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American Morning

Four Dead After Army Choppers Crash; Downed Drone Now "Iranian Asset"; Sandusky To Face Accusers In Court; Gingrich Surging Ahead In Iowa; The Non-Debate Debate; Payroll Tax Cut Vote; Supreme Court Take Arizona Immigration Case; Corzine Returns To Washington; Proposed Building Too Much Like 9/11?; N.J. Nets Owner to Challenge Putin; Sandusky to Face Accusers in Court; Interview with Third Party Presidential Candidate Rocky Anderson; Drone: Property Of Iran; Sandusky To Face Accusers In Court; Modern Warfare 3 Fastest To $1 Billion

Aired December 13, 2011 - 06:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning. Four soldiers are dead after two Army choppers crash during a training exercise.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Jerry Sandusky facing his accusers today. The men set to describe painful memories of how the ex-Penn State coach allegedly abused them when they were children.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And finders keepers. New overnight Iran commenting on a stealth U.S. drone that literally fell into its hands on this AMERICAN MORNING.

COSTELLO: And good morning to you. It is Tuesday, December 13th. I feel like it's a homecoming.

VELSHI: It's just been long time since the three of us have been together. Good to see you both.

As usual here at CNN, it is a busy, busy news morning. In fact, we have breaking news for you right now. Four soldiers are dead after two Army choppers went down during a training exercise.

It happened at joint base Lewis-McChord in Washington State. Crash investigators are trying to find out what went wrong right now. CNN's Patrick Oppman is live on the phone near the crash site. Good morning, Patrick. What do we know?

PATRICK OPPMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Good morning, Ali. Just to set the scene a little bit. I'm watching the lights right now of those recovery teams that have been looking throughout the night to go in with the grim task of recovering those bodies of the four aviators that lost their lives.

Still don't know what went wrong. At about 11:00 p.m. Eastern last night, sometime after 11:00 p.m., two helicopters crashed killing everybody aboard both helicopters. These are small observation helicopters, Ali, really the eyes and ears of what's on the ground.

Flying maneuvers over a training area at joint base Lewis- McChord when this crash took place. It will probably be most of the day before they can take advantage of the daylight and recover the bodies and start the, really, arduous task, figure out happened here.

This is such a busy base, Ali, covering the largest final group of soldiers that is coming back from Iraq at the same time that there's a whole movement at this base to get soldiers to Afghanistan on other deployments. So just imagine what this news today is going to be affecting across this very active base.

VELSHI: No kidding. All right, Patrick, keep us posted as we get more information on what may have caused these helicopters to crash. Patrick Oppman for us now covering the story.

ROMANS: All right, the U.S. wants it back, but Iran now says the American espionage drone that went down in Iranian territory is theirs.

It's Tehran's response to a request by President Obama for them to return it. Iran's military has been poring over the spy drone for intelligence data. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, he considers it a gift.


MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): The North Americans at best have decided to give us a spy plane. Apparently, we have control of this plane. Those who have been in control of this plane surely will analyze the plane's system.

Furthermore, the systems of Iran are so advanced also, like the systems of this plane, and the unpiloted planes, we have made many advances, much progress, and now we have the spy plane.


ROMANS: Meantime, former Vice President Dick Cheney is weighing in on the down drone telling CNN's Erin Burnett, the president's response was a mistake.


DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The right response to that would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down and destroy it. You could do that from the air. You could do that with a quick air strike and in effect make it impossible for them to benefit from having captured that drone.


ROMANS: Cheney says if Iran sends it back at all it will be in pieces after getting all the intelligence they can out of it.

COSTELLO: Jerry Sandusky will face his accusers in court today. They'll describe the alleged sexual abuse they suffered years ago at the hands of the former Penn State coach.

The judge will decide whether there's enough evidence to try Sandusky on more than 50 charges related to the molestation of little boys.

Susan Candiotti live outside the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Susan, how many alleged victims do we expect in court today to take the stand?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Carol, it's impossible to say at this time. We know that there are ten victims referred to in that grand jury report and that prosecutors are aware of at least eight of them.

Look, counting up the numbers, there could be perhaps three to five victims who are able to take the stand today. Alleged victims, to tell their story, and this is going to be fascinating.

Because for the first time, we will hear likely in excruciating detail exactly what they say happened to them, and as you indicated, they'll have to do this facing Jerry Sandusky for the very first time.

But it's not necessary for the prosecutors necessarily to put all of the alleged victims on the stand. Instead, they could also introduce their statements to police, for example.

It's impossible to say how long this hearing will take. It could be just today. It could even last until tomorrow.

COSTELLO: So some of these alleged victims will take the stand and testify. Will they be cross-examined, so to speak, by Sandusky's attorney?

CANDIOTTI: Absolutely. And imagine, this is the first time that they also get to get a preview, a mini-preview of what kind of evidence prosecutors say they have against Jerry Sandusky. So, yes, these alleged victims will face, likely, a tough cross-examination by Sandusky's lawyer.

But by court rules, they're not -- he is not allowed to try to impeach them at this stage of the proceeding. Remember, the prosecutors only have to put on enough evidence to convince a judge that, one, that a crime occurred, and that, two, Jerry Sandusky may be the person responsible in order for a trial to take place.

COSTELLO: So Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, it's a tiny town, 6,200 people live there and suddenly it's this huge center of attention. How many reporters are there with you at the courthouse?

CANDIOTTI: Well, hundreds of them. Even at this early hour, we're seeing people come in. This has been a huge disruption to this town. You can imagine. They've had to close off streets in order to accommodate all the extra parking that is necessary for all the reporters and journalists that have come to town.

But they've done a very good job. Everyone has been very welcoming so far, but we are hearing from some residents who are worried about the impression that the world might have about their town, even though it is just the courthouse that is home to this preliminary hearing, and possibly this trial as well. It's a beautiful town.

It looks great at this hour, too, with all the twinkling lights out for the holiday, historic courthouse. And it is, as you said, going to be in the spotlight all day today.

COSTELLO: Susan Candiotti reporting live from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania this morning. Thanks, Susan.

VELSHI: Going to politics now with three weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses. The numbers are looking very good for Newt Gingrich. Take a look at two brand new polls.

Gingrich opening up a five-point lead over Mitt Romney and Ron Paul according to the American Research Group. You can see Ron Paul and Mitt Romney tied there at 17 percent. Gets better for Gingrich in the latest university of Iowa hawk eye poll.

The former House speaker surging to a 10-point lead over Romney and a 19-point cushion over Ron Paul. In this case, Bachmann comes in next and the last poll was Perry.

ROMANS: All right, Gingrich is trying to build on his momentum by closing ranks with Evangelical Christians. He has written a letter to a family leader, socially conservative group in Iowa promising to defend and strengthen the family and uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity. Gingrich has been married three times.

COSTELLO: Gingrich hit the pause button though on his rivalry with Mitt Romney and turns his attention to Jon Huntsman. The two candidates engaging in a one-on-one debate in New Hampshire and right from the start, things turned downright -- polite. I know. It's so weird, isn't it?

Jim Acosta, that is kind of strange. They were just two guys chatting?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. You know, Carol, it was billed as gentleman's conversation. It actually said that on our press passes at the debate yesterday here in Manchester, but let's not kid ourselves. For Newt Gingrich these days, the real fight is with Mitt Romney.


JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I agree with Newt completely.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I strongly concur with the governor.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Billed as a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate, Gingrich versus Huntsman was more a love fest. It was duty versus nice. It's so mild mannered, it got mind numbing for one candidate's own family.

HUNTSMAN: Well, I can see my daughter nodding off over there.

GINGRICH: She was nodding off.

ACOSTA: Still, Gingrich had time to add to his collection of provocative campaign moments on the subject of Iran.

GINGRICH: I believe we cannot allow them to have a nuclear weapon. Therefore, I believe we have to be for regime change. We are not going to tolerate an Iranian nuclear weapon.

ACOSTA: While Huntsman would not go that far.

HUNTSMAN: I would have to agree all options need to be on the table and the (INAUDIBLE) in Tehran need to know that all options are on the table and that there is zero ambiguity in terms of what we are prepared to do.

ACOSTA: Gingrich doubled down saying Israel's very survival depended on stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions.

GINGRICH: Am I going to take the risk of presiding over the second holocaust, which would mean virtually the end of Judaism in the planet.

ACOSTA: That kind of rhetoric might explain why new conservative talking former Vice President Dick Cheney fondly remembered Gingrich's time as speaker in an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett.

CHENEY: He was tenacious. He kept it up and kept it up and kept it up. Finally by '94, he's the newly elected speaker of the House of Representatives with a Republican majority. So I wouldn't underestimate him.

ACOSTA: But the one-on-one debate was no match for the fight between Gingrich and Mitt Romney who said the former speaker should give back some of the money he made advising housing giant, Freddie Mac.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe he should give that money back?


ACOSTA: But Gingrich was ready for that one saying Romney should try compensating people he downsized as the head of a private investment firm.

GINGRICH: If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees, then I would be glad to then listen to him.

ACOSTA: Romney told "Politico," their battle for the nomination could go on for months and called Gingrich the man to beat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Newt Gingrich the frontrunner in this race?

ROMNEY: He is right now.

ACOSTA: As for Huntsman versus Gingrich, the former speaker repeated his challenge to President Obama for their own series of Lincoln-Douglas debates. The moderator made a familiar wager it would never happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll bet you $10,000 he doesn't show up.


ACOSTA: Now, Gingrich and Huntsman have a mutual self-interest here in New Hampshire. If they could somehow deny Mitt Romney a victory in this crucial state, they could deal a serious blow to his candidacy perhaps even knock him out of this race for the GOP nomination.

That might explain why Mitt Romney told reporters yesterday that he may be going negative with advertising against Newt Gingrich in the coming days even added, Carol, there's no whining in politics -- Carol.

COSTELLO: No whining in politics, so will negative ads work in New Hampshire?

ACOSTA: You know, that remains to be seen. I don't know if they will, because you have to go back to 2008 and what happened here. You know, everybody talks about how Mitt Romney is the governor of a neighboring state.

He has a second home here in New Hampshire, but keep in mind, John McCain won this race in 2008. Mitt Romney went heavily negative against John McCain in that election, in that primary, and John McCain came out on top. So there is a risk involved there for Mitt Romney if he goes negative in a heavy fashion -- Carol.

COSTELLO: You want to place a $10,000 bet with me?

ACOSTA: I'm not a betting man, Carol, but -- how about a cup of coffee?

COSTELLO: Yes, you got it. Jim Acosta, thanks so much.

ACOSTA: You're just out of touch, Carol.


VELSHI: That's what it is. I'll bet him a cup of coffee, too. That's what I can afford.

All right, it's 12 minutes after the hour. Also making news this morning, Congress is scheduled to wrap up business for the year this Friday and still no agreement on extending that payroll tax cut.

Today House Republicans are scheduled to vote on their plan, which also includes a provision for that Keystone pipeline, something the Democrats said is a non-starter. Democrats want to pay for it with a millionaire's surtax.

ROMANS: The Supreme Court has decided to take the case involving Arizona's controversial immigration law. Federal court blocked key provisions of this law, which allowed police officers to check a person's immigration status during traffic stops.

The Obama administration says enforcing immigration laws is the federal government's job. The justices will hear arguments on Arizona's appeal in April with the ruling expected next summer.

COSTELLO: Former senator and New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine will once again testify about his bankrupt brokerage firm, MF Global, and more than $1 billion in customer money that remains missing.

If you remember last week, Corzine denied knowing where those funds were. He also stopped short of taking responsibility for the firm's failure.

ROMANS: There are farmers right now having to delay their farm decisions because they don't have their money back because of this bankruptcy.

VELSHI: Some kind of big, inside the world of financing, there are a lot of farmers who depends on them, ranchers, farmers, who really are out real money. Small farmers, though.

ROMANS: And there are equipment dealers who are out real money because they're not getting commitments to buy new tractors for the spring because the farmers are waiting to see if they'll get their money back.

So it really has some ramifications that go all the way from the top of corporate finance all the way down to the --

VELSHI: Down the table.

COSTELLO: And are there companies that really do not know where a huge load of money went?

VELSHI: Back in 2001, all those corporate scandals, Enron, Worldcom and then we put in this regulation fair disclosure, which said that a CEO has to sign off on everything goes under company. They cannot say they don't know where it went. So we'd like to think that they can't not know. I mean, this kind of stuff is --

ROMANS: There was a run on this bank, which is what it looks like. That there was a run. Investors were getting concerned about how much exposure this company had to Europe.

If there was a run, very well could have been -- the investigation is looking into whether someone, someone, inside that company was quickly trying to move money around to stop the bleeding and that's where it starts from there.

VELSHI: We're going to talk to Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow about this later on this morning. They're going to hold this testimony today and we'll see what happens.

All right, coming up ahead on AMERICAN MORNING, architects call it the cloud. Many 9/11 families say this building design looks too much like the cloud of debris that erupted from the twin towers. We'll tell you the firm's response.

ROMANS: Iran delivered a defiant response following an appeal by President Obama for Tehran to return the U.S. spy drone that fell into their hands.

COSTELLO: I want my drone back!

He's got billions in the endorsement of Nets head coach Avery Johnson, and NBA owner's plan to take on Vladimir Putin and his political machine in Russia.

It's 15 minutes past the hour.


VELSHI: Welcome back.

It was one of the most shocking sights in modern times. Thirteen hundred foot high twin towers coming down in a cloud of smoke and debris, which is why a group of Dutch architects are being totally blasted for planning a building that looks like this in South Korea.


VELSHI: Yes. The architects say they visualized puffy clouds in the skies, that's their words. Too many people on the right, left and center in America are saying this hits too close to home.

There they are on the left side of the screen, compared to the scene on that -

COSTELLO: Why would they put the clouds down?

VELSHI: I don't understand what that's about.

COSTELLO: They must have more (ph).

VELSHI: The architects insist they didn't see the connection during the entire three month planning process. Really (INAUDIBLE) building with clouds, which nobody has ever done and nobody in the room said, "Interesting. It kind of looks like an explosion or, you know, something like that."

The firm is apologizing for hurting anyone's feelings. Says it will not alter the design.

ROMANS: So are they going to build that building or that's just their design proposal for a building?

VELSHI: That's a good question.

COSTELLO: I think they're going to go ahead and build it. But what a strange architectural drawing.

VELSHI: Right.

COSTELLO: Why would you put the clouds down there in the middle of the building -

VELSHI: Right.

COSTELLO: -- that looked like smoke?

VELSHI: And I sort of get it if you never had any exposure to this, you might think, well, that's a really tall building, up in the clouds.

ROMANS: Up in the clouds.

VELSHI: You know, I don't know. I don't know.

COSTELLO: Or maybe we're being too sensitive, but I don't think so.

Here's something you don't hear every day - a story involving Russian politics and the New Jersey Nets. The team's fast-living billionaire owner - you want to pronounce his name?

VELSHI: Mikhail Prokhorov.

ROMANS: Prokhorov.

COSTELLO: Thank you.

VELSHI: Only did I have to do it a few times yesterday.

COSTELLO: -- says he will run against Vladimir Putin for president in March. Putin is currently Russia's prime minister and he's looking for a third term as president. But as you know, tens of thousands of Russians protested this weekend accusing Putin and his party of rigging parliamentary elections. So Prokhorov - did I get that right?


COSTELLO: Prokhorov is Russia's third richest man, so he can certainly afford to run and still have some dough left over for a cup of tea (INAUDIBLE).

ROMANS: Yes. Actually, in his native Russian, it sounds a lot awful like billionaire when you say his name.

VELSHI: That's right.

ROMANS: Funny how - that connection. Rob Marciano, good morning.

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. At least he didn't challenge him to a game of basketball.

VELSHI: Right,

MARCIANO: There might be a bit of an advantage there height- wise.

Good morning all three of you. A triple vision.

VELSHI: I know.

MARCIANO: It's been so long.

VELSHI: Nice to be back.

MARCIANO: Nice to have everybody back. Good morning, again, guys.

Hey, across the southwest, a storm still continues and now some of that moisture is ejecting in the plains. We'll see a little bit of problems as far as icy conditions across parts of Nebraska. Also, more rain across the Mid-south where really they don't need it anymore. It's been an incredible year for places like Louisville, Kentucky.

Spots in Arizona seeing some decent amount of snowfall with this system, and it's slowly turning towards out of the southwest but rain in Los Angeles still a threat today. But the East Coast, at least most spots east of the Mississippi will be not only dry but more mild. Temperatures for the most part will be over 40 degrees in many, many spots.

Los Angeles, San Diego, that's where you're going to see more in the way of showers and low clouds. So you'll some delays there. Phoenix as well because of that storm and St. Louis and Miami might see some delays, most of which to be below an hour.

As mentioned, temperature is going to be mild, 42 in Chicago; 45 degrees in New York City; 64 in Atlanta; and even 46 degrees as far north as Boston.

A little bit farther north than that, Manchester, New Hampshire, not really weather related, but certainly interesting video. A sinkhole developed because of a water main break in there, when all of this was breaking out, there was - there was a woman in that car passed and fell into the sinkhole and the sinkhole was filling up with water as this was going on. Firefighters had a pretty harrowing time getting her out, but all is well and they even got her bags. She was shopping.

VELSHI: You know, I think of the road under me. And I'm silly to think of that particularly in New York. But I think the road under me is solid. I think it's - they've tarred over what was once a dirt road. It's nothing but space underneath you in Manhattan, but that - whenever I see pictures like that, it's like sometimes you remember that road is just a little crust of - of tar.

MARCIANO: But it's a fair assumption that the road is going to hold as you pass along (ph).

VELSHI: That's the assumption I like to make.

COSTELLO: Well, the infrastructure underneath is so old, it burst -


COSTELLO: -- especially when you have warm weather.

VELSHI: Right.

COSTELLO: As you know, Rob Marciano, and then the pipes go -

MARCIANO: Thank goodness again for the firefighters. Back to you, guys.

VELSHI: That's right.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Rob. Rob, good to see you, man.

MARCIANO: All right. See you.

VELSHI: All right. Coming up, we're going to show you the emotional apologies of four University of Cincinnati basketball players involved in this weekend's vicious on-court fight. Did you see this?

COSTELLO: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

VELSHI: One of the men breaking down in tears. We'll show it to you when we come back.


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

U.S. stock futures pointing higher this morning after concerns the eurozone deal wouldn't do enough to address Europe's real financial problems. Pushed the Dow down yesterday, more than 162 points. The ratings agency Moody's also announced yesterday it will review ratings of all E.U. nations.

The Federal Reserve will no doubt be weighing the risk coming from Europe when it meets later today. Most economists and most analysts expect the Central Bank to hold off when it comes to announcing any new strategy to boost the economy. And economists are forecasting the Fed, well, keep interest rates close to zero percent as the Fed has already forecast.

AT&T putting its T-Mobile merger on hold. The wireless carrier has agreed to postpone an antitrust lawsuit that it needed to win in order to keep that merger alive. The Justice Department and the FCC both opposed that deal saying it would lead to higher cell phone bills and less competition for you and me.

General Motors is helping to restart production of its Chevy Cruze plant in Ohio as soon as possible. The plant shut down yesterday after noon because of what GM called a supplier issue. The Chevy Cruze is the second best selling small car in the American market.

With the unemployment rate at 8.6 percent, American workers will apparently go to great lengths to keep their jobs. According to a new survey by staffing company Randstad US, nearly a quarter of those questioned say they work longer hours, they'd give up their bonus and they'd accept a reduction in benefits just to keep their job, though only 16 percent would accept a pay cut in order to stay employed.

And speaking of working longer hour, several Macy's stores pulling all-nighters so you can finish your holiday shopping. The retailer says 14 of its stores - 14 of them are going to stay open for 83 hours straight leading up to Christmas Eve.

AMERICAN MORNING will be right back after the break.


COSTELLO: The accused serial child molester Jerry Sandusky is back in court today. This time sitting across from his accusers and the colleague who told the grand jury he saw what happened in that shower on this AMERICAN MORNING.


VELSHI: Good morning to you all. Welcome back.

It is 31 minutes after the hour. It's time for this morning's top stories.

Four soldiers are dead after two Army choppers went down during a training exercise. Teams are trying to recover the remains of the victims right now. The military said it happened on grounds, on training grounds inside Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

The commander of the base is promising a thorough investigation.

ROMANS: Iran responding with defiance to President Obama's request that Iran gives back a downed U.S. spy plane. Iran's defense minister says the drone that went down in Iranian territory is now their property, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims they've gathered enough intelligence to control the stealth aircraft.

COSTELLO: House Speaker John Boehner says there will be a vote in the House today on the Republican version on a plan to extend the payroll tax cut. The Democrats oppose several parts of the plan, including plans for a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to Texas.

VELSHI: All right. The small town of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, is the center of the news world today as Jerry Sandusky gets set to face accusers for the first time since he was charged with sexually abusing them as little boys.

CNN contributor Sara Ganim is outside the court house. She is a crime reporter for the "Patriot-News." She's been on top of the Sandusky story from the very beginning.

Good morning, Sara.


VELSHI: Sara, what are we expecting to happen today? We know that a number of people have been subpoenaed, accusers and Jerry Sandusky. Do we think they are all testifying?

GANIM: Well, you know, that's unclear. We know that a lot of them will be here. They could be called to testify. I know of several who have been subpoenaed.

But, you know, it all kind of depends on how it's going. You know, as the prosecution's case begins, and who they feel they need to testify. They're not going to call more people than they have to, because this is not a trial. This is a basic hearing to determine if they can get to a trial.

And, you know, the more that they put on today, you know, the defense, the reason that they're going forward with this is to get information, to try and get to possibly two times where they can get these alleged victims on the stand telling their story and then compare them to their grand jury testimony and try to pick it apart or say that, you know, possibly, you know, there were inconsistencies.

So they're going to put in little as they have to, because, you know, that's better for their alleged victims and their witnesses.

VELSHI: You're so clear on this. So let me understand this from an outsider's perspective for our viewers. There was a grand jury. There were charges brought forth by the attorney general, by the state's attorney.

Why is this process required? Do they -- haven't they already established that they've got enough to move forward on in terms of a trial?

GANIM: It's interesting, Ali, because I have seen, you know, like in big drug investigations from the attorney general's office where they have kind of skipped this step, because there was a grand jury, but in Pennsylvania, grand jury don't indict like you see on "Law & Order." Grand juries here create a presentment, and then it's the attorney general's decision whether or not to press charges.

So, this is -- this is a middle step, and it does seem, like you said, something they don't have to do. But, I mean, they are doing it in this case probably because the defense would have put up a big fight if they tried to waive it.

VELSHI: OK. That makes it a lot clearer. Mike McQueary, the graduate assistant who became assistant coach, a lot have made in the last week about his story, a story that he gave a family friend, who's a doctor, being different from than the one he gave in a written report. Is he expected to testify?

GANIM: He could testify. You know I think one of the big questions here, you know, surrounding Mike McQueary is, have they found that victim number two, from that 2002 report -- at the time that Jerry Sandusky was charged, they did not -- prosecutors did not know who that child was.

We don't know, though, if in the last six weeks, they found him, especially with all the media coverage, that boy might have come forward. So, he's going to testify. Prosecutors probably don't have to put Mike McQueary on the stand. If Mike McQueary does get up on the stand, I think his testimony is going to be one of the most sought-after testimony today, because of all of the questions surrounding his story in the last couple of weeks.

VELSHI: You keep pointing out prosecutors don't want to do more today than they need to because this is not a trial. They want to do as much as they have to do get this to move forward, a lot of media at, in this courthouse today. Probably some Jerry Sandusky supporters as well?

GANIM: Yes. You know, I'm told that his wife is going to be here. His family is going to be here. His pastor of several years is going to be here, possibly members of the congregation from their church.

I know that, you know, the courtroom has a lot of extra chairs that have been put in there for media, for the public who won the lottery and were able to sit in the courtroom today, but there's also a sectioned off area for the Jerry Sandusky supporters. You know, I think it's very interesting, if you're outside of Happy Valley, outside of State College, Jerry Sandusky is, you know, almost like the most hated man in the world. But here in State College, if you go into coffee shops, and street corners, you hear a lot of people talk about, you know -- well, it's more of a balance, I think, of opinions here of him.

VELSHI: Very interesting. All right. Sara, interestingly enough, the judge is going to allow you to tweet and text. We'll be hearing from you and other members of the media throughout the course ever the day. Sara Ganim is a crime reporter of the "Patriot News "and a CNN contributor following this story for us very closely. Thanks, Sara.

COSTELLO: Happening across the country, and earlier this morning, it is happening in Baltimore. Police reportedly moved in to break up the Occupy Baltimore encampment. Protesters have been camping out near the inner harbor for the last two months. According to CNN's affiliate WMAR, things are reportedly peaceful but police are in full riot gear.

Occupy protesters are targeting ports across the country, though, and succeeding in shutting down operations at California's port of Oakland overnight. The protesters say they hope locking the docks will cut into the profits of the big corporations that run them. Similar demonstrations happened in Seattle, Portland and Houston. Twenty arrests at Houston's protests.

ROMANS: And emotional apologies from the four University of Cincinnati players involved in a brutal brawl on the basketball court. The nationally televised fight happened during Saturday's game against Xavier. Cincinnati senior Yancy Gates who threw the punch that landed a Xavier player on the floor with blood streaming from his eye, he broke down and apologized in front of the full city of Cincinnati.


YANCY GATES, CINCINNATI FORWARD: I'm not that type of person. You know, a lot of people are calling me thug --


ROMANS: Each school suspended four players. Meantime, prosecutors are considering criminal charges.

VELSHI: Do we -- what started this?

COSTELLO: They are cross town rivals. There's been this intense rivalry between these two teams for decades, and just got --

ROMANS: It just got too hot.

COSTELLO: You know, they were trash talking before the game and they continued trash talking when the game began, and then it became violent like this.

ROMANS: One of the coaches even said, you know, we're talking about whether we're even going to continue with the team, we're talking about whether I'm going to keep my job. I mean, one of the coaches was really, really upset about this. You recall, and these kids probably -- incredibly upset. I don't know their status with the school if they're going to investigate -- criminal investigation into assault.

VELSHI: It wasn't like everybody walked away from this thing. All right.

COSTELLO: It's embarrassing. I'm from Ohio. Stop it with the Ohio stuff like this.


COSTELLO: Still to come, a new political party in America founded by a former mayor and we are about to witness a rags to riches rocky story, maybe, kind of, sort of.

You're watching AMERICAN MORNING. It's 39 minutes past the hour.


COSTELLO: It is 42 minutes past the hour. Welcome back.

There is a new political party in America this morning. I'm not kidding. It's called the Justice Party. It was created by a man who says he's fed up with the president and the Republican field. So, he's going to run for the White House as a third party candidate.

Rocky Anderson is a former mayor of Salt Lake City and the founder of the Justice Department. He joins us live from Washington this morning.

Good morning.


COSTELLO: So, I'm wondering how many people are in the Justice Party?

ANDERSON: Well, we have people from all over the country. And the more they hear about it, the more they're signing up. I can't give you an exact number now, but it is catching unbelievable attention, because, I think, across the board, this isn't just people from one party or another being fed up, it's across the board. We're hearing from libertarians, Republican, Democrats, independents -- people who have been looking for a political home, and who have had it with the two dominant parties that have brought us to the very sorry state we're at in this country.


ANDERSON: And they want to see not just a different party and different candidates, they want to see a change in what's become a very corrupt, diseased system.

COSTELLO: Well, I do agree with you, that many Americans feel exactly that way. But America and American politics, we've never seem to have a viable third party candidate. Why is that?

ANDERSON: I think that there's this fear of being a spoiler so that people end up voting for what they consider to be the lesser of two evils, rather than rising to the occasion. And I think that we have very unique circumstances now, and I think it's reflected by the Occupy movement.

I think it's reflected by the polls. Nine percent approval rating for our Congress?

The approval rating for our president is way down, and I think it's because he has lost his base. He has not delivered on -- almost anything that he promised us during what was one of the greatest campaigns we've ever seen, a great public relations efforts. But in terms of execution, this country's been very disappointed.

COSTELLO: As you know, it takes a lot of money to run for president of the United States. It takes a lot of money to run for Congress. It takes a lot of appearances like the one you're doing right now.

So what makes you think you have a chance?

ANDERSON: You know, this is, again, a very unique time, because we've never had the technology, we've never had the social media before. We see nations engaging in revolutions now based on social media communication. There's been an enormous democratization in communications and in our ability to organize people at the grassroots.

And it really is a new day in terms of bringing people together from the bottom up. And there's a real sense of -- of hope and expectation that we can get back the reins of our government and start making certain that our government and our elected officials serve the public interests rather than the narrow moneyed interests that have had such a corrupting --

COSTELLO: Let me say this, I mean, your message sounds great. I'm sure it sounds great to many people, but it's not a sexy message. It seems like the candidates who say the most extreme things grab the voters' attention, at least, those voters who are passionate about going to the polls, and they just -- they come in to vote and they kind of stay there?

ANDERSON: But it certainly resonates with people. The things we're talking about are majority issues, but the people of this country aren't seeing our Congress or our president deliver. Why did we see the economic meltdown? Why did we see deregulation led to the catastrophic economic situation in this country? It's because of the corrupting influence of money in our system.

President Obama received more money from Wall Street than any other candidate's ever received. Why do we not like the rest of the industrialized world, have a decent universal healthcare program in this country where every citizen is entitled to essential healthcare services? We know it's because of the corrupting influence of money in our system.

And why are we not providing the badly needed international leadership on climate change? Same thing. The fossil fuel industry have a strangle hold on the White House and on Congress.

COSTELLO: Well, thank for joining us this morning. Rocky Anderson, we appreciate it.

ANDERSON: Good to be with you. Thank you very much.

VELSHI: Great discussion.

ROMANS: Oh, yes.

All right. Still to come, Mitt Romney has one of the most detailed economic plans. We're talking 160 pages. So, this morning, we're going to break that down and what his plan does mean for you and your taxes and your job. It's 27 minutes after the hour.


VICKY BLACK, PROFESSIONAL ICE SKATER: I'm Vicky Black. I portrayed the role of Cinderella on "Disney on Ice" and I live on the road for 10 months a year. This is my ninth year with "Disney on Ice." I do have a special relationship with Prince Charming. He is my husband. It's really need for me to get to skate with him, because, first of all, I have family on the road, but also, I have to trust the person that's lifting me over their head.

We are together 24 hours a day, literally, 24 hours. We skate together, we live together, we work together, we sightsee together, we eat all our meals together. I like to set up picture frames and candles. We Skype with our friends and family at home, and then, it keeps us in touch. I have a very well-organized suitcase.

It's like a filing cabinet system, and I can see -- everyday, I can see every piece of clothing I have. The show itself keeps us in really good shape, but for me, I like to yoga. It's kind of a great exercise that you can do wherever you are that kind of keeps me in shape, body, mind, and soul.

This is my life on the road. Thanks for coming along for the ride.


VELSHI: It is 50 minutes after the hour. Here's what you need to know to start your day.


VELSHI (voice-over): Four soldiers are dead after two army choppers went down during a training exercise in Washington State. It's still not clear whether they collided or went down separately. The military is promising a thorough investigation.

Property of Iran. The government says a U.S. spy drone that went down in Iranian territory now belongs to them. It comes after President Obama made a formal request for Iran to return the stealth aircraft.

Jerry Sandusky will face his accusers in court today. As many as six men are expected to describe the alleged sexual abuse they suffered years ago as little boys at the hands of the former Penn State coach.

Newt Gingrich is on face pledging to uphold the institution of marriage for personal fidelity if he's elected president. The former House speaker making that promise in a letter he's written to the Family Leader, a socially conservative group in Iowa. And modern Warfare III is now the fastest selling form of entertainment of all-time. The war game shot past a billion dollars in sales in just 16 days. That is one day quicker than the movie "Avatar ". Wow!


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


ROMANS: Welcome back. We've been telling you the financial plan, the economic plans of all of the major candidates. Today, we're looking at Mitt Romney. He's a former governor, a very successful, and very rich businessman. His credentials as co-founder of Bain Capital are what attracts Wall Street money.

Plus, he's worth $202 million, and his economic policy plan is, by far, the most detailed of all the candidates. A 160 pages long, 50 proposals, and he has 10 actions for day one of his presidency should he get there. Now, Romney would cut the corporate income tax to 25 percent. He will slash government spending regulation federal programs. He's a lot like the other candidates in that regard.

He would repeal President Obama's healthcare reform and also the Dodd-Frank banking rules. He would expand international trade policies and drill for more oil here at home. On to taxes. No mention of a flat tax in Romney's plan. Instead, he wants to keep individual taxes as they are now, but eliminate taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for low and middle income families.

He also wants to scrap the estate tax. He wants to end that. Romney also wants to make it easier for foreigners with advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering to come to work in the U.S. that includes raising the visa caps for people who are highly skilled workers and giving many of them permanent residency.

Also on the list, he wants to increase retraining programs for people already here who are jobless, jobless Americans with the help of the states and the private sector. Now, special to his plan, something we haven't seen, no new regulations that will cost money to businesses. He wants a net balance here.

He wants the cost of any new government rules or standards from day one to have to be offset by savings elsewhere. So, no business, no small business, no big business, Ali and Carol, would have to have new costs from regulation. He would say treat every regulation basically like a balanced budget.

So, there you go. Mitt Romney has the biggest sort of the most detailed plan out there, and that's where it stands.

VELSHI: And it covers a lot of area, like this visa business. This is something we talked about a lot. We know we've got a shortage of trained workers in certain areas, but this business about capital gains and earned -- interest earned, tax credit for low and middle income Americans, I think it's fair to say, capital gain taxes are not a problem that many low and middle income Americans faced.

ROMANS: And not something that critics may immediately point out. And I'll tell you something else also, you know, all of this sort of tax experts just trying to score all of these different plans, but we're very -- there isn't even a general election here yet. So, a lot of this stuff is flat form sort of white paper kind of stuff, but I will tell you that Mitt Romney is the most detailed.


ROMANS: The "Wall Street Journal" has endorsed Jon Huntsman's plan, quite frankly, and Newt Gingrich, the tax policy centered just yesterday or today came out and said Newt Gingrich's plan where he's offering huge tax cuts --


ROMANS: -- would actually cause the federal deficit to go up by a trillion dollars. Just trying to get a handle on what they all propose.

VELSHI: Thanks, Christine.

COSTELLO: Along those lines, the Republican frontrunner, Newt Gingrich's tax plan is coming under increased scrutiny. The non-partisan tax policy center ran the numbers and the verdict, it would lead to huge deficits to give the wealthiest Americans a gigantic tax break. According to the analysis, Gingrich's plan would reduce government revenue by a staggering $1.3 trillion or 35 percent by 2015.

That's the first year the plan could be fully implemented. Also, the tax rate for Americans with more than $1 million in net income would fall to 11.9 percent saving those individuals $613,000.

VELSHI: It's interesting that for a lot of libertarians and some conservatives, the idea that it will, you know, bring government revenues down by so much is music to their ears, but we still actually have a government that has to pay for things. So, it's a -- a complicated --

ROMANS: We still have -- Congress has to approve things, too.

VELSHI: Right.

ROMANS: And so, while some tax experts have been alarmed by the idea of 2015, trying to balance the budget and do all this, other just saying --

VELSHI: Do you think Congress will get down to it? COSTELLO: You talk about those huge gigantic cuts and also that what was it, the tax analysis said that you can't implement that many cuts.

VELSHI: Right.

COSTELLO: You just can't or the government just would not work.

VELSHI: Right. That doesn't necessarily move everybody, though, as we've seen, right?


ROMANS: That's exactly what they --


ROMANS: That's a point. And the point is not letting bloated government work the way it always has.

VELSHI: We'll have lots of time to discuss this for many, many more months.

We're taking a quick break here on AMERICAN MORNING. It's 57 minutes after the hour. We'll be right back.