throwing around numbers. You know, hundreds of billions, the $250 billion in revenue and this and that.

But could you tell me what the process looks like? I mean, are you all in a room, 12 of you, with your Blackberries turned off, ordering pizza and exchanging little notes of paper doing the negotiating -- can you just tell me what it's like?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, sure. I mean, there are certainly have been times when there were 12 in the room trying to find a way towards a solution.

More recently I think the talks have been taking place through what I would call shuttle diplomacy, trying to find ways to bridge the differences. As you know, the Democrats put a substantial proposal on the table.

And then Republicans put their ideas on the table. Recently, they appear to have dug in on their position, and what we're trying to do now is bridge those differences and there was some progress in that area, but let's see if it turns out to be real.

ROMANS: I mean, what we're talking about here, the big issues, tax increases and entitlement reform. Yesterday, the Democratic co- chair of the committee, Senator Patty Murray, she said you guys have met Republicans offer on revenue. Tell us what does that means, that's $250 billion in tax increases?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, that's right, and the issue is how you package that. The republican proposal says this -- if we did nothing, if the "Super Committee" did nothing, come the end of next year, folks at the very high end would go back to paying the rates they were paying during the Clinton administration.

That would raise about $800 billion. Republicans have said, whoa. We do not want that to happen. We're prepared to say $250 billion of that will be taken essentially.

But they want to lock in $550 billion in breaks for the folks at the top and the price for doing that is to reduce the rate to 28 percent, which will actually increase the burden on middle income Americans, and reduce it at the high end.

ROMANS: So we're still talking about the Bush era tax cuts. Basically, this is the big thing in here that you guys are arguing over what it's going to look like.

The Republicans are insisting in keeping it in place. Would you -- are you prepared to make changes to entitlements if Republicans can make some moves on the revenue side?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, we are. In fact, we've put on the table a number of proposals to reform the Medicare system, to change some of the incentives, to improve the coordination of care.

What we will not do is end the Medicare guarantee, which is what the Republican House Budget would have done. It would have said you can no longer be in the Medicare system. You have to go into the private insurance market.

And by the way, we're going to give you a voucher that declines value --

ROMANS: Would you raise retirement age? I mean, because Americans want to know how all of the "Super Committee" stuff is going to change their life. I mean, would that be a consideration here?

VAN HOLLEN: Well, I don't think that's a good idea right now, because we do not know for sure whether or not the people who would be turning 66, for example, will have an alternative in place.

That is one of the purposes of the Affordable Care Act, but as we know, we don't know for sure whether that would be in place. We'd probably find out from the Supreme Court recently.

I should say on the revenue piece, as you indicated. We have matched their number, but what we've said is, we want to achieve those savings by closing a lot of corporate tax loopholes.

And asking folks at the top to pay a little bit more, not locking in tax breaks for those individuals, which is what the Republican proposal would do.

ROMANS: And so those big sticking points --

VAN HOLLEN: But again, we are trying to bridge these differences.

ROMANS: All right.

VAN HOLLEN: Let's see if we can do it in these last hours.

ROMANS: OK. Congressman Chris Van Hollen from Maryland. Thank you, sir.

HOLLEN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: They still have a couple more days then Thanksgiving hits.

ROMANS: Look, the world is watching. They don't want them to go to the wire again. I mean, the world wants to see that we can make some tough choices with some political unity and not at the last minute.

COSTELLO: Still to come this morning, we'll hear from the other side of the aisle. Republican Representative Pat Toomey will weigh in on the so-called "Super Committee" debt talk. That's next.

ROMANS: And GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is getting protection now from the U.S. Secret Service. Details on that story ahead.

COSTELLO: And after 30 years, the mysterious death of a Hollywood legend is getting a second look. You are watching AMERICAN MORNING. It is 39 past the hour.


COSTELLO: We just spoke with Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen about the looming deadline for the debt "Super Committee." There's only five days left to figure how to cut $1.52 trillion from the nation's deficit.

Now let's bring in Republican Senator and Super Committee Member Pat Toomey to weigh in. Good morning.

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning. How are you?

COSTELLO: I'm pretty good. We just heard from Congressman Van Hollen where he stood on the negotiations, and if he thinks a deal can get done. What do you think?

TOOMEY: I think it's still possible. It's not going to be easy. Time is running short, but time hasn't run out yet. So we're here. We're working. We're talking. It's difficult, but still possible.

COSTELLO: So when you say you're working, Senator Toomey, are you guys in the same room? Democrats and Republicans together or are you negotiating in separate areas, in sort of a shuttle diplomacy thing going on?

TOOMEY: Both, all of the above, individual conversations. Large you know -- larger group conversations. We're interacting in a variety of ways trying to find a way to see if we can get something pulled together.

COSTELLO: When was the last time the Democrats and Republicans were in the same room negotiating together?

TOOMEY: Many of us from the committee were in the same room together yesterday evening. So -- I don't know, 12 hours ago.

COSTELLO: Was there any movement at all because we're hearing that it's not likely a deal will be reached?

TOOMEY: Well, I think it's too soon to draw that conclusion. We still hope we'll be able to get something done. We're still working on it.

COSTELLO: Are we really stuck again on entitlement reform and the Bush tax cuts?

TOOMEY: Well, those are certainly the two big pieces. You know, when I approached this from the very beginning, I always thought that one of the obligations of this committee would be to do something that would be good for our economy and good for job growth.

Tax reform is the big, obvious opportunity. Avoiding this massive tax increase that's coming at us that my Democratic colleagues want to have happen, I think that's a real problem.

And this isn't just us talking. Every bipartisan commission that has looked at the deficit problems we face, Rivlin, Domenici, Simpson and Bowles, the gang of six, they have all said that any new revenue needs to come in the context of pro-growth tax reform.

That lowers rates and simplifies the code and wipes away some of the loopholes and write offs and special interest deductions. So that's one of the things we've suggested that we do.

It will be great for our economy. It would generate some revenue for deficit reduction. It would make the code simpler and more fair. I think that's an important piece.

But the real driver of this entire problem, of course, is excessive spending. It's too much spending. It's programs that are structurally flaw that need to be fixed.

COSTELLO: Let's talk about that. I mean, let's talk about that. Could Democrats ever give enough on entitlement reform that you would be willing to give up some of those Bush era tax cuts?


COSTELLO: Is there a compromise in here somewhere?

TOOMEY: I'm not sure why we should harm the economy to do the right thing for the entitlements. We should do something good for the economy. By the way, lots of Democrats agree that simplifying the tax code and low marginal rates and getting rid of special interest favors is good. Almost all economists agree that will result in new jobs. Why do damage to the economy to do something on the entitlements? That's never made sense to me. I want to do the right thing for the economy and the right thing for our long-term sustainability.


COSTELLO: When you ask the American people, most, you know -- poll after poll shows that most of America wants there to be higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans in the country. Poll after poll shows -- are the American people completely wrong about this?

TOOMEY: First, it depends how you ask this question. But the reality is, the proposal we've put on the table would actually ask wealthy people to pay a little bit more in a little bit more on taxes. That's something the other side has acknowledged. It happens in a better, simpler tax code, one with marginal rates. We've recommended reducing deductions and write-offs and credits to the point it would actually generate net revenue for deficit reduction. My Democratic friends acknowledged this. The problem, they want to take all that and then they want an $800 million tax increase to occur in 13 months in addition to that. That's terrible for the economy.

COSTELLO: Talking again about the Bush tax cuts and allowing them not to expire. Just lastly, on a scale of one to 10, what number would you place -- 10 being the best, one being the worst -- on whether a deal will be struck by the deadline?

TOOMEY: You know, I've never been a gambler and I've never made any money in a casino. I'm not going to put a number on it. I'll just tell you we're going to stay at it. We'll keep working. I think it's not too late and I really hope we'll be able to reach an agreement.

COSTELLO: Are you working through the weekend?


COSTELLO: OK. That's a good thing.


Thank you very much. Senator Toomey, we appreciate it.

TOOMEY: All right, thanks for having me.

ROMANS: The whole point of the super committee that number is supposed to be a 10. Everybody on the super committee thinks that number's a 10. Because Congress couldn't do it, these are the people who are going to do it. And the fact we're even saying, will you, won't you, can you, can't you? Wow. That's --


ROMANS: -- something.

All right, also new this morning, GOP nominee candidate, Herman Cain, is getting protection from the U.S. Secret Service. The Department of Homeland Security has not released a reason for granting protection. Many past candidates have received it, including President Obama.

COSTELLO: He thought President Obama was the antichrist. That's according to authorities. The man accused of taking shots at the White House now charged with trying to assassinate the president. 21- year-old Oscar Ramiro Ortega Hernandez making his first court appearance yesterday. He heads back to Washington to face charges.

ROMANS: L.A. homicide detectives have reopened the investigation into the death of actress, Natalie Wood. Wood drowned off the California coast 30 years ago after a night of partying with husband, Robert Wagner, and actor, Christopher Walken. Her death ruled an accident. The sheriff's department now has additional information about that drowning.

COSTELLO: Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher are divorcing. Moore released a statement saying she decided to end her six-year marriage to Kutcher. Kutcher tweeted he will cherish the time spent with Demi.

ROMANS: Still ahead, the baby bust. Why some couples are now holding off on having baby number two

And today's "Romans' Numeral," $1,500. Here's a hint. It's has to do with your baby's bottom and your bottom line. It's something parents spend --



ROMANS: -- every year parents spend this. What is it?

It's 48 minutes after the hour.

COSTELLO: I'm afraid to guess.



COSTELLO: 10 minutes until the top of the hour. Here's what you need to know to start your day. Syracuse University's associate men's basketball coach, Bernie Fine, is on administrative leave after two former ball boys accused him of inappropriate touching back in the '80s and '90s. The team's head coach, Jim Boeheim, claims Fine has his complete support.

New accusers may be coming forward in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. The lawyer telling CNN we could see alleged victims give details of alleged abuse dating back to the 1970s.

The president of Connecticut Light and Power is bowing to public pressure and he's stepping down. Jeff Butler accused of mismanaging the response to last month's blizzard. Hundreds of thousands of residents spent over a week without power.

So long, Reg. Legendary television host, Regis Philbin, is leaving "Live with Regis & Kelly." Today is his last show. Regis says, after 28 years, it was simply time to move on.

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


ROMANS: All right, the morning's "Romans' Numeral," a number in the news. The number is $1,500. It's an annual cost to how much it will cost you every year if you're changing your baby's diaper six times a day. That's according to diaper makers who report diaper sales --


ROMANS: -- slipped 1 percent in August compared to the same time last year.


ROMANS: Uh-huh. Procter --


COSTELLO: I wonder why.

ROMANS: I don't know. Maybe because we're having few kids, which brings me to the next point. Procter & Gamble, by the way, which makes Pampers and Loves, says people are potty training their kids earlier to save cash.

COSTELLO: Just to save cash?

ROMANS: Well, I'll tell you, those toddler diapers -- you can buy diapers up to 5 years old now -- I know -- look, they see a big market there. But people are starting to potty train earlier because it is more expensive. and diapers are only one major expense for parents. Don't forget about formula, clothes, room and board. That's why having a baby today is as much about money as it is about love and biology. Finances are a big reason why some couples are holding off on baby number two or deciding against babies altogether.

Meet one Pennsylvania couple wondering whether to have another baby because of the economy.


LAURIE PARTHMORE (ph), WANT ANOTHER BABY: Do you want to go get some toys?

ROMANS (voice-over): Laurie and Ryan Parthmore (ph) want to have another baby.

LAURIE PARTHMORE (ph): Once you get married and everybody is like, when are you having a baby? When you have a baby, when are you having another baby? It's not always that easy.

ROMANS: The economy stands in their way.

RYAN PARTHMORE (ph), WANT ANOTHER BABY: Two would scare the heck out of me. To have child care costs times two, that's another big chunk of change.


ROMANS: The couple spends $11,000 on child care for Olivia. She's 1 1/2 years old. Ryan, a detective, gets extra income working at his family's business but Laurie's job is a major factor in the family planning.

LAURIE PARTHMORE (ph): Did you get the letter back in the summertime?

ROMANS: 14 to 22 people were laid off at the child care association where she works. Laurie isn't sure she will have a job come January.

LAURIE PARTHMORE (ph): I'm 39 now and so there's a window. and so that window closing while the job window closes at the same time or potentially will close, it's a little unnerving.

Can you burp the baby?

ROMANS: No question women are already waiting longer to have kids and they're having fewer of them. In 2010, four million babies were born in the U.S., down from the peak of 4.3 million in 2007.

Dr. Jacques Moritz has delivered about 3,000 babies.

(on camera): You're going to cost $250,000 by the time you're 18.


(voice-over): $226,920 to be exact, according to the government. That's up more than $60,000 from 10 years ago. DR. JACQUES MORTIZ, OB/GYN, ST. LUKES-ROOSEVELT HOSPITAL CENTER: There's no doubt that the economy matters in having children. It has mattered throughout history. In the depression it went down and in other recessions it went down, and in boom times it goes up.

ROMANS: The recession is technically over, but for most people, it doesn't feel like it.

MORTIZ: Couples are telling me that. That the economy is tight and having a kid, it is a great expense positive I think a bigger expense up in your head than in reality. But, still, people think about kids in college and education and all the costs involved. They're right. They're seeing the moment right now, how could we ever do this?

ROMANS: Moritz says women think they can't afford to have a baby, but for many, they can't afford to wait.

MORTIZ: It's a biological clock.

ROMANS (on camera): You can't wait for the economy to recover.

MORTIZ: The stock is up, the stock is down. The stock in the egg is always going down basically every year we get older.

LAURIE PARTHMORE (ph): Can you say thank you?


LAURIE PARTHMORE (ph): You're welcome.

ROMANS (voice-over): Right now, the Parthmores (ph) remain a family of three.

RYAN PARTHMORE (ph): If we can add another one, great. If that doesn't happen then, we're not going to be any less happy for what we have.


COSTELLO: That's one cute baby.

ROMANS: I keep looking at Olivia thinking, that is one cute baby. My bet, I don't know. I don't know if they agree with me. My bet is they go for it. We'll see, I'll keep you posted, everyone.


COSTELLO: Absolutely.

Just ahead in the next hour, it got loud and it got violent at times anyway. Is it time for Occupy Wall Street to get political? Are Republicans actually missing the boat here? We'll debate that next.

ROMANS: 30 years later, homicide investigators are taking a new look at the drowning death of actress, Natalie Wood. We'll tell you into the CNN time machine for a live report from November 1981.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. It's 57 minutes after the hour.