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Gingrich Targeted at GOP Debate; Romney's Gamble; Obama Sizes Up GOP Challengers; AAU Sex Abuse Scandal; McQueary Story Changes; Sandusky To Face Accusers; Reuters: Al Qaeda Prison Break In Yemen; Noriega Extradited To Panama Prison; "Mother Robin" CNN's Hero Of The Year; 8 Suspended for Bloody Hoops Brawl; "RG3" Wins Heisman Trophy; Gingrich Under Attack; NBC/Marist Poll: Gingrich Gaining in SC, FL; RPT: McQueary's Story Changes

Aired December 12, 2011 - 06:00   ET




NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Burn. Newt Gingrich giving it back as candidates attack his policy and his personal life. Did they do enough to stop this surge?

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: New child sex abuse allegations rocking one of the biggest non-profit sports organizations in the country. Two basketball players are accusing the former head of the AAU of molesting them as little boys.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a madman in the street. My God, are you all right? There's a madman --


ROMANS: And Hollywood rampage caught on tape, a crazed gunman standing in the corner of Sunset firing into cars. We'll talk about what set him off on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ROMANS: And good morning, everyone. It's Monday, December 12th. Wow. December 12th where has the year gone? Carol is off. I'm Christine Romans.

VELSHI: And I'm Ali Velshi. Good to see you again. Haven't been here a while, but I have come back into much news.

ROMANS: Wait, tell me your itinerary. VELSHI: London, Nairobi, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Katmandu, Hong Kong --

ROMANS: Welcome back --

VELSHI: I've seen the world and everything is OK.

ROMANS: OK, and you decided to come back.

All right, up first, the fallout from this weekend's fiery Iowa debate. In case you missed it, Republican frontrunner Newt Gingrich must have felt like everyone was ganging up on him because they were.

His opponents were in attack mode. Gingrich's tough rival, Mitt Romney going after the former House speaker for calling the Palestinians, quote, "an invented people."


GINGRICH: This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage and we refuse to tell the truth while the other side lies and you're not going to win if you're afraid to stand firm and stand for the truth.

ROMNEY: And of course, you stand firm and speak for the truth, but you don't stand for Israel. If BB Netanyahu wants to say what you said, let him say it.


VELSHI: Now Romney has also been criticizing Gingrich as a career politician. Gingrich with a cutting comeback leading to one of the evening's most spirited exchanges.


GINGRICH: Let's be candid. The only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994.

ROMNEY: Now, wait a second. Wait a second. Now wait -- I mean --


ROMANS: All right, CNN's deputy political director, Paul Steinhauser joining us live from Des Moines, Iowa this morning. Paul, nice to see you.

One of the other headlines in the debate was Romney's offer to make a bet with Rick Perry.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, that may be -- maybe it backfired a little. This is a long-standing argument between two men we've seen play out in some of the previous debates.

Rick Perry suggesting, alleging that Mitt Romney and his book "No Apologies" in a later edition took out a little chapter, a little part where he says he has support for the individual mandate on health care. Take a listen to how it played out in the debate Saturday night.


GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're for individual mandates, my friend.

ROMNEY: You know what, you've raised that before, Rick, and you're --

PERRY: It was true then and it's true now.

ROMNEY: Rick, I'll tell you what, 10,000 bucks -- $10,000 bet.

PERRY: I'm not in the betting business.


STEINHAUSER: Here's the problem. OK, we all know Mitt Romney, very wealthy man, a multi-millionaire. When you're trying to maybe reach out and associate with average Americans, a $10,000 bet, a little steep.

A lot of people saying maybe this backfired. Democrats, of course, criticizing Romney right after that soon after those comments. The next morning, yesterday morning, brought his wife into this equation to kind of get himself out of the mess. Take a listen.


ROMNEY: Actually, after the debate was over, Ann came up, gave me a kiss and said it was great and she said a lot of things you do well, betting isn't one of them.


STEINHAUSER: And you know, of course, of course, Romneycare, as opponents call it, has been a problem for Mitt Romney all along. The individual mandate, which, of course, is now the national health care law, a big problem with conservative voters and has been an issue for Mitt Romney throughout this campaign -- Christine, Ali.

VELSHI: Paul, good to see you. It's Ali. First of all, you look -- you look like you're going to be in Iowa for three weeks. The primary is January 2nd. Hope it warms up for you a little bit.

But, you know, you said Democrats took a piece out of Romney for this. They're very careful not to be taking too many pieces out of Newt Gingrich.

As new poll numbers suggest that neither of the GOP frontrunners would be able to win two crucial states against President Obama in a general election. Tell us how this plays out.

STEINHAUSER: Yes. This is interesting. Take a look at these numbers. This is a new poll over the weekend from NBC/Marist. The South Carolina numbers, you can see President Obama in a hypothetical matchup with both Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney ahead, and ahead by a decent amount.

This is fascinating, because South Carolina, a pretty reliable Republican state, I think we can all say in the GOP, a long way away. Things could change.

Go to Florida. This is the real big state, the big enchilada, I guess, you could say. A lot of electoral votes there, of course, a crucial battleground state.

This poll indicating the president has a smaller lead, but a lead in Florida as well over Gingrich and over Romney in hypothetical matchups.

To your other point, yes, the Democratic National Committee has been going after Romney nonstop for months now, but they're now starting to pick up their criticism of Newt Gingrich as well as he's risen in the polls.

And now he's frontrunner right now in the battle for the GOP nomination. Three weeks and one day a way from the caucuses right here in Iowa. Those caucuses, of course, kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar -- Christine, Ali.

VELSHI: Paul, thank you. I don't mean to say anything disparaging about my co-anchor's home state of Iowa. Enjoy yourself there. It looks beautiful. It's cold and beautiful.

ROMANS: The weather's cold. The politics are hot.

VELSHI: President Obama accused Republicans of playing politics with the economic crisis last night. In a "60 Minutes" interview, the president is saying the GOP decided their best bet was sitting on the sidelines.

Those are his words. He also sized up two of his potential challengers in 2012. The two we were just talking about, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you make of this surge by former Speaker Gingrich?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He's somebody who's been around a long time and is good on TV, is good in debates, and, you know, but Mitt Romney has shown himself to be somebody who's good at politics as well.

He's had a lot of practice at it. You know, I think that they will be going at it for a while. When the Republican Party has decided who its nominee's going to be, then we'll have plenty of time to worry about it.


VELSHI: As Paul Steinhauser just told us, however, the president's re-election, so far, team has spent most of its time and money on Mitt Romney. But last week senior Obama strategist, David Axelrod, took the first direct shot at Newt Gingrich calling him, quote, "The godfather of gridlock in Washington."

ROMANS: All right, new sex abuse allegations rocking one of the nation's largest youth sports groups. The former president of the Amateur Athletic Union accused of child sex abuse.

In an ESPN interview, two former basketball players say Robert Dodd molested them when they were teens in the 1980s. The AAU says it alerted police last week and even turned over the name even a third accuser.

CNN's George Howell joins us live from Memphis, Tennessee. George, the AAU saying they first learned of the alleged abuse in early November, but the police weren't told until nearly a month later?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Again, Christine, that is one of the questions we want to ask of police this morning basically getting into the timeline of events here.

We know that the AAU received anonymous e-mails from a source only identified by the name "Shrimp Breath," that on November 7th and 8th.

They also received anonymous phone messages that took at least a month for the group to basically hire a private investigator then go through all of that material to decide whether to turn it over to police.

Again, a month went by when this group turned it over to police on December 8th and, again, the group made the decision just days after getting those anonymous e-mails and phone calls to remove Dodd from his post -- Christine.

ROMANS: Now the alleged abuse took place in hotels while on the road at tournaments. Any of these alleged abuses outside of Tennessee?

HOWELL: Just across the river here, you're in another state. So definitely a fair question we want to ask police as they look into these allegations. But again, this team back in the '80s did travel to different events. So that is something we will ask police as we speak to them this morning.

ROMANS: He has been removed from his post, you say?

HOWELL: He has. In fact, just days after getting the e-mails and phone calls the board convened. They confronted Dodd and Dodd apparently denied repeatedly any connection to these allegations, but did admit that he was contacted by an anonymous source.

Again, the board made the decision to remove him from his post and we've been checking around for him here in Memphis. We knocked on several doors. We checked in Orlando, but no sign of Dodd, who is suffering from colon cancer. No idea where he is at this point, but an investigation under way.

ROMANS: That's right. Undergoing treatment for colon cancer we're told, too. All right, George, thank you so much.

VELSHI: Meantime, in the Penn State sex scandal, new questions this morning after a new version of what assistant coach Mike McQueary saw in the locker room showers back in 2002 has surfaced.

Now this latest account is different from the handwritten statement that McQueary provided for investigators. "The Patriot News" reports that McQueary told family friend, Dr. Jonathan Dradoff, that he heard, quote, "sex sounds," end quote, coming from the shower.

Saw a young boy stick his head out of the stall and later Jerry Sandusky left with a towel on. McQueary had told the grand jury that he witnessed Sandusky actually raping a young boy.

ROMANS: Tomorrow, Sandusky faces his accusers for the very first time. A preliminary hearing expected to begin in the morning.

VELSHI: CNN's Susan Candiotti spoke with the attorney of one of the alleged victims and she has a preview of what we can expect in the courtroom.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ali and Christine, good morning. At the preliminary hearing on Tuesday, we'll get a sneak peek at the prosecutor's case against Jerry Sandusky.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Wearing his court-ordered ankle bracelet, Jerry Sandusky will leave his home Tuesday to face his accusers for the first time, a potentially explosive moment in this courtroom, when his alleged victims take the stand outlining dramatic charges of rape and molestation.

(on camera): What do you think the atmosphere will be like in the courtroom?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it will be electric.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Sandusky is charged with performing oral sex on the teenager known as alleged victim number one more than 20 times in 2007 and 2008. The boy's attorney says the teen is ready to testify.

(on camera): How is your client trying to prepare himself for this? MICHAEL BONI, ALLEGED VICTIM'S LAWYER: He has been told to essentially tell the truth and prepare by simply trying to relax as best as he can.

CANDIOTTI: What is it going to be like for him to face Coach Sandusky?

BONI: I believe it's going to be a very difficult, difficult experience for him.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): And for each alleged victim at the preliminary hearing, prosecutors must convince a judge there's enough evidence to go to trial.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a very embarrassing situation for most of them, to be sure, and they're going to be cross- examined by someone who is determined to show they're lying.

CANDIOTTI: That someone is Sandusky's lawyer.

JOSEPH AMENDOLA, SANDUSKY ATTORNEY: We're looking for people to tell us specifically what they're saying happened, and then what we're going to do is start trying to prove that that probably didn't happen the way they said.

CANDIOTTI: With two more alleged victims coming forward last week, Sandusky now faces more than 50 charges of sexual assault. He denies all of them. Yet Sandusky's denials don't matter to alleged victim number one.

BONI: He wants nothing more than to see this man behind bars and he will do whatever he can to assists in that process.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): He's prepared to see this through no matter how long it goes?

BONI: Absolutely right.


CANDIOTTI: Apparently, so is Sandusky. He attorney says the former coach is doing his homework to help prepare his defense -- Ali and Christine.

VELSHI: Susan, thank you for that.

A developing story this morning. An al Qaeda prison break in Yemen. Reuters is reporting that at least 14 suspected terrorists dug a tunnel out of a prison in South Yemen.

This is an area where militants have seized entire chunks of a province as political violence turns that country upside-down. Dozens of al Qaeda militants also tunneled their way out of a prison in the same area, you'll remember, back in June.

ROMANS: All right, former dictator Manuel Noriega is in Panama spending his first night back in his homeland in a prison cell. The drug-running dictator from the 1980s was extradited back to Panama yesterday.

He was taken straight to prison to begin serving a 20-year prison sentence for murdering his opponents while in power. Noriega now 77 years old has been in France since 2010 after spending two decades in an American prison.

VELSHI: And it was a night of emotion, inspiration and standing ovations as CNN gave an all-star tribute to ten remarkable men and women and announced its hero of the year last night.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": The 2011 CNN Hero of the Year is Robin Lim.


VELSHI: I could never keep it together when watching "Heroes." American Robin Lim or Mother Robin has helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy and she was as selfless in her big moment as she is in the rest of the year.


ROBIN LIM, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: Today on earth, 981 mothers in the prime of their life will die, and tomorrow again and yesterday. And I'm asking you to help change that. We don't even know how many babies are lost, but all of us can help change that.


ROMANS: It's personal for her. It really is.

VELSHI: Because she became a midwife after her sister and her sister's baby died from complications during childbirth. That happened several years ago.

And that's -- in so many of these heroes, it's either a personal experience or it's something that they've seen in their communities or in their travels. And these are unsung heroes, and that's the beauty of this -- this program. CNN goes out and finds these people who are not widely recognized. They haven't been given some international award for what they do.

It really is -- it's -- it's one of those many things that make me proud to work here.

ROMANS: It's -- and it's not cliche but it really gives you faith in humanity again, you know?

VELSHI: Absolutely. Yes.

ROMANS: It really does. All right, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, blood on the court. Punishment being handed down for a nasty brawl in college basketball, one coach saying his players may never come back.

VELSHI: And he was known as one of the good guys. A player who helped clean up baseball after the steroids era, now reigning MVP Ryan Braun is fighting what could be a black mark on his record.


VELSHI: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. It's 19 minutes after the hour.

Punishment being handed down for one of the most vicious fights we have seen ever on the basketball court.


VELSHI: Now, this happened with nine seconds to go in Saturday's game between Cincinnati and Xavier. During the fight, Cincinnati's Yancy Gates threw a right hand and busted a player wide open.

Cincinnati and Xavier each suspended four players for their roles in the brawl, Cinci's head coach showing his disgust at a news conference.


MIKE CRONIN, CINCINNATI HEAD COACH: I'm going to meet with my AD and my president and I'm going to decide who's on the team going forward. That's what the University of Cincinnati's about, period.

I told them the way I feel, I've never been this embarrassed. I'm hoping President Williams doesn't ask me to resign after that.


VELSHI: Some frank words, clearly showing his disgust. He's also talked that the two rivals may cancel their 80th meeting next season. Wow.

ROMANS: All right. He was looked at as one of the so-called good guys in Major League Baseball. Now, the reigning national MVP Ryan Braun is fighting reports that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during the Milwaukee Brewers playoff run. He faces a 50-game suspension next season if this is confirmed.

He recently signed a new deal that will pay him $150 million through 2020. His spokesperson says he'll ultimately be proven innocent of these allegations.

VELSHI: And in a year of college scandals, there is indeed something to celebrate.

ROMANS: Oh, yes. VELSHI: Quarterback Robert Griffin became the -- the III became the first player from Baylor ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was the runner up in the voting for the second straight year.

Griffin, or RG3 as they call him, is also on the dean's list and the son of two retired Army sergeants.

ROMANS: Yes, and his choice now is, you know, he could play another year; he could go to the pros; he could go on to law school. I mean, this guy has got every kind of --

VELSHI: Pretty set. That's right. ] ROMANS: -- good option ahead of him. So we're going to talk to him later on, too.

VELSHI: He's going to join us live at 8:40 A.M. Eastern. We're going to ask him what this means for Baylor, about a jump to the NFL, about those Superman socks that he wore to the ceremony on Saturday. We'll have a great conversation with him right here at 8:40 A.M.

ROMANS: Let's check with your travel forecast now. Rob Marciano in the Extreme Weather Center.

Good morning, Rob.


ROMANS: Are you wearing Superman socks or you wear Spidey socks?

MARCIANO: Yes. I'm more of a Spidey guy, but it's a -- he's a -- he's a fine young man and a humble -- I saw his interviews over the weekend. Congratulations to him. And a fine first name, as a matter of fact. Robert. That's for sure.

VELSHI: That's right.

MARCIANO: Hey, we do have some issues to deal with today, although none across the northeast and a rebound as far as temperatures are concerned. And after a chilly weekend -- as a matter of fact, it was the coldest air of the season yesterday morning, finally getting below freezing across parts of the northeast, including New York City.

A little batch of some freezing drizzle across Western Wisconsin and some heavier rains across the southeast and southwest corner, although the southwest corner will have a little bit of snow with it.

Rainfall amounts today will be significant across parts of Southwest Georgia, Northern Florida and parts of Mississippi and Alabama. In some cases we need some of this rain, so we'll take it. Most of it will stay south, though, of Atlanta.

And then a pulse of energy coming into the southwest. Los Angeles and the mountains to the East of Los -- L.A. will see significant snow, especially above 5,000 feet. We have winter storm warnings are posted, and then into the four corners region, the same areas that have seen the significant storminess the past couple of weeks will get it over the next two day. Los Angeles, you'll see some showers and the low clouds will cause some delays there, and San Francisco as well and San Diego and Phoenix.

Day time highs today, 42 degrees in Chicago; it will be 46 degrees in Atlanta, with a little bit of rain; 45, that's warmer in New York than it was yesterday, but still it gives you that little chill in the air. It reminds you that Christmas is right around the corner.

Guys, back up to you.

ROMANS: I don't need -- I don't need that chill. I need the kids reminding me at every moment that Christmas is around the corner.

MARCIANO: I'm sure they're doing that just fine.

VELSHI: It was beautiful, though, yesterday just going up Fifth Avenue and the lights and the --

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

VELSHI: -- the windows.

ROMANS: Thanks, Rob.

VELSHI: Very, very nice.

All right, still to come, new details on a shooting rampage in Los Angeles. Some disturbing video you can see here of a gunman opening fire on random cars.

What happened and what could have triggered -- triggered the violence? We're going to talk about it on the way back.

It is 23 minutes after the hour.


VELSHI: "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Most Asian markets advancing over night. A debt crisis treaty by many European leaders is triggering some optimism.

U.S. markets open in about three hours, coming off a strong session on Friday with the Dow, the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 all posting sharp gains. Now, U.S. investors will be closely monitoring events in Europe.

No official meetings are planned this week after a majority of Eurozone members struck a deal for a new treaty to save the euro. But Britain, a member of the Eurozone, a member of the E.U., is rejecting it, leaving some investors on edge. The MF Global money chase continues, the judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the firm clearing the way for some customers to get their money back. Now, he's approved releasing roughly $2 billion more in frozen funds to customers of the firm, but this still doesn't include the $1.2 billion that MF Global lost before it collapsed.

Well, maybe you were shopping this weekend because you weren't going to the movies. Weekend box office sales hit a three-year low, with more than $77 million taken in. "New Year's Eve" led the way in a very weak field (ph). It took in 37 -- I'm sorry, $13.7 million.

Save a tree and some money. If you're a little tight on cash this holiday season, the American Christmas Tree Association suggests choosing an artificial tree instead of a real one. Over a decade, the plastic tree costs 70 percent less than buying 10 separate natural trees in that time.

AMERICAN MORNING, right back after the break.



GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you will cheat on your wife, if you will cheat on your spouse, then why wouldn't you cheat on your business partner?


VELSHI: Getting personal and giving it back. Newt Gingrich facing his first big test since he skyrocketed in the polls and with three weeks until Iowa, it is getting ugly on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS: Sorry about that. I thought I was supposed to read that.

VELSHI: Been out of the bracket for a little while. I'm a little rusty.

ROMANS: All right.

VELSHI: It is Iowa. I mean, that is, the Iowa story should generally fall to you. When the Canadian primary is on, I'll take over.

ROMANS: Oh, yes, because we cover the Canadian primary so much here.

VELSHI: Maybe the make or break race in this election.

ROMANS: All right. Welcome back.

At 31 minutes after the hour, time for this morning's top stories.

Newt Gingrich gaining momentum. A new NBC News/Marist poll has the former House speaker leading Mitt Romney by 19 points in South Carolina and 15 points in Florida.

But when the two Republican front-runners go up against President Obama in those two states, they both lose. In South Carolina, the president leads Romney by three points and Gingrich by four points. And in Florida, he leads by Romney by seven points, and Gingrich by 12 points.

It's one of the country's largest sports youth groups. Now, Memphis police are investigating sex abuse claims against the Amateur Athletic Union former president, Robert Dodd. In an ESPN interview, two former basketball players say that Dodd molested them when they were young teens in the 1980s. The AAU says it alerted police last week and even turned over the name of a third accuser. The AAU dismissed Dodd last month.

And Manuel Noriega waking up in his homeland this morning in a prison cell. The drug-running dictator from the '80s was extradited back to Panama yesterday, taken straight to prison to begin serving a 20-year sentence for murdering his opponent while he was in power. The 77-year-old Noriega has already spent some 20 years in prison in Florida and France for drug trafficking and money laundering -- Ali.

VELSHI: Thanks, Christine.

Now that Newt Gingrich has emerged as a front-runner for the Republican nomination, he is taking a beating from both sides of the aisle, not only from his GOP rivals but from Democrat as well. The Democratic National Committee now labeling the former House speaker as the, quote, "original Tea Partier," end quote, in a new ad.

Let's talk about that and the highlights of the debate over the weekend with Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin. They are cofounders and national coordinators of the Tea Party Patriots. It's an organization with 1,800 chapters and claiming they have millions across the country.

Welcome to both of you.

You would know the candidate who is the original Tea Partier. Does this -- does this resonate with you when the DNC calls Newt Gingrich the original Tea Partier?

JENNY BETH MARTIN, CO-FOUNDER AND NATIONAL COORDINATOR, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: When they say that, I think of the original Tea Partiers not us but being Sam Adams and the people in Boston, Massachusetts.

VELSHI: Right.

MARTIN: So, if they're referring to the fact that Newt Gingrich and President Clinton balanced the federal budget, then maybe he is one of the early Tea Partiers. But I don't know what they're talking about.

VELSHI: Mark, what's your sense of the debate this weekend. Did anything change? Any game changers? Anybody upset anybody else?

MARK MECKLER, CO-FOUNDER AND NATIONAL COORDINATOR, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: I don't think there were any game changers. I think there are things that amused the press generally. And you see the occasional bungle. The Romney bet obviously didn't play very well.

Other than I think --

VELSHI: He bet, he was having a disagreement with Rick Perry about something in his book and said, I'll bet you $10,000.

MECKLER: Yes. And obviously the average American isn't betting 10,000 bucks on pretty much anything. So, I don't think that played too well but I didn't see any real game changers.

VELSHI: Let's talk about the exchange between Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich, a little bit about Gingrich's rocky private life in the past. Listen in to this.


PERRY: If you will cheat on your wife, If you will cheat on your spouse. Then why wouldn't you cheat on your business partner or why wouldn't you cheat on anybody for that matter?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've made mistakes at times. I had to go to God for forgiveness. I'd had to seek reconciliation. But I'm also a 68-year-old grandfather and I think people have to measure who I am now and whether I'm a person they can trust.


VELSHI: Mark, you've said that the Tea Party is looking for a person of principle. Does this become a big issue for Newt Gingrich and how did he handle that?

MECKLER: Well, I don't know whether if it's a big issue, but it absolutely is an issue. Character is something that should always be considered, especially when we're talking about the president. It is an issue in the Tea Party and I think it is something people will take it into consideration when they're deciding who to vote for.

VELSHI: All right. Jenny Beth, let me ask you about this. Ron Paul, who's remained consistent and grown a little over the course ever this, he attacked Gingrich for earning money as a consultant to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He had about $1 million in consulting fees.

Let's listen to what Ron Paul had to say.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at Newt/Romney, they were for --


VELSHI: Let's listen to Michele Bachmann. That's Michele Bachmann, actually. But we'll listen to Michele Bachmann in just a second.

Ron Paul said to -- said about Newt Gingrich that he -- he basically took taxpayer money because taxpayer bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Gingrich's response he offered strategic advice. He was in the private sector when he did it. He was working in the private sector.

What your sense of whether this is important?

MARTIN: Well, I think it is important. People around the country involved in the Tea Party movement know that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have had a lot of problems, and that it's -- that our government, it's involved in things that it shouldn't be involved in. And that's one of them.

So, the fact that he was making money off of it, it bothers people.

VELSHI: But --

MARTIN: And that's part of the reason our supporters just don't know where they stand.

VELSHI: But does it bother if he was taking money in the private sector and he was taking money at that time?

MARTIN: I think it does.

VELSHI: Right.

MARTIN: I can say, for me, very personal standpoint. When my husband and I lost our house, we were offered money from them and we declined it, and lost our house instead of taking money from them. I guess we were in the private sector, too, but we didn't take that money.

VELSHI: OK. Let's -- we were just listening to Michele Bachmann. Do we have that again? Can we play what we just heard from Michele Bachmann? Listen in to what she had to say.


BACHMANN: If you look at Newt/Romney, they were for Obamacare principles. If you look at Newt/Romney, they were for cap and trade. If you look at Newt/Romney, they were for the illegal immigration problem. And if you look at Newt/Romney, they were for the $700 billion bailout.


VELSHI: She's done an effective job and Michele Bachmann is effective with these things. She's coined a new term, Newt-Romney, taking aim at the two front-runners, Mark. Where is Michele Bachmann in this race when it comes to you and Tea Party Patriots?

MECKLER: Well, I think the most important thing what she said was true. It was effective because it was true and she was dealing with the issue of flip-flopping on major issues to Tea Partiers. I think Michele's been remarkably consistent. I mean, that's the one thing you can say for her. She has stood on principle throughout her career and all the way through the election.

So, I think the people who are attracted to her candidacy, it really is about principle and consistency.

VELSHI: But the tougher conservatives, Jenny Beth -- Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum -- they're not gaining more attraction at the moment. Will they? Can they?

MARTIN: We'll see. Not a single vote has been cast.

VELSHI: Right.

MARTIN: So, it's hard to tell what's actually going to happen. Mark and I were talking before this started, and on December 18th, 2007, Giuliani was 10 points ahead in polls.

VELSHI: Right.

MARTIN: And he didn't make it out as the nominee.

VELSHI: We're three weeks away from a very, very important, from Iowa -- let's talk about this. We've got this poll, the CNN/"TIME"/ORC that was taken between November 29th and December 6th about Tea Party supporters. Look where Gingrich is polling amongst Tea Party supporters -- 62 percent of them supporting or say they will support him in Florida, 40 percent in Iowa, 37 percent in New Hampshire and 53 percent in South Carolina.

What do you make of that, Mark? Are these numbers skewed? Because we got three weeks to go. Can -- are these guys going to topple Gingrich or could Gingrich become the Republican presidential nominee?

MECKLER: I think anything is possible. And again, those polls have been fluctuating very wildly.

VELSHI: True. Everybody's had a chance.

MECKLER: Pretty much everybody is the front-runner. And, again, if you look at history, like Jenny Beth said, in December of 2007, Giuliani, and he was considered the presumptive nominee by pretty much everybody in the media at that time.

So, I think it's good that we look at our history.


MECKLER: We take a deep breath and we just wait to see how people actually vote.

VELSHI: But people like are you activists. So, you're not really waiting. What do you think is likely to happen? What are your guesses as what could happen in the next three weeks?

MARTIN: Well, I think in the next three weeks, we're just going to watch how things pan out. People in Iowa are still paying attention.


MARTIN: Iowa has to get out the vote. They're going to do that. We'll see what happens in New Hampshire and South Carolina. And I would suggest in South Carolina last week, people are still, they really are still undecided and they're still trying to make up their minds.

VELSHI: All right. So, there's something to all of these debates and that there are some undecided people and they're still thinking about it. Great to see you both. Thank you for being with us.

Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin are cofounders and national coordinators with the Tea Party Patriots -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Interesting stuff.

Up next, new details on the gunmen caught on camera randomly shooting at cars on Hollywood streets. What triggered his violent rampage? We're going to get insight from a top clinical psychologist.

It's 40 minutes past the hour.


VELSHI: Welcome back to AMERICAN MORNING. Forty-three minutes after the hour.

We're learning new details about a terrifying weekend shooting rampage in Hollywood. Amateur video shows a gunman pacing back and forth down the middle of Sunset Boulevard randomly shooting at people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. You all right? There's a madman, just shot people.


ROMANS: So, as you can see, there's a guy filming like four stories up or something. So, he managed to capture all of this. The suspect Tyler Brehm was shot and killed on the scene

What could have triggered this rampage?

Clinical psychologist, Dr. Jeff Gardere, joins us now.

I mean, this is by all accounts suicide by cops.

VELSHI: Well, he was yelling that, he was yelling. Shoot me. Kill me.

ROMANS: You're standing in the middle of the street, and he's shooting -- 26 years old. He's shooting like crazy. His friends and a former girlfriend say that there was a recent -- excuse me -- breakup. What makes someone go and want to go out in such a huge way like this?

DR. JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PYSCHOLOGIST: Well, obviously, yes, this is a person who was suicidal. I would think even though there are reports that he was taking some sort of pharmaceutical, some sort of a drug, his girlfriend says, we don't know what it is. We know with, in the past --

ROMANS: Or if it's even true actually.

GARDERE: Or if it's true. And we know in the past with some certain antidepressants if that's what he was taking. We don't even know that there are side effects such as suicidal behavior. But y can only begin to wonder whether this guy had some sort of mental health history and if he didn't, perhaps he was undiagnosed.

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: But, certainly, this is someone who was probably emotionally unstable, probably for quite some time.

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: And then this breakup with the girlfriend threw him over the edge, because people break up all the time. People get dumped al the time. People sometimes take drugs, but they don't go out, try to kill other people -- and especially in an outrageous way such as this one, and then want to be killed by the cops, which is what he was asking for.

VELSHI: So, let's say he as you say, he may have had an illness he was undiagnosed for. According to his girlfriend, he wasn't big into drugs. He didn't like pharmaceuticals. But he met a woman who he thought was a pharmaceutical salesman and who had given him some kinds of pills. The whole thing is very murky.


VELSHI: But if you are undiagnosed or think you got some kind of mental illness, what kind of drugs could cause you to become delusional or psychotic or suicidal? I mean, is there a wide range of things that you shouldn't touch?

GARDERE: Well, there are couple of drugs, and I won't give any specific names, of course, but there are certain anti-depressants that we know that there have been warnings that if you are not taking them the correct way or if the levels are too high that, in fact, you can be suicidal, and we've seen these warnings for young people, especially.

VELSHI: Because that's counterintuitive, right? You think you're depressed and somebody gives you an antidepressant, it's going to make you feel better?

GARDERE: Well, but the other thing is that when we look at antidepressants, and I'm not a psychiatrist or physician, but what we do know is if it's not the right balance for you, if it overstimulates you, for example, and you already have suicidal thinking to begin with. Most people commit suicide after they've been discharged from a hospital, when they're feeling better because they have energy.


GARDERE: So, maybe this guy, who claims that he liked fast things, we found that of his Facebook, might have been taking something that was overstimulant.

ROMANS: But we don't know. I mean, sometimes people -- girlfriend, ex-girlfriend is trying to put the blame, not the blame, but put the attention somewhere else, we just have no idea what was ticking in this kid, young man, 26 years old.


ROMANS: But to go out -- I mean, it's one thing to be so depressed and just heartbroken over a breakup, not being able to find your mourn (ph). Apparently, he'd known this young woman for a very, very long time.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: It's one thing to be suicidal. It's another thing the one who killed a bunch of people. He shot someone in the face who's in critical but stable condition. He shot somebody else, too.

GARDERE: That's right.

ROMANS: I mean, to go shoot someone in the face, that's really, really --

GARDERE: And I think this is what we need to look at it all these different kind of cases, even the shooting cases on the campuses. These are not people who woke up one day and said, you know what, I'm going to go out hurt someone because I'm angry.

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: These are people --

ROMANS: It's a process. GARDERE: It's a process who've had emotional issues, perhaps, undiagnosed, perhaps masked. With this particular person, again, we don't know anything of substance right now, but this could have been a guy who was always kind of unstable, but he hooked up with the right girl at the time.

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: They knew each other through college, dating four years. She was the anchor. She kept him stable. Once she dumped him, then he just fell apart. That's all that right now we can hypothesize.

ROMANS: Dr. Jeff, if there are people watching us who feel as though they are despondent or you know someone who is very, very despondent, stories like this, you're so good at just sort of reaching out and saying, look, there are better days ahead. Just stop for a minute. You know, if someone's really in trouble --

GARDERE: That's right. That's right. You know, stop and think. We've seen so many of these cases. Right now, you just can't look the other way. You have to try to get them to a family physician, get them to a psychologist, get them to an emergency room. There are mobile crisis units. There are things that you can do out there you don't have to be powerless.

VELSHI: How do you say it? How do you say it? Because most people who tell you despondent are not necessarily telling you, by the way, where should I go to get help?

GARDERE: Right exactly.

VELSHI: How do you say to somebody, you know, I think, maybe, you need to get -- how do you do it?

GARDERE: The first thing you say is, I really care about you. Perhaps -- you don't even have to say, I think you're emotionally unstable. You need a little help.

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: You know, all of us need some help at some point in our lives. I love you. I'm here for you. Let me take you to see someone. Let me take you to see my doctor.

VELSHI: Right.

GARDERE: Let's get someone to talk to you. Let's take you to a house of worship and get some counseling. Whatever it is, whatever the resources, just get people involved, and if you do get enough people involved, there are enough eyes on that person that they can support them somehow instead of just letting them go off randomly and doing something really crazy.

ROMANS: All right. Jeff Gardere, clinical psychologist. Always nice to see you, Jeff. GARDERE: Great to be with you both.

VELSHI: All right. We're all used to the celebrity apology by now, but we've never seen one quite like this. Coming up, Alec Baldwin going to the friendly confines of "Saturday Night Live" to send a message to American Airlines. We'll tell you all about it when we come back. It's 49 minutes after the hour.


ROMANS: About 51 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. Here's what you need to know to start your day.


ROMANS (voice-over): Newt Gingrich still going strong. A new NBC News/Marist Poll shows the former House speaker gaining support in two key southern states leading Mitt Romney by 19 points in South Carolina and 15 points in Florida.

President Obama accusing Republicans of doing nothing as a political strategy. Last night in an interview with "60 Minutes," the president saying the GOP decided their best bet was sitting on the sidelines and hoping the economy would get worse.

In the Penn State sex scandal, there's a new version of what assistant football coach, Mike McQueary saw in the locker room shower back in 2002. These are news report. McQueary told a family friend at the time he heard, quote, "sex sounds," briefly saw a young boy and later saw Jerry Sandusky leave with a towel on. McQueary had told the grand jury that he witnessed Sandusky actually raping a child.

Former dictator, Manuel Noriega, is back in the state of Panama in a prison cell. He was extradited yesterday after spending 20 years in prison in Florida and in France for drug trafficking and money laundering.

And with the season on the line, the New York Giants stunned the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night football. They blocked a field goal try in the final seconds after Eli Manning took them down the field for another fourth quarter comeback. Final, 37-34.


ROMANS (on-camera): That's the news you need to start your day. AMERICAN MORNING right back after this.


VELSHI: Welcome back. The "Next List" is a new CNN program which focuses on some of America's most creative minds, some of the world's most creative minds. Each Sunday, Dr. Sanjay Gupta profiles people who are on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. In fact, the concept of the "Next List" is not names you know, it's the "Next List" of names you'll know. ROMANS: Right. And this week, Sanjay introduces us to a computer act developer who transforms the way we see in his magical new world is already showing up in airports and museums. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Before the iPad, I used to joke that I made useless programs, but they're as useless as a song, a movie, a story, something like that. And all of a sudden, with the iPad, I could just go directly to people and say, check this thing out. It doesn't -- we don't even have to label what it is. It's just called Gravelex. It's called bubble heart (ph). See if you like it, and you know, all of a sudden, they did.


VELSHI: You can catch the "Next List," each Sunday, 2:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.

ROMANS: All right. Alec Baldwin is doing damage control after he was kicked off in American Airlines flight last week. You were somewhere in the air when this was happening.

VELSHI: Right. I heard about it.

ROMANS: He wouldn't stop playing a videogame on his phone. The actor actually received an apology from himself.


ROMANS: Take a look at this clip from "Saturday Night Live."


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: What harm would it do to let him keep playing his game, not any game, mind you, but a word game for smart people?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) interfere with the plane's communication's systems?

BALDWIN: You don't believe that, do you, Seth?


BALDWIN: Would you really get on an airplane and fly 30,000 feet in the air if you thought one little kill switch could take it down?


BALDWIN: Come on! It's just a cruel joke perpetrated by the airline industry. And we would have gotten away with it, but Alec Baldwin was just too smart for us.


BALDWIN: He really is something, Seth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But didn't Alec Baldwin getting kicked off the plane, delay takeoff?

BALDWIN: It did. And it was the first time in the history of American Airlines one of our flights was delayed. Come on, Seth!



VELSHI: That was funny. OK. Just ahead, Newt Gingrich is pulling away from his GOP rivals in the south in two critical early states. The new polls are showing how he may fare in November against President Obama. The news isn't as good. We'll tell you about them when we come back. It's 56 minutes after the hour.