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Syracuse Sex Abuse Scandal; Penn State Abuse Scandal Grows; Super Committee" Doomed to Fail?; Occupy Wall Street Protesters Have Run-ins With Police; Stocks Down on Worries of Eurozone Economy Weakness; Police Reopen Natalie Wood Death Investigation; : Occupy Wall Street: A Missed GOP Opportunity?; Rigging the Vote?

Aired November 18, 2011 - 08:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: A child sex scandal rocks another major university. This time, a college assistant basketball coach is accused of abusing at least one ball boy.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A GOP presidential candidate now under protection. Herman Cain will be getting his own Secret Service detail.

COSTELLO: Homicide detectives looking into the mysterious death of a Hollywood legend. New questions surrounding the drowning death of actress Natalie Wood.

ROMANS: A new movement in New York, just call it "Occupy Sexy." Small group protesting against "People" magazine and it's choice for sexiest man alive -- we know, we know -- on this AMERICAN MORNING.


COSTELLO: And good morning to you. Happy Friday. It's November 18th. Welcome to AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: Let's begin, though, with a new child sex abuse scandal at another major university. This time, it's Syracuse University.

COSTELLO: That's right. The man accused is a long-time assistant basketball coach there. Alina Cho joins us now live with more details.


Syracuse University's associate men's basketball coach Bernie Fine has now been placed on administrative leave. And police in that city have reopened an investigation into disturbing allegations of sexual abuse. Fine, seen right 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.


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


CHO: Davis says the abuse took place at Fine's home, Syracuse basketball facility, even road trips, including the 1987 Final Four.

Now, part of the reason this is now coming out is because there is now a parent corroboration. A second alleged victim has now come forward. He is Davis' older stepbrother. His name is Mike Lang and he is 45 years old.

Lang was also a ball boy for Syracuse University and he 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 he wouldn't say anything because, you know, you didn't feel like you were capable of seeing anything. You know, he's a god to you, you know? Or he can do whatever he wants.

Not with me. I didn't feel right about it and I told him that. Bernie, please, don't do that to me. Then he'd do it again and again.


CHO: The first alleged victim, meanwhile, Bobby Davis said he first alerted Syracuse University officials about this, six years ago, back in 2005. The university said it immediately launched its own four-month investigation and that everyone else involved, including the assistant coach, Bernie Fine, denied the story. And the Syracuse police decided not to pursue the case because the statute of limitations had 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. Daryl Gross, to place associate head coach, Bernie Fine, on administrative leave."

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

Now, Fine has been part of the Syracuse basketball program for 35 years. That, by the way, is the longest streak for an assistant coach in Division I men's basketball. The 65-year-old was also inducted into the greater Syracuse sports' hall of fame just last month.

Now, obviously, there are many, many questions about this case. You spoke to a guest earlier who said the details even at this early stage seem a bit murky. A lot of questions about why the older stepbrother is coming forward, is that just a coincidence or something more here?

The head coach of the university says he believes it's a fabrication. He believes they are out for money.

Meanwhile, that second victim, Mike Lang, says he decided to come forward, finally, after all these years because of what he saw over at Penn State, because of Jerry Sandusky.

It's a very interesting case. Lots of similarities here. But, again, very early. So, we'll have to wait and see what happens.

COSTELLO: We'll see what Syracuse officials come up with.

ROMANS: Thanks, Alina.

COSTELLO: We're also learning the alleged sexual abuse by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky may have taken place for decades. A civil attorney tells CNN they're representing more potential victims, some claiming abuse that dates back to the 1970s.

Susan Candiotti is live for us in State College, Pennsylvania.

Good morning, Susan.


And one lawyer, in particular, tells CNN that he is representing one new alleged possible victim. And says that he has spoken to at least 10 other people who alleged that they, too, were raped or molested by Jerry Sandusky. Many of these people telling the lawyer they are coming forward after hearing Sandusky's denial on NBC earlier this week.

The lawyer spoke with CNN's Jason Carroll.


JEFF ANDERSON, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED VICTIMS: There is a pattern that has emerged, not only in the folks that are engaged us, but the cause that we received is that in every instance Sandusky used his position of trust and power and his caring ways as a coach and mentor to groom the families and the children. As soon as Sandusky gave the interview in which he denied the sexual abuse, the numbers of contacts that have been made with us at our office have really ratcheted up dramatically.

When you hear Sandusky, you really get a glimpse into the mind of the molester.


CANDIOTTI: Now, Penn State continues to refuse to release documents about earlier investigations into Jerry Sandusky. Now citing that it is exempt from doing so from right to know laws in the state of Pennsylvania, yet Penn State could release those documents if it chose to do so.

We're also getting road blocks from the high school where alleged victim number one attended. Now, that is where Sandusky worked as a volunteer football coach. The grand jury states that Sandusky was found, for example, late at night in a wrestling room lying face-to-face with his alleged victim.

And the mother also had some other concerns about the school that the boy was allowed to be taken out of class, she says.

Now, we tried to find out more from the school, but they weren't talking. Take a look.


CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, from CNN.


CANDIOTTI: Yes, you may. Thank you very much.

I'm here today because you were singled out for praise 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'd very much like to talk to you about that, but also to the principal, of course. Also talk about some other questions that I'm not sure whether you are aware that have come to light.

Thank you. This is from your lawyer. Is that Mr. Torcedo (ph) right there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, ma'am, it is not.

CANDIOTTI: Is that the principal?


At this time we made a statement and we 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 and amongst the students.


CANDIOTTI: Now, Mr. Torcedo (ph), for example, is the football coach at the school. They only released a written statement to us saying that because of the ongoing investigation, they were declining comment. However, the school did say that it is cooperating with the police.

But it's pretty hard to shake what's going on in this town. A lot of secrecy. People still afraid to talk. Feeling at times that they're being intimidated from doing so.

Back to you.

COSTELLO: I know you'll keep trying, though.

Susan Candiotti reporting live from Pennsylvania this morning.

ROMANS: All right. Word out of Washington this morning, they might not be able to get it done. The so-called supercommittee running out of time to find a way to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the nation's deficit. Some lawmakers saying a deal may be out of reach. They had 2 1/2 months and now they're down to five days.

Joining us now "STATE OF THE UNION" host, Candy Crowley.

Candy, you can argue, they actually had years because there are numerous commissions and reports that have looked at America's burgeoning debt and deficits. Are they going to get this done this time?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't look like it. But, here's, that's the bad news. It doesn't look like it.

The committee members I have been able to talk to have been less than enthusiastic about their chances of reaching an agreement that would reach $1.2 trillion in mixture of spending cuts and revenue increases.

But here's the good news, because of the way Capitol Hill operates, the deadline really is a good thing to have because they tend to work right up against it. A deadline, especially when it comes right before a holiday, tends to really promote some sort of agreement.

Now, this really is such a huge philosophical divide between the two sides here that it seems unbridgeable at this point. It seems that they may just wait for an election to see if they can get some clear direction from the American public. But as you well know, the markets may not want to wait until election and the American people certainly don't want to wait until the election.

But right now, certainly, it looks a little grim. But, again, deadline pressure on Congress is one of the things that nearly always works to break through an impasse.

ROMANS: We also know taking it right down to the deadline took us to a debt downgrade, quite frankly. The rest of the world wants to see that we have bridged these great divides to show that we know and are serious about getting our debts under control because we're watching Italy, we're watching Spain, we're watching other countries who have gone too long and what's happening.

In the end, I guess, there was this -- a lot of talk in the very beginning that the supercommittee was nothing more than a mini me Congress that would have the same problems and wouldn't be able to break through all the clutter of 535 members and deal with what the big Congress couldn't deal with it and, I guess, it was a mini me.

CROWLEY: Sure, again, they are reflecting the two parties who have very different philosophical approaches to what's wrong with the economy and how to bring down that deficit.

I mean, what are the two big things? The two big things are how far would you go to make cuts in the so-called entitlement programs? Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. And what are you going to do about raising taxes and bringing in more revenue? And those have been the two big problems on every budget deal they've ever made.

Any committee that sought to take a whack at the huge debt this country has. Those have always been the two long-standing problems and they remain so.

ROMANS: So, Candy, if they can come to some sort of consensus, a little sweet spot where neither side looks like they're giving anything up, because that's what this is all about. Neither side wants to end up in somebody's attack ad. So, if they can come to some sort of sweet spot where they don't look like anybody is giving anything up, but they can get it done, where would that be?

CROWLEY: I think if they could have reached that sweet spot, they would.

ROMANS: They'd be there.

CROWLEY: I mean, here's the problem, I don't -- I mean, I agree with you. You know, I see politics in everything, OK? And I agree with you and it's a political year, and they don't want to end up in somebody else's attack ads.

But I wouldn't underestimate the deeply felt sort of economic principles that both sides have here. They don't see compromise as a good thing. They think it is abandoning principles and how far they would go.

So, I just think it was fundamental, I think it was John Boehner, the speaker, who once said we are like on different plants and I think that's true.

ROMANS: All right. What do we have coming up on the show this Sunday?

CROWLEY: Well, we're obviously going to see where the supercommittee is because we'll be right up against that deadline. But, also, we're going to have a conversation with former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who is going to stop by and talk about are things foreign policy. Yes.

ROMANS: Look forward. All right, Candy. Thanks, Candy.

Don't miss it -- "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy starting live at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN.

COSTELLO: Also new this morning, L.A. homicide investigators are taking another look at the mysterious death of Hollywood legend Natalie Wood. Her death was ruled on November 29th, 1981 accidental, that she drown while boating with her husband, Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken.

Well, the sheriff's department says it has been contacted by witnesses with new information.

ROMANS: Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are divorcing. Moore released a statement saying she decided to end her six-year marriage to Kutcher. He tweeted he will cherish the time he spent with Demi. He also said something about marriage being hard.



A small group of heart broken Ryan Gosling fans gathered outside "People" magazine's headquarters yesterday, braving the rain and wearing Gosling masks. They are revolting against the magazine's decision to honor Bradley Cooper as this year's sexiest man alive. Clearly, the protesters, say, Gosling ads alone should have earned him the title.

ROMANS: All right. Still to come this morning: the real occupy -- Occupy Wall Street pushing through the barricades and the streets and the across the bridges of New York City. Anger against corporate America, literally, spilling over.

COSTELLO: And you hate your congressman, you might be stuck. Why some elections may be rigged before voters even hit the ballot box. It's the subject of a new CNN one-hour documentary that airs this weekend. We'll have a preview later this hour.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. It's 14 minutes past the hour.


ROMANS: New York City regrouping after a day and night of mass protests. Occupy Wall Street turning two months old in a very loud way. There were a few bursts of violence, scuffles with police, some clashes got bloody. Protesters lifting barricades, blocking traffic, clogging subways. The NYPD says one officer was hit by a flying object at Zuccotti Park. In the end around 245 protesters were arrested.

Joining us now from Miami is John Timoney, former deputy commissioner of the NYPD. Good morning, sir. I want to get your take on how well the NYPD and protesters performed yesterday. There was a lot of people, two-month anniversary, tensions were pretty high. What you saw there on the streets, do you think that was appropriate response from police to this?

JOHN TIMONEY, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, ANDREWS INTERNATIONAL: Oh, absolutely. You know, they were damned if you do, damned if you don't. But there were really two events, the early morning event and Wall Street where the protesters were hell bent on getting through the stock exchange, closing it down. And, of course, the police couldn't allow that. So, you had skirmishes along the frontlines with the barricades.

The footage looked pretty ugly with the protesters trying to tear the barricades down. Half a dozen police officers were hurt in the process. One guy required two dozen stitches, the police officer did. So, it got pretty ugly. It died down the remainder of the day.

And then it picked up, again, at 4:00, mostly joined by the unions in an attempt to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Clearly, there was plenty of notice that you could use the pedestrian walkway across the Brooklyn Bridge, but that gave way to closing down both lanes of traffic inbound and outbound. Brooklyn had more arrests. And so was a tough day, tough day for the police.

ROMANS: We're looking at pictures here. You see police officers with batons pushing people back. You see two or three police officers holding on to a guy's jacket, dragging him down and the like. What is the trained police response when you are told, look, you cannot be in the intersection and they are in the intersection? What is the appropriate police response? Because what you're hearing from the some of the occupiers and some of the reporters who were there, it felt like some of the occupiers were antagonizing the police and the police were getting rough.

TIMONEY: No. I mean, no, the police respond to what they face. When you have traditional nonviolent, right, disobedience, police handle that entirely different. When you have active, physical resistance, police officers are allowed to use force to overcome force. And I guarantee you, especially on television, it's always going to look ugly. It's going to look excessive, but it's not.

ROMANS: We know that the police, we know that the police had their own sort of counter-filmers out there, too. I'm presuming it's because when you have people with cell phone video who put a little bit out there, they want to make sure they have their own video. You can see right here we circled some of these police officers in uniform shooting as well.

There are those who think, though, the police overreacted in some cases. You have seen this picture of this boy, 19-year-old young man, really, who had bloodied face and he looks like he's crying. People around him said he was hit in the head by a baton. Obviously he doesn't look good. What do you make -- go ahead.

TIMONEY: You have to see the video in its entirety. This is the reason why the NYPD videotapes for the last two dozen videotapes these events, because it's almost like a hockey match where the referee catches the retaliatory but doesn't catch the initial strike.

So what the NYPD does is film the whole event, and so they can give the actions of the police officers some context that the officer isn't willy-nilly just deciding to be brutal, that they're reacting to some sort of force or assault. It doesn't mean in every case the police officer is justified.

I can guarantee you, there is no better police department as far as being better trained who has more experience of handling demonstrations all types than the NYPD by the very nature of New York City, the U.N., and things that go on on a daily basis there.

ROMANS: What do you make of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Just a decade ago in New York we saw everything about a police response about terrorism. It was about protecting New York and New Yorkers from people from the outside. And now you've got this movement that has sprung up about the lack of opportunity on the inside, about America not working for everyone. Give me your sense about what -- it's an interesting police challenge.

TIMONEY: Oh, it absolutely is. I guarantee you early on, even the police, they are working men and women. They are sympathetic to the overall message, if you will, the whole notion that the economy is not working for the last two or three years.

But as this is dragged on now, it's going through its third month, others with different agendas have joined the protest movement, and they have not been so peaceful and, you know, they've got their own agenda. And, of course, down in Zuccotti Park, all of a sudden the homeless are showing up. Recently released prisoners from Riker's Island are showing up. There is some criminal activity, and not just in New York, by the way. In Philadelphia last weekend a young woman was raped at the Occupy camp. And we see this time and time again in city after city that the original message, the original movement has been, in some cases, subverted by those with other agendas.

ROMANS: John Timoney from Miami, thank you so much. Senior vice president of Andrews (ph) and former commission NYPD, nice to see you this morning. Thank you, sir.

TIMONEY: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Still to come this morning, hitting the road this Thanksgiving? You definitely will not be alone. Coming up, what you can expect out on the roads during your holiday travel this year.

ROMANS: And Stanford University plenty to cheer about. They're ranked number top 10 in the nation for academics. Oh, yes, and football, too. What's the secret to their success? Find out later in the hour. It's 23 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back. Watching your money this morning -- a sharp drop in stocks after a shaky session on Wall Street. Concerns about Europe's debt problems pushing markets lower worldwide into today. Asian and European stock markets are all down, but U.S. stock futures this morning an hour before the opening bell are trading higher at the moment. So we'll see if that sell off stops in the U.S.

Keeping an eye on Spanish bond yields, there were up to a critical seven percent level yesterday. That's the level at which other countries had to seek international bailouts. It means it's more difficult and expensive for the Spanish government to borrow money, showing strains in Europe. But Spain insists it will not need a bailout from the EU, and insistence is helping push bond yields down a little bit this morning.

All right, talk about a gold rush. The World Gold Council says investors in Europe bought a whopping $6.2 billion in gold bars and coins in the third quarter. That's up 135 percent from a year ago. Investors have been seeking the security of gold because of instability of the Eurozone.

And if you're hitting the road over Thanksgiving, be prepared to pay more at the pump. Gas prices are expected to hit a record high for the holiday. That's next week. A gallon of regular will average about $3.37. That's up nearly 50 cents from last Thanksgiving.

AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after the break.


ROMANS: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Top stories. 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 says fine has his full support.

COSTELLO: Tens of thousands of protesters packed Tahrir Square in Cairo today. They're railing against the proposed constitution that would shield the military's budget from civilian powers. The military has been ruling Egypt since former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down earlier this year.

ROMANS: LA., homicide investigators are taking another look at the mysterious death of Hollywood legend Natalie Wood. It was ruled that Wood drowned 30 years ago this month while boating with her husband, Robert Wagner, and actor Christopher Walken. The sheriff's department has said they have been contacted by witnesses with new information. A news conference is scheduled for later this morning.

COSTELLO: Of course we covered that fascinating story when CNN was still in its formative years back in 1981. So we wanted to open up our news archives and see the coverage of Natalie Woods' death from that time. If you were watching on November 30th, 1981, this is what you saw.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Los Angeles County coroner tonight says Natalie Wood apparently slipped, hit her head, and drowned. The coroner says the 43-year-old actress was legally drunk when she died over the weekend. We have this report from Robert Weiner in Los Angeles.

ROBERT WEINER, FORMER CNN CORRESPONDENT: An accidental drowning was the official cause of death, but today's news conference, called by chief Los Angeles County Coroner Dr. Thomas Noguchi, left several key questions unanswered. First the facts as Noguchi presented them.

DR. THOMAS NOGUCHI, FORMER L.A. COUNTY CORONER: Ms. Wood, it appears based on our investigation, that on this day, noon, shortly after midnight, Sunday morning, she apparently attempted to get on to the dinghy, slipped and fell in the water, unable to return to the dinghy or the boat. And later the body was found about a mile away and the boat dinghy was also found close to the shore.

WEINER: Noguchi said there was no evidence of foul play. He did indicate, however, that tests revealed Ms. Wood was technically drunk, but continually referred to Woods' condition as slightly inebriated. He nevertheless admitted that alcohol might have been one reason why the actress was rendered unconscious.

Noguchi also said that a heated but nonviolent argument had ensued between Woods' husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken, a guest on the yacht. But Noguchi could not confirm what the argument was about or whether it was the reason Ms. Wood decided to leave the ship alone.

NOGUCHI: An argument apparently took place, not involving Ms. Wagner, but Mr. Wagner and an actor. And Ms. Wagner apparently did not get involved, and apparently that may be the cause of why she separated from this group.

WEINER: Noguchi further revealed the actress had prescriptions for two sorts of pain killers, but said further tests would reveal whether these drugs were in her system. The results of these last toxicological investigates will be made public in a few days.

Robert Weiner, Cable News Network, Los Angeles.


ROMANS: That was back in 1981. Now 30 years later, investigators have reopened that case. The captain of the boat, Dennis Davern, was on NBC this morning. He said, quote, "I made mistakes by not telling the honest truth in a police report." David Gregory also asked, "Was the fight between Natalie Wood and her husband, Robert Wagner what ultimately led to her death?" And Dennis Davern said yes.

COSTELLO: Police won't say whether they reopened the case because of Davern's account, which he detailed in a book he co-wrote two years ago. We reached out to the Wagner family for a statement. They said they trust the Los Angeles Sheriff Department to evaluate any new information and that the information come from a source or sources other than those tries to profit from the 30-year anniversary of Natalie Wood's death.

So it will be interesting to see. There's a press conference later today in California and Los Angeles. I think it's at 2:00 p.m., that's California time. So we'll see who these new witnesses are and what this new information is.

The argument, by the way, that Robert Wagner was having with Christopher Walken was over Natalie Wood. But remember, everybody was drunk. They were having a party. Robert Wagner smashed a wine bottle on a table. I mean, it got really heated. Again, we don't know if that's part of this new investigation or not. We'll just have to wait and see.

ROMANS: The celebrity in this case -- quite frankly, the celebrity of this case has been gone over and gone over gone over. What could be new after 31 years? There were only a few people on the boat. The boat captain will be on CNN. So we'll get more from that then.

All right, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, Occupy Wall Street, can they take the anger on the streets and turn it into something political and positive? Are Democrats and Republicans missing the boat on this movement? We'll debate that ahead. It's 36 minutes after the hour.


COSTELLO: It is 39 degrees. You're looking at a beautiful shot of central park. I love that song by The Cure because Friday is my favorite day of the week.

Oh, and let's just take a look and thank the people, because I don't know if it's that day. maybe it's national day to thank your co-workers but, you know what, honestly, these guys do a great job every single day.

Happy Friday to you. It's 39 past the hour. They showed their numbers and their anger. Occupy Wall Street protesters rushed through the streets of New York City, blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. It hasn't exactly become a force like the Tea Party, yet. Some are saying that Republicans, not Democrats, are missing an opportunity here, though. Joining us to talk about that angle of the story is Matt Continetti of "The Weekly Standard" who has an op-ed on this topic, and CNN contributor Will Cain who is columnist for "The Blaze." Thanks to both of you for being here today.


COSTELLO: Let's start with Matt because, Matt, you think the GOP is sort of missing the boat here, that they should address this issue of income inequality from a conservative view point. Explain.

CONTINETTI: That's right. I think so far conservatives have had two approaches to this issue of income inequality. On the one hand, there are some conservatives say it's not an issue and it doesn't exist. On the other hand there are some conservatives who say, no, it is an issue, but we need to find ways that government can alleviate the problem.

The one thing that no one is saying is that the founders of this country didn't believe it was an issue. In fact, they believe the purpose of government was simply to protect our natural rights, and that if you did that, you would, obviously, get inequalities of income and condition. No one is really making that argument. So, I think it would be interesting if the GOP did it for once.

COSTELLO: That's a tough argument to make because it's kind of like, it's difficult to get that point across. So, Will, if it were you, how would you talk about income inequality as a Republican?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, unfortunately for some of our more liberal viewers, Matt and I will have a lot of disagreement on this. Honestly, my answer to income inequality would be who cares? Or better yet, I would say income inequality is a good thing.

Here's why. Look, we have a system that has triple, increased nominal income by 350 percent over 250 years. And it has pulled more people out of poverty than any other economic system on the history of earth. And we did it through the concept of free trade, not through a focus on equality.

It's easy to say economic growth is natural. That's not true. For 1,700 years we had pretty much stagnant income growth or marginal growth in income. And this is what we put together here on this society with free trade as the basis. It is historically an admiration. I would suggest that income inequality correlates with we're all richer. We're all doing better off.

COSTELLO: So some people hearing you might say that's a pretty selfish standpoint because the income inequality has grown in this country. The United States is sort of near the bottom, if you look at the country's income equality percentages. The United States isn't exactly number one.

And the other issue here is that if middle America doesn't have money to spend, won't that eventually hurt the people that are making the most money?

CAIN: Again, I think you have to change the conversation. When most people talk about income inequality growing, they're talking about a prism over the last 30 years. But there not talking about the fact that over a much longer timeframe we're all growing richer through the same system that is producing income inequality.

It just so happens that the economic system that makes us all more wealthy also makes us more unequal. I think the argument the Republicans should put forward and Matt has said something similar to this, that's what Republicans should stand for. They should explain this concept.

COSTELLO: Matt, do you agree?

CONTINETTI: I think there's been a lot of interest in the last couple years in the American founding. You see that with the bestselling biographies with the founders and with the John Adams miniseries and you see it, of course, in the Tea Party, which wants to get back to founding principles.

But what we haven't had a politician who said what are those founding principles. And the founding principle is that people are created equal, and the purpose of government is to protect their natural equality, not to equalize incomes or material conditions, but to simply protect those natural rights. And I would love to see the U.N. do a study on how well governments across the world are protecting our natural rights. I think it would be very different from the studies that measure income inequality.

COSTELLO: I think though, on another connected topic, that the Occupy Wall Street protesters says the deck is stacked against a certain segment of the population with tax loopholes, and the people controlling the money really control our government. They make the rules, they control what lawmakers do. The deck is stacked against them. So how in the world can you have income equality?

CAIN: That's a very different conversation. When you start talk about inequality as the production of corruption or criminality, that's not something many of us disagree on. When you have that kind of inequality, there is something that needs to be done.

This is the great debate about Occupy Wall Street. Is Occupy Wall Street about corruption on Wall Street, about corruption in Washington, D.C., or is it more broadly about one verse 99? Is it more broadly about the concept of inequality? If it is that, the way Republicans should engage this is on the concept that inequality is not in and of itself a social ill. It correlates to all of us doing better.

COSTELLO: OK, so this is really in the context of Republicans describing the Occupy Wall Street movement. Congressman Peter King was on Anderson Cooper last night, and here's how he described the protesters. Let's listen.


REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: First of all, you try to listen to them and they make almost no sense. And these are people who are living in dirt and these are people who are involved with drugs, there were violence -- there was violence, there was rape.

They're frustrated. Life is full of frustration. You know, they should go to see a psychiatrist if they are that frustrated. They're angry people, they're angry people who are losers; who are on the outside and screaming.

If they want to get involved, go into the system. Get involved, put out a concrete proposal. You don't do it by living in dirt. You don't do it by carrying out rapes. And you don't do it by carrying anti-American slogans.


COSTELLO: OK so Will, I heard your argument and it's difficult to know what exact message the protesters want to get out and --



COSTELLO: -- but some people say what's wrong with getting out a lot of different messages, as long as we're having this conversation.

So -- but I just want to address this question to Matt. When you hear Congressman King describe the protesters that way, what do you think? I mean does that add to the conversation or the argument in this country?

MATT CONTINETTI, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, it's a point of view, certainly. When I see these "Occupy Wall Street" people I'm seeing a tradition that goes back 200 years. You can go back to the Oneida (ph) community or Brook Farm in America in upstate New York in this -- years before the Civil War where people were coming together and trying to create the idea of society.

That's what those tent cities are, they are trying to reorganize society because they believe that the way society exists is unjust. And so what I'm saying is for Congressman King or for any other Republicans, you have to defend it on the level of ideas. You have to say that the society we have is a just society because the basis of our society is the protection of natural right, not more property for one person or less property for another.

COSTELLO: And Will, you're shaking your head, you're nodding.

CAIN: Well I mean, I think, personally, I try to apply this in all of my political analysis. Because quite honestly my ideology has better ideas. So have this conversation and have this debate on the level of ideas and not on attacking human beings, so as people. I agree with Matt.

The Congressman has a much stronger ground to stand on by attacking ideas. The problem with "Occupy Wall Street" is it's hard to pin them down on what their ideas are.

COSTELLO: It is, but it has changed the conversation in this nation, don't you think?


CAIN: Yes and I think --

COSTELLO: We are talking about things like income inequality and you know, we are talking Wall Street and some of the stuff that went wrong on Wall Street that's never been punished we are talking about that now.

CAIN: That's all true. That's all true.

COSTELLO: OK, Will Cain and Matt Continetti thanks for joining us this morning. We appreciate it. CAIN: Thanks a lot.

CONTINETTI: Thank you.

COSTELLO: We're going to take a quick break, we'll be back with more.


ROMANS: Welcome back. 49 minutes after the hour. Here are your "Morning Headlines".

Markets open in about 45 minutes and right now U.S. stock features are trading slightly higher. Stocks took a pretty big hit yesterday. The Dow dropped more than one percent, the NASDAQ and S&P 500 closed to two percent lower.

Syracuse University Assistant Men's basketball coach Bernie Fine is now on administrative leave this morning after two former ball boys accused him of inappropriate touching back in the '80s and '90s. The team's head coach says Fine has his complete support.

President Obama is in Bali meeting with Indonesia's president this morning. The President also announcing that Secretary of State Clinton will be visiting Myanmar next month, the first such trip there in 50 years.

L.A. homicide detectives have reopened the investigation into the death of actress Natalie Wood. On Thanksgiving weekend, 1981, Wood was on her boat with her husband, Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken when she somehow went overboard and died. Officials at the time ruled her death as an accident. Now, the sheriff department says it has additional information about the drowning.

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

Wow, that's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING back right after a break.


COSTELLO: Good morning to our friends in Washington. What a beautiful day.

Congress, well we got to talk about something slightly ugly, right? Congress has been facing a lot of criticism lately. The "New York Times" released a poll last month that found Congress's approval rating at nine percent. That's an all-time low.

ROMANS: Want to give your Congressman the boot, it might not be so easy. Gerrymandering has made it harder for incumbents to lose their seats. Here to explain is CNN's Drew Griffin. Hello, Drew.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT: Guys, I'm so glad you have me on this morning, especially, Carol, right after that interview you did with "Occupy Wall Street". It's so timely.


GRIFFIN: Do you want to know why some very conservative members of Congress like Peter King are not listening to the "Occupy Wall Street" movement or why it was so easy do you remember that for the liberal Democrat members of Congress to actually insult the Tea Party. It's because they're in such safe, insulated districts they're almost untouchable, which is why we put this documentary together.


GRIFFIN (on camera): I have been asked to do a report on gerrymandering. What do you think about gerrymandering?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think gerrymandering is a great guy.

GRIFFIN: These are people lined up to see the Liberty Bell. What do you think about gerrymandering?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really know him.

GRIFFIN: How about you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No I never heard of him.

GRIFFIN: It's actually the way politicians draw up congressional districts.


GRIFFIN: Into weird looking shapes so they can protect their own seats.


GRIFFIN: In Chicago, squeezed between two freeways, this narrow strip is needed to connect two halves of a gerrymandered district to keep it contiguous, as is required.

(on camera): This is the way Congress gets around the contiguous rule because there's, obviously, nobody living here, I mean, unless there's homeless people, I guess. Anybody here? Any congressional voters out there?

(voice-over): This is Illinois's fourth district. Stand it on end and what does it look like?


GRIFFIN: Luis Gutierrez has been the Congressman here for almost 20 years.

GUTIERREZ: One part and another part and you stay protected and you stay together.

GRIFFIN: The district was drawn to give Hispanics a seat in Congress.

GUTIERREZ: Shouldn't the Congress of the United States be a reflection of the city of Chicago?

GRIFFIN: Gutierrez ticks off what he says as an Irish district, a Polish district, a Jewish district, three black districts. This is the map for those Chicago districts. All held by Democrats with irregular lines. Odd connecting points. Back in the earmuff strip.

(on camera): Here comes a tractor. He's leaving the seventh, he's in the fourth congressional district right now. He's going through the fourth congressional district and he has entered the fifth congressional district.

(voice-over): In his Hispanic district, Gutierrez is usually re- elected with 75 percent of the vote or more. For other Democrats around him, it can be as high as 85 percent.

(on camera): Consider this. In the last decade, 78 percent of all the seats in the House did not change party hands, not even once. That's nearly four out of five Congressmen in safe seats year after year after year. A result of district lines drawn to protect incumbents in both parties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In general election, it's almost rigged.


GRIFFIN: And Carol and Christine, what's why we've named this report "Gerry-Rigged", the divvying up of political power takes place every ten years in this country. It's one of the most important developments that take place in politics. It's going on right now and, as you'll see Sunday night, almost exclusively behind the scenes, backroom deals with very, very little public involvement.

COSTELLO: That's, in part, why the mid-term elections were so very important, right?

GRIFFIN: That's exactly right.

ROMANS: Low approval ratings and hyper-partisanship and you're going to show us exactly why. All right, Drew, thank you.

COSTELLO: Can't wait to see it.

GRIFFIN: Thank you.

ROMAN: All right. So does your vote for (AUDIO GAP) really matter? It might depend on where you live. As Drew says, "Is your neighborhood gerryrigged?"

"CNN Presents" Sunday night 8:00 p.m. I will not miss it.

COSTELLO: Me neither.

We'll be right back. It's five minutes until the top of the hour.


ROMANS: Good morning, Atlanta -- oh, it looks like a nice day there. It's pretty chilly there, 36 degrees; but later it's going to be really nice, 55 degrees.

COSTELLO: We have to talk about your show tomorrow, Christine --


COSTELLO: -- because it's a topic dear to my heart. Actually something good happening in the world of education.

ROMANS: I know, I know. We're going to look at what's working in American classrooms. You hear so much about how the American education system is broken and how it's not working for our country and for our kids. We're going to talk to teachers about what they see on the ground that is working and maybe that's a way we can try to improve education at a bigger level.

COSTELLO: Sounds terrific.

ROMANS: So that's 9:30 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

COSTELLO: Awesome. Can't wait to see that. Lots to watch this weekend on CNN. We love that.

Let's head to Atlanta now, again and, check in with Fredricka Whitfield. Good morning Fred.

ROMANS: Good morning.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Good morning to you, ladies. Thanks so much. Have a great weekend as well.