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American Morning

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Square Off in Debate; New Question Arise over Testimony in Jerry Sandusky Child Molestation Case; CNN Honors "Hero of the Year"; Murder at Virginia Tech; Obama: GOP Strategy "Sit On The Sidelines"; Ganging Up On Gingrich; Sex Abuse Claims Against Former AAU President; Sandusky To Face Accusers; Romney, Perry Debate Dispute Ends in Bet Offer; Baby Boomers Turn Love of Food into Business; Safeguard Your Kids from Alcohol, Drugs, Depression

Aired December 12, 2011 - 06:59   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: He's surging but can he beat President Obama? New polls showing whether voters think Newt Gingrich is the best choice to face the president.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: New questions about the alleged eyewitness in the Penn State sex abuse scandal and whether coach Mike McQueary is really an eyewitness after all.

ROMANS: And America's gun law in focus after another tragedy at Virginia Tech. We'll speak to someone who says allowing gun on campus is the answer.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Ladies and gentlemen, it's my great honor to announce the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year.


VELSHI: They spend their lives putting others first. Now, CNN's "Heroes" get their night in the spotlight on this AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS (on-camera): And good morning, everyone. It is Monday, December 12th. Carol is off today. I'm Christine Romans along with Ali Velshi (ph) on this AMERICAN MORNING." Welcome back, Ali.

VELSHI (on-camera): Good to be back, and it's fun to be back. I missed everybody and I'm thankful to you that there is a great deal of news to report this morning.

ROMANS: Politics for you.

VELSHI: Let's start with that. Newt Gingrich. He is sizzling in the south. Take a look at this new NBC News-Maris poll released yesterday. The former House speaker opening up a gaping lead over Mitt Romney in two southern states. This is South Carolina you were looking at and, yes, that's not an error. That shows a 19-point margin for Newt Gingrich over Mitt Romney. In Florida, Gingrich is 15 points ahead.

But the news is not all good for Newt or for Mitt Romney for that matter. We have two reports. First, our deputy political director Paul Steinhauser is live in Des Moines. But let's start with Joe Johns, he's live at the CNN center in Atlanta this morning. Joe, good morning. Good morning to you as well, Paul. New poll numbers show that neither GOP front-runner can knock President Obama off in two key states. Tell us about this.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's disturbing for Republicans who want to reclaim the White House, if you look at these numbers. It's still early, still just a snapshot, but for those people who are looking at Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney as the guys to knock off Barack Obama, take a look at this -- 51 percent for Obama in South Carolina, 39 percent for Gingrich in South Carolina, basically identical numbers in Florida.

Now, the interesting thing is, four years ago, I should say three years ago, Barack Obama actually lost South Carolina, but he did win Florida. So these are the kinds of numbers that you start looking at, and they're the things that make you go "hmm." Ali, back to you.

VELSHI: No kidding. These were not -- these Republicans, or at least with South Carolina, it's a Republican stronghold. There is an interesting debate in New Hampshire tonight, which pits Newt Gingrich against Jon Huntsman, who was absent from this weekend's debate?

JOHNS: Right. And Huntsman is a guy who hasn't gotten a whole lot of traction, as we've heard so much about here, across the country. New Hampshire, he'd have to do very well. And this is going to be his shot pretty much to make this case. That is going to be that one opportunity in a debate, up against the front-runner in the race, Newt Gingrich, and people are going to get to hear what Jon Huntsman has to say. So for Newt, anything he can do to sort of, you know, speed up the clock here and get this thing over, that's good for him, too.

VELSHI: All right. Joe, thanks very much for that. Lots to watch. Joe Johns joining us from Atlanta.

ROMANS: In this weekend's debate Mitt Romney might have made a critical mistake. It happened when Texas governor Rick Perry challenged him for his support of health care mandates while he was governor of Massachusetts. Romney's response reviving claims by critics that he's out of touch. Listen.


RICK PERRY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You were for individual mandates, my friend. MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what? You've raised that before, rick, and you're simply wrong.

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


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

PERRY: I'm not in the betting business.


ROMANS: Oh, and I think this morning Romney wishes he weren't either. CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser is live in Des Moines, Iowa this morning. Rick Perry looked shocked when Romney offered that $10,000 bet, didn't he?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN DEPUTY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, and Rick Perry yesterday campaigning near Iowa saying that, yes, this shows that Mitt Romney is out of touch with Americans who are struggling to survive in tough economic times. You see him on the campaign trail, his campaign putting out a web video making the most of it. Perry trying to get traction.

A pretty good debate for Romney, yes. Even the Democrats as well, Democratic National Committee beating up on Mitt Romney for two straight days after those comments Saturday night at the showdown, at the debate here in Iowa. The Romney campaign saying, though, that it showed that Rick Perry wouldn't take that bet, that he would step down from it. This is a long simmering feud between the two men over what Mitt Romney wrote in the book and whether he took anything out in later editions in the book "No Apologies" about Romneycare which he passed while being governor of Massachusetts, Christine.

ROMANS: And there was a really interesting volley too between Romney and Newt Gingrich, Romney calling Gingrich a career politician. But then Gingrich hit right back on that. Didn't he?

STEINHAUSER: He sure did. Listen, what has changed over the last couple of weeks since that last presidential debate, the RCN debate in Washington just before Thanksgiving, the polls. Newt Gingrich now the front-runner, here in Iowa, first to hold the contest. And when you're the front-runner, you have a bull's eye on your back. Take a listen to how it played out between Gingrich and Romney.


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


ROMNEY: Wait a second. Now, wait a second, that's -- now, wait --


STEINHAUSER: I mean, all right, we've got three weeks now until the Iowa caucus. Tomorrow is the three week mark. And all the candidates except for Huntsman are right back here in Iowa on Thursday for another presidential debate. The clock is ticking for these candidates, Christine.

ROMANS: Thanks very much, Paul Steinhauser. And the Romney comeback was pretty good, too, Ali. Romney said if I were a career politician, if I had won against Teddy Kennedy, I wouldn't have all that experience in the private sector, which is what makes me good president.


VELSHI: These two guys talking about which one is more of a career politician makes for good TV.

ROMANS: Sure does.

VELSHI: President Obama accused Republicans of playing politics with the economic crisis last night and he gave an interview to "60 Minutes." The president said the GOP decided their best bet was, quote, "sitting on the sidelines." President Obama also sized up two of his potential challengers in 2012, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.


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

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's somebody who's been around a long time and is good on TV, is good in debates. And -- 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 is going to be, then we'll have plenty of time to worry about it.


VELSHI: So far the president's reelection team spent most of its time and money focusing 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 developments in the Penn State sex abuse case against Jerry Sandusky, questions after a new version of what assistant football coach Mike McQueary saw in that locker room back in 2002 surfaces. This latest account, it's slightly different from the handwritten statement THAT McQueary provided for investigators. CNN contributor Sara Ganim joins us live from State College with the details. Sara, good morning. By my count, therea are three kinds of different interpretations of what Mike McQueary saw in the showers back in 2002, nine years ago, four if you count that e- mail leaked by one of his friends or acquaintance that has talked about how he made sure it stopped. So what is this latest interpretation of what happened in that shower according to Mike McQueary?

SARA GANIM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You're right, Christine. There are several variations and I think we have to remember that the grand jury report, that variation, is a summary of his testimony. However, you know, that is, presumably, very close to his handwritten statement, which he gave to police, which describes this very graphic scenario shower where he actually had seen Jerry Sandusky sodomizing a young boy. He goes into detail, explaining that the boy's hands were up against a wall.

The way he described it is in such detail that it is different from this very first account, what we reported on Sunday, that after what he saw, whatever he saw in that shower, we went to his father's house in State College seeking advice and there, a colleague of his father was there and sat with him and heard what is presumably Mike McQueary's very first account, very first time telling what he saw in that shower, and it's very different. The details are just incredibly different than that handwritten statement that he gave in 2010.

What he says is that he walked in, heard sex noises, which is something he mentioned in the other report, but then says the young boy peered around the shower stall, looked at him before a man's arm grabbed the boy around his waist, pulled him back, and seconds later Jerry Sandusky left in a towel. So this witness, this doctor, also says that he asked Mike McQueary several times, what did you see? And several times Mike McQueary said, I didn't see anything.

ROMANS: So the question is, what was it that he didn't or did see and how shocked was this man who was walking into his father's house by what he had just seen? And this was the first time he was telling someone presumably about this, and it was nine years ago. So all of this, I guess, Sara, what is the most important version of events? Is it these version of events or is it what Mike McQueary tells a judge and jury when and if there's a trial?

GANIM: Well, the thing is Christine, you know when we get to Friday, you know, this is going to be an issue on Tuesday, at Jerry Sandusky's preliminary hearing, but there are several cases against Jerry Sandusky. The key, when we get to Friday, we have a hearing for Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, the two Penn State officials charged with perjury. And they're charged with perjury because the grand jury believed Mike McQueary over them.

And so this is going to be, I would assume, a big deal on Friday. And, yes, you're correct. What Mike McQueary tells the judge matters. However, the defense will --

ROMANS: Defense will try --

GANIM: -- wet this go. And you know, when I talked to the attorneys over the weekend they said, you know, if this is true, the charges should be dismissed.

ROMANS: The attorneys for Schultz and Curley?

GANIM: Right. Correct.

ROMANS: Thanks so much, Sara Ganim, CNN contributor and crime reporter at the "Patriot News."

VELSHI: H was looked at as one of the so called good guys in Major League Baseball. Now reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun is fighting reports that he failed a drug test. ESPN says Braun tested positive for high levels of testosterone during the Milwaukee Brewers' playoff run, and that could indicate the use of performance enhancing drugs. Braun faces a 50-game suspension next season if it is confirmed. He recently signed a new deal that will pay him $150 million through 2020. That's not the biggest deal out there, believe it or not. His spokesperson said he will ultimately be proved innocent of the allegations.

ROMANS: Tell me that you didn't just shed a tear. Right? Tell me you didn't? Because I know did you. CNN paying tribute to 10 totally inspiring men and women and announced its hero of the year last night. A.J. Hammer has the highlights for us.


A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Laughter, tears, standing ovations. It was a night of emotion and inspiration at Hollywood's famed Shrine Auditorium.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360": Welcome to "CNN Heroes, an All Star Tribute."

HAMMER: Selected from more than 10,000 nominations, 10 remarkable men and women were honored for their extraordinary work, like the wife of a fallen soldier who made it her mission no military widow would feel alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Michael.


HAMMER: An American midwife who moved to Indonesia to run a free clinic for at-risk mothers, a former refugee who brings free recycled soap to needy communities around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And who knows, you might help save a life.

HAMMER: A paralyzed man who brings the gift of mobility to others in need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing better than to serve god and help others.

HAMMER: And a grandmother from Chicago who takes kids off the street and gives them a chance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, don't give up on our young people.

HAMMER: And with the help of some of Hollywood's brightest, young star, CNN also honored three young wonders. Their battle for clean water and fight again hunger and homelessness proves that heroism has no age limits.

From the first moments on the red carpet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are real celebrities to me. These are the heroes.

HAMMER: To the final announcement of the night.

COOPER: The 2011 CNN Hero of the year is Robin Lim.

HAMMER: A global spotlight shined a light on 10 remarkable heroes, everyday people with big hearts and rock-solid determination for changing the world.

A.J. Hammer, CNN, Los Angeles.


VELSHI: I could never keep it together during that. I think it's so great.

ROMANS: And to think there were hundreds more who CNN talked to and profiled over the year really trying to change their neighborhood and the world one piece at a time. CNN's hero of the year American Robin Lim, she's helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy.

VELSHI: And it was something very personal to hear.

ROMANS: I know. She became a midwife after her own sister and her sister's baby died from complications during childbirth several years ago. She took that experience and event and doesn't want any other - -- she stood up. And 981 women die every day, because of preventable complications in pregnancy. and she wants to change that.

VELSHI: Incredible.

Still to come this morning, another tragedy at Virginia Tech reigniting the debate over the nation's gun laws. It's something that's become a factor in the 2012 presidential race. Are lax gun laws the real problem or is allowing gun on campus the answer?

Former dictator Manuel Noriega back in Panama good morning, but he won't be seeing much of his homeland. You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. It's 14 minutes after the hour.


VELSHI: Welcome back.

A second tragedy on the campus of Virginia Tech University. The apparent murder/suicide that claimed the life of an officer with five children is re-igniting the debate over the nation's gun laws. Are laxed gun laws the real problem here?

Well, joining us now is Philip Van Cleave. He's the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. It's a guns rights group that supports having concealed weapons on campus.

Philip, welcome to the show. Thank you for being with us this morning.


VELSHI: It does seem somewhat counterintuitive that in -- in the wake of this type of shooting you'd be suggesting that -- that guns should be allowed on campus. So for those who don't understand that, tell us what -- what your case is?

VAN CLEAVE: OK. Sure. A gun is a self-defense tool. It's simply something that's used to protect yourself. It's not either good or bad in and of itself, but it's who uses it or carries it. And we believe that students, faculty, staff and guests that have concealed carry permits who carry everywhere else they go should also be allowed to carry on campus. A campus is nothing but a bunch of buildings.

VELSHI: But in this case -- and I know that you've held this position for a while. But what about a case where the person who's shot had a gun? In this case it was a police officer.

VAN CLEAVE: Well, yes. A gun is not a guarantee that nothing could happen to you, and that's, you know, you still -- somebody could sneak up on somebody, but most crimes don't happen that way. Usually, there's some kind of an altercation or an indication that something's going to go down ahead of time. That was very unusual.

VELSHI: Let's talk about this. And a number of colleges have -- have taken up this debate on their own irrespective of what the state will allow.

Virginia Tech has made a decision that they don't want to have guns on campus, but a former Virginia Tech professor, Roland Lazenby, has said this, and I want you listen to what he said. He said, "Schools are often places highly charged with emotion and conflict. Only an idiot could posit that guns would somehow enhance the atmosphere."

What do you -- what do you think about that?

VAN CLEAVE: Well, he's not speaking about reality, you know? I went to college. Not everybody's -- not everybody's like that at all. I've been to these colleges. We've been having protests, going to different colleges to bring awareness to this. Nicest people you'd ever want to meet there.

Blue Ridge Community College here in Virginia allowed carrying for faculty, staffs, and students. They have no problem. Zero.

Same thing in Utah. Every university and college in Utah allows to carry, no problems. And practice where it's allowed, it's not an issue. The kinds of people that get permits are not the kinds that would be drunkards or druggies. They couldn't apply anyhow even so (INAUDIBLE).

VELSHI: But let me ask you about this. Most groups like yours who -- who do posit the availability of -- availability (ph) of gun and gun rights usually are associated with real responsibility in owning a gun, right? You generally believe that there should be a sense of responsibility for people who own guns so that they don't discharge accidentally, so they don't get lost.

Wouldn't you argue that there are more people on a university campus who might not have developed that level of responsibility just yet? They do go out on benders overnight. They do drink more than the -- than the general population does. Things could get lost. More people share a room. Does that affect your thinking about guns on campuses?

VAN CLEAVE: No, because that's not the kind of person. Irresponsible people aren't the kind to get permits. There are -- there are seven million permit holders in America and it is the most law-abiding slice of our segment -- a segment of our population.

VELSHI: Well, let me just ask you. I hear what you're saying. But here's my point, there's nothing when applying to get a permit that would suggest -- that would put you out of the running because you're an irresponsible student. Am I right?

VAN CLEAVE: That's true, but --

VELSHI: Go ahead.

VAN CLEAVE: -- but you don't need a permit to carry a gun.

VELSHI: Right.

VAN CLEAVE: You do understand that? Anybody, any criminal, anybody can put on a gun and carry it.

VELSHI: So how are you saying that irresponsible people can't get a gun? Because if you don't need a permit or when you got to fill out the form when you buy a gun, so they do the immediate check on you, there's nothing to say, there's nothing on the form that's suggesting you're responsible or not responsible? VAN CLEAVE: Buying a gun has got nothing to do with carrying one. We're talking about people who have a concealed carry permit --

VELSHI: Right.

VAN CLEAVE: -- being allowed by the university. Criminals are going to carry anyhow. The university doesn't have to allow them.

VELSHI: Right.

VAN CLEAVE: So there's a difference between owning a gun and carrying a gun.

VELSHI: And is there something in getting a concealed carry permit that would distinguish between you being a generally responsible person or not?

VAN CLEAVE: Well, you know, if you have any kind of record of drunkenness, getting in fights, or any kind of arrests, are that -- those are all disqualifiers.

VELSHI: Right. But arguably, a bunch of people who carry on a permissive way on a campus are not going to have records for doing that, right? Because it just -- it just kind of exists. You drink more than do you in -- in normal life. So that doesn't trouble you at all? I'm not trying to make your case, but that doesn't bother you?

VAN CLEAVE: No, no. It does not. Like I say, universities where they've done this it's not been an issue. So in practice as opposed to theory we're finding that it works just fine, as I would expect it would.

VELSHI: Finally, whose decision should it be whether -- whether guns are carried on campus? Whether guns are allowed on campus? Shouldn't that be up to the universities many of which have made the decision that they don't want carry permits on their campus or should that be a state decision?

VAN CLEAVE: It should be a state decision. In Virginia, we have preemption at all of our -- all of our local governments have preempted. They can't pass any gun control without the permission of the General Assembly. We think it's a logical step. In fact, our Attorney General agrees with this that the logical step is to apply to universities as well as all-state agencies that they, too, are preempted unless the General Assembly steps in and says you are allowed gun control of a certain type.

VELSHI: Philip, great to have you here. Thank you for joining us. I appreciate you taking the extra time to clarify that -- that discussion we're having.

Philip Van Cleave is the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

VAN CLEAVE: Thank you. VELSHI: We're doing a quick break.

It's 40 -- well, what is it now? It's about 23 minutes after the hour. A little ahead of myself in a different time zone. We'll be right back with more AMERICAN MORNING.


ROMANS: "Minding Your Business" this morning.

Most Asian markets advancing overnight. The debt crisis treaty by many European countries triggering some optimism. U.S. markets open in about two hours coming off a very strong session Friday with the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all posting sharp gains.

American investors -- investors here will be watching closely Europe today. No official meetings are planned this week after a majority of eurozone member struck that deal for a new treaty to save the euro. Now, Britain is rejecting it, though, leaving some investors on edge, and we still have concerns about global growth to grapple with as well.

Now, the judge overseeing MF Global's bankruptcy clearing the way for some customers to get their money back. He approved releasing roughly $2 billion more in frozen funds to customers of the firm. This still doesn't include the $1.2 billion that MF Global lost before it collapsed. This is money owed to banks, other funds, even farmers.

Are young people better off today than their parents worth 30 years ago? Guess what? That depends on their gender. A new study says young women today earn about $1.17 for every $1 their mom earned in the 1980s, while young men today are earning about 10 cents an hour less than their fathers did 30 years ago. A very big shift happening in American families' net worth.

All right. Spreading Christmas cheer, it's a very secret, very generous Santa. Some Kmarts in Michigan and California have been receiving anonymous donations which are used to pay off layaways. One secret Santa in Detroit even donated $2,000 that covered 14 different layaways.

AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after a quick break.


ROMANS: All right, top stories, Ali told me it's 12-12-11.

VELSHI: You have one more year before the world ends.

ROMANS: OK, until then, we've got an election to get through. President Obama accused Republicans of playing politics with the economic crisis last night in a "60 Minutes" interview. The president saying the GOP decided their best bet was to do nothing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think the Republicans made a different calculation, which was, you know what? We really screwed up the economy. Obama seems popular.

Our best bet is to stand on the sidelines because we think the economy's going to get worse and at some point, just blame him. So we haven't gotten the kind of engagement from them that I would have liked.


VELSHI: More on that this half hour. Frontrunner Newt Gingrich coming under attack in this weekend's GOP Iowa debate.

His opponents questioning his conservative credentials challenging his comment that the Palestinians are, quote, "invented people" and wondering whether he can be trusted after admitting to infidelity.

And it's one of the country's largest sports youth group's now police -- Memphis police are investigating sex abuse claims against the Amateur Athletic Union's former president Robert Dodd.

In an ESPN interview, two former basketball players say Dodd molested them when they were young teens in the '80s. The AAU says it alerted police last week and even turned over the name of a third accuser. The AAU dismissed Dodd last month.

ROMANS: All right, Ali, moving on to the Penn State sex scandal. Former football coach Jerry Sandusky will be forced to face his accusers in court for the first time tomorrow.

He's charged with more than 50 counts of sexual assault. Some of the alleged victims prepared to detail dramatic accounts of rape and molestation.

Here to weigh in on what we can expect in the courtroom, CNN legal analyst, Paul. Paul, what can we expect? The preliminary hearing is tomorrow. What can we expect from that hearing?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's going to be a very, very interesting development in the case because under Pennsylvania law, at this hearing.

You basically have to make out what's called a prima facie case, which means basic evidence has to be presented to a judge and the judge has to look at it and say if the evidence were believed a conviction at trial.

So we're not looking at a full trial, but looking at sort of a bare bones presentation. Now, that means potentially all of the victims, the alleged victims, might come into court and actually testify and be subject to cross-examination.

So we're going to see for the first time a mini trial with all of the major characters in a courtroom being questioned. It's going to be a very, very interesting day.

ROMANS: How -- how important is it that so many of these young men will be standing up in front of that judge? What -- I mean, that's pretty -- pretty big thing for the defense to overcome?

CALLAN: Well, I think you have to remember with respect to preliminary hearings, defendants don't expect to win. They really -- he doesn't -- Sandusky's attorney doesn't think the thing will get thrown out.

There's an avalanche of claims against him. Even if only one of these kids is believed, that's a serious case. If only one of the ten victims survive the hearing and went forward to trial, even that would be serious.

But what his attorney is going to see is how strong is the case, how detailed are these stories? Can a case really be won at the time of trial when the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt?

ROMANS: Now there's another twist to this. Mike McQueary, so he is the assistant coach, the Penn State assistant coach in 2002, nine years ago walked into the showers in the football building and saw something.

We've seen three, by my count, maybe four different versions now of what we saw. There's a family friend, a doctor who was at the house. His father's house right after he saw whatever he saw who says he saw something a little different than what he told the grand jury. The grand jury summary says. How important is that to the cases against the two administrators not necessarily the Sandusky, but the two administrators?

CALLAN: The McQueary testimony is really critical in that case. Now you have Schultz and Curley, the administrators, and the claim against them is among other things that they committed perjury when they testified before the grand jury.

The grand jury believed that McQueary's version was accurate and theirs was not. Now we have McQueary saying one thing in a written statement that he gave in 2010, I think.

ROMANS: Right.

CALLAN: I'm sorry, 2008. I'm mixing my years up, but it was about six years post-incident. And in that statement he says he actually witnessed a sodomy incident in the shower.

Earlier in time, someone who was at his house when he was reporting this to his father, a doctor, from the area, said, no. He never said that. He said he just saw them, something unusual going on.

ROMANS: He was trying to figure out what he saw.

CALLAN: Yes, he heard bad sounds. ROMANS: For something like this, for someone to witness something like this, is it unusual for there to be -- we haven't had a trial yet. A few different kinds of iterations of what he saw out there over a nine-year period of talking about this?

CALLAN: No. That's not unusual, but it's very difficult to prove perjury. Perjury is a charge that requires precision in the use of words, and let me throw one other thing into the mix on a perjury case.

Remember, there's another claim out there. McQueary says he reported this to the local police. The town police and they both say no reports from him. So McQueary's credibility is really very shaky. So I've got my doubts about whether that perjury case will survive.

ROMANS: Let me ask you about the credibility of Dottie Sandusky, the wife of Jerry Sandusky. There was a claim that came up from a new victim this week who said that he was crying for help from the basement, while he's being attacked by Jerry Sandusky.

And Dottie Sandusky said in a statement, I'm angry about these false accusations of such a terrible incident ever occurring in my home. No child visiting our home was forced to state in our basement.

How common is it for spouses to get dragged into this sort of thing and could she face -- could she somehow face some kind of liability if indeed that happened?

CALLAN: Well, there's nothing common about any aspect of this case.

ROMANS: You're right.

CALLAN: You know, with pedophiles, and a married pedophile --

ROMANS: It's hard for the spouse to imagine what's happening?

CALLAN: Well, let's cut to the chase here. I mean, if it's true that this was going on for years and there was a bedroom in the basement where he was keeping these kids, where they were being fed sandwiches that she made and there were screams emanating from the basement.

There's a case to be made against her as aiding and abetting in misconduct. Now I'm not saying obviously -- prosecutors haven't made that case out yet, but we'll hear testimony from many, many victims as this thing goes on.

I would rule out the possibility somebody's going to say she may have some involvement. We have to watch carefully as this develops.

ROMANS: Would she ever testify because they're married, but in cases like this, the wife can be compelled to testify? CALLAN: Well, yes, it's unusual in Pennsylvania. Most states spousal privilege, you can't force a wife to testify against a husband.

But in Pennsylvania, where it's a serious crime involving sex abuse, the spousal privilege does not apply. She can be forced to testify against her husband in Pennsylvania.

You know something, at some point, prosecutors may go to her and say we need your testimony, you better testify or you're looking at liability yourself.

ROMANS: Paul Callan, I mean, so many twists and turns in a preliminary hearing this week. Thank you so much,Paul. -- Ali.

VELSHI: Christine, still to come this morning, just three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses. How this weekend's GOP debate may have redefined the race.

And it's never too late to follow your dreams. Coming up, an inspiring story of two out of work baby boomers overcoming failure and finding the recipe for success. You're going to love this story as much as I did. It is 38 minutes after the hour.


VELSHI: Welcome back. If you missed this weekend's Republican debate in Iowa, you missed the GOP field ganging up on the frontrunner, the new front-runner, Newt Gingrich.

Mitt Romney challenging the former House speaker on his controversial comments about the Palestinian people. You'll recall Gingrich called them an invented people. Rick Perry questioning just how trustworthy a candidate can be if he's cheated on his wife.

So where does the race go from here with just three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses, the important Iowa caucuses? Let's ask CNN contributor, David Frum. He's a former speechwriter for President Bush. Penny Nance, she's the president and CEO of Concerned Women for America.

Welcome to both of you. Thank you for being with us.


VELSHI: David, let's start with you. This is Newt Gingrich's first debate performance since he became the frontrunner and a lot of new polls indicate that he's holding that lead quite well. How do you think he did?

DAVID FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He did well. You could see Governor Romney clearly pondering how to deal with this new challenger. Up until now, the not mitt of the moment has always been someone, Romney could pretty effortlessly dominate in a debate format.

Rick Perry, Herman Cain, a lot of very different floor of the building Mitt Romney is on than those two individuals, but with Newt Gingrich, Romney hasn't counted somebody who's as nimble as he is and in some ways nimbler.

You could see the discomfort, the nervous laughter of the Romney performance as he confronted this new challenge, which he hasn't yet figured out how to solve.

VELSHI: Wouldn't you be steamed if you were Mitt Romney? Like every time somebody sort of implodes in front of you somebody else ends up taking the lead?

Penny, you and a group of conservative leaders met with Newt Gingrich last Wednesday. How do you feel that went? What did you learn, what do you think of him?

PENNY NANCE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: You know, I give him credit. He stood there for two hours and took questions on any subject matter. Nothing was off bounds, and replied graciously and thoughtfully to everyone.

You know, I think people left the room with different feelings, but I think that it did move the ball down the field for him. You know, it's important, the issues that he's dealing with, that the American people are grappling with, are key for American women.

Women have carried every presidential election since 1964. They've swung in the last election for Republicans for the first time in 30 years, and conservative women are really having to look at all of this.

Having to look at not only fidelity to your marriage, fidelity in the constitution, fidelity to conservative principles, and it's very important process.

VELSHI: How do you feel he handled that fidelity question? He has admitted to marital infidelity in the past. It came up -- the discussion came up. How do you think he handled that?

NANCE: And it came up in the meeting that I was in. You know, he did I think, a good job of expressing his own -- his own repentance. The fact that, like other Christians, I believe in the idea of redemption and grace and so that is part of our thought process.

That's part of the thought process for people in Iowa, for Christians in Iowa. If we believe in grace for ourselves, we have to believe in it for our leaders, but also the key issue is repentance. And is Newt a different man and they have to work through that, and that is what is going on right now.

VELSHI: And he certainly made that point last night, to say, judge me on who I am now as oppose to who I was then.

Let me ask you, David. Let's go back to Mitt Romney for a second. There was a dispute between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry about something that was in -- that Rick Perry said was in Mitt Romney's book, and in a later edition was taken out, having to do with health care. They went back and forth about this. Listen to how it went down.




-- 10,000 bucks.


ROMNEY: $10,000 bet?

GOV. RICK PERRY, (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not in the betting business, but --



VELSHI: $10,000 bet. I can see -- Penny, I can see you shaking your head.

David, what do you --


NANCE: Oh, my -- that was a huge gaffe.

VELSHI: What do you think, David? It seemed a little out of touch. Who makes a $10,000 bet?

FRUM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & EDITOR, FRUMFORUM.COM: Yes, that was also -- I agree with Penny. I wouldn't even call it a gaffe. What you have there? Romney has, at various moments, tried to bully Rick Perry, a man of whom he obviously doesn't have a lot of respect. We've seen it before. And in the past, he's bullied him with his superior intellect. That's inbounds. In this case, he was bullying him with his superior money. And it's -- maybe interesting to be reminded of the fact that Romney regards $10,000 as not a lot of money, but he clearly regards it as a club. He knows that to Rick Perry, $10,000 is a lot of money.

And, you know, this party has gotten to some degree removed from the concerns and attitudes of everyday working Americans. But that revelation of how much you think $10,000 is --

VELSHI: Right.

FRUM: -- that was a pretty far drift.

VELSHI: Penny, you didn't like the idea that these kinds of bets go down? You just didn't like that?

NANCE: My point was that culturally he was way off message on that. The good people, the good Baptists of Iowa don't bet. And, by the way, Rick Perry knew that. He comes from Texas. He gave exactly the right answer. So I cringed when I saw that on a number of levels, not just the fact that $10,000, some people barely make that a year. Besides the amazing amount of money he was trying to bet, the fact that he was trying to bet it all just was -- way off.

VELSHI: You found distasteful.


VELSHI: David, let's talk about Michele Bachmann for a second. She comes out of these things quite well. She usually comes up with something. This time, Newt-Romney. She piled the two front- runners together as being not the conservatives and not the trusted ones as it were.

Let's listen for a second to Michele Bachmann talking about Newt-Romney.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R), MINNESOTA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at Newt-Romney, they were for Obama-care 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: What do you think, David? Did that do anything for Michele Bachmann or did it hurt Newt-Romney?

FRUM: Whenever I hear Michele Bachmann talk in these debates, I cannot get past her endless reiteration of the completely false claim that 47 percent of Americans don't pay taxes. We're talking about removing the Republican Party from concerns of everyday people, to say to half the country that the payroll tax, the most important tax for most people, that that tax doesn't count, that if you pay excise taxes on plates and glasses and cheap running shoes, you're not paying taxes. If you're paying your share of the corporate income tax through the higher prices you pay at the store, that you're not paying taxes. It's just writing off half the country as dependents who really are actually paying a very heavy load. And she --


VELSHI: You're giving Penny a pained look on her face at the moment.


I know we're almost out of time, but I've got to -- what is that, Penny?

NANCE: Well, I've just got to say, I think Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum did a great job making the case that they have been principled conservatives, consistent conservatives throughout their career. And I thought they both did a -- had a great showing the other night. And I just would hope that Rick's name I.D. would get a little higher so he could actually catch some wind in his sails before it's too late.

VELSHI: He's hasn't -- he hasn't caught any wind this entire race.

NANCE: And he's not had the same media exposure as other people. He's never gotten above 50 percent in name I.D. and I think it's hurt him. But Michele made some great points. What she was talking was the personal federal until tax.

And you know that, David.

FRUM: I know that. I know that was deliberately misleading for her to use those numbers in that way.

VELSHI: All right.

FRUM: Rick Santorum, by the way, has talked more about the concerns of middle-class Americans. I give him credit for that.

VELSHI: Well, we're a month away from that very decisive primary in Iowa.

Good to talk to both of you.

Thanks very much, David Frum, CNN contributor, former speechwriter for President George W. bush. He's the editor of the You can go there to see a lot of his writer.

And Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for American.

Thank you both.

NANCE: Thank you.

ROMANS: Here's a good story for you in a bad economy. Two baby boomers press the reboot buttons on their lives and careers. Both out of work, they turn to their love of food and they find sweet and savory success.

Sorry, but that's what it is.


It all starts with a saucepan on this week's "Smart Is the New Rich."


ROMANS (voice-over): Now a livelihood for Rid Francisco and Michael Dernoga.

FRANCISCO: Really, really good.

ROMANS: Almost two years ago the friend and next-door neighbors cooked up Lizbeth Lane Cuisines. It's a line of all- natural, gluten-free simmer cooking sauces.

MICHAEL DERNOGA, LIZBETH LANE CUISINES: These are sauces that we make on a regular basis.

ROMANS: In 2008, Rig's advertising business tanked.

FRANCISCO: When the phone stopped ringing, I knew I had to do something quick.

ROMANS: When Michael lost his job in health care management, he found inspiration from his 12-year-old daughter.

DERNOGA: She said, so, Dad, what is to you really like to do? And out of those conversations, was, you know, my love of food.

ROMANS: Neighbors and foodies, together with 60 years of work experience, they named their new company, after the street where it all began.

DERNOGA: Being two 50-something-year-old guys, we're not afraid to admit that we don't know.

FRANCISCO: It was exciting but it was also a little terrifying because of the age. At the time, I was 58 years old. And to reinvent yourself at that age is a pretty drastic thing to do. But I knew if we stuck with it, that it had a possibility of really working.

ROMANS: Rid does the design, ads and labels. Michael handles operations.

DERNOGA: I'm sort of the suit, and Rid is kind of this creative guy.

ROMANS: And it is about profit and principle. They ship their sauce using handicrafters. It is non-profit organization that gives jobs to people with disabilities and other employment barriers.

Rid's stepson, Rob, works there.

FRANCISCO: There are a lot of parents out there who have special needs children, who lay awake at night wondering, when he gets out of school, what are we going to do with him? And this -- a place like handicrafters really gives them a wonderful opportunity to have a responsible nine-to-five job.

ROMANS: Now with 50 stores in 16 states, their boomer reboot is working.

FRANCISCO: If we had started this right out of college or, you know, in our late 20s or early 30s, it probably would have been much tougher.

DERNOGA: It's so totally different than a nine-to-five job. I've done both and I know where I want to be, and I'm where I want to be.


ROMANS: A total career transformation.

VELSHI: That's great.

ROMANS: And what I love about this story, or it's really two stories, it's two boomers who rebooted after just, you know, being chewed up and spit out by the financial cries, and the recession that followed.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: Using 60 years of that experience to do this new venture, and they are doing a great job, right?

VELSHI: And they are giving these jobs to people who would otherwise would have difficulty. A lot of these --

ROMANS: Wouldn't be able to get work experience.

VELSHI: That's right.

ROMANS: So they are also helping other people fill their resume, especially in this economy, who normally wouldn't be able to get that experience. On two fronts, it's just a really great story.

VELSHI: And the sauce is good.

ROMANS: Yes, it's good.

VELSHI: All right. Still to come this morning, alcohol, drug use, and depression all on the rise for students entering high school. We'll tell you what you can do to safeguard your children.

It's 52 minutes after the hour.


VELSHI: High school. It can be an exciting time in a teenager's life, but it can be a scary one.

ROMANS: Wait, because in high school you think that the whole world -- you never see in the rearview mirror or ahead.

VELSHI: Well, that's exactly right.

ROMANS: You only see that moment.

VELSHI: And the increasing pressures of drinking and drugs and the incidence of depression --

ROMANS: Depression.

VELSHI: -- it's a problem for high school students, especially those in rural areas, because the programs and resources that you are so familiar with in urban areas aren't as readily available.

ROMANS: But a new study says there's a way to keep rural teens happy and healthy.

And our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is live in Atlanta for us.

Good morning.

Elizabeth, what do parents need to know?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, parents of kids anywhere need to know this information. But it's interesting to me that the drug abuse rates are actually highest, according to several studies, in rural areas, whether you're looking at rural New York or Missouri or South Carolina.

And so a bunch of educators got together and said, what are we going to do about this? So they looked at 500 families. These are African-American families in rural Georgia. And what they found is that when they did a special program with them, they got drug abuse rates down 47 percent. And really, it's not -- there's no genius here in what they did. They just involved parents, which is huge. They involved parents. And they also talked to the kids about racial discrimination and what to do about it. And that actually had an effect on their drug abuse rates.

VELSHI: Really? Like you said, it sounds -- obviously, these drug abuse rates in rural America are on the increase, including high school students. What tactics could parents benefit from across the board?

COHEN: A 47 percent decrease is big. So all of us want to know, what did they do that I can do with my kids? First of all, you want to start the conversation early. In this study, they started it early. It is never too young really to talk about drug abuse. And you want to use different kinds of lessons depending upon the age.

The second thing is that you want to be realistic. You want to think, what situation is my child is going to find himself or herself in that I can give him instructions on how get out of a bad situation, how to not use drugs.

If you go to and see more information on how to keep your kid drug free.

VELSHI: Elizabeth, thank you for that.

ROMANS: Thank you, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

VELSHI: Still to come, Newt Gingrich sizzling in the south. A new poll gives him a double-digit lead in Florida and South Carolina. But can he carry those states if he were running against President Obama?

ROMANS: And we're talking to the makers of everyone's favorite sweet treat. Our ice cream heroes, Ben and Jerry, are joining us. They're dishing out support for Occupy Wall Street.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. It's 58 minutes after the hour.