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Out in the Open

Interview With Florida Senator Bill Nelson; Did O.J. Simpson Know About Guns in Alleged Robbery?

Aired November 13, 2007 - 20:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: You know, this could be real bad for John McCain. I want you to watch this that we're about to show you. You will probably see its first pass here, and then I have a feeling you will be seeing it a lot.
Producer comes in early in the morning today to my office and shows me this video. You are going to hear a McCain supporter. She refers to Hillary Clinton using really what is a horrible word that is used to do nothing but demean women.

Well, at the time, it was a supporter who said that. It wasn't until later on, when we watched the whole tape, which is what you are about to see, that you see McCain's reaction, or lack thereof, that we decided that this is both relevant and newsworthy, and important information to this campaign.

All right. Let me set it up for you. He's campaigning in South Carolina yesterday when suddenly this happened. Obviously, the word that is used here is very offensive. We will let you listen to the entire thing so you can decide for yourself. Here it is.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do we beat the bitch?


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: May I give the -- can I give the translation?


MCCAIN: The way that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I thought she was talking about my ex- wife.


MCCAIN: But that's an excellent question.

I respect Senator Clinton. I respect anyone who gets the nomination of the Democrat Party.


SANCHEZ: "That's an excellent question," he says.

This is a fellow senator that he's talking about. No matter what you think of Hillary Clinton, is John McCain done as a result of this? Is this going to become a viral video? This is the kind of questions that we got to examine at this point. We're going to be looking at a lot of these issues.

With me tonight, conservative strategy (sic) Amy Holmes, who is also a CNN political analyst.

He says, "That's an excellent question," after somebody refers to Hillary Clinton as a B-word which rhymes with witch.

How big a mistake is this?

AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it is a mistake. I don't know it's as big a mistake as that you're making it out to be. He did recover and he did say that he has respect for Senator Clinton.


SANCHEZ: Hold on. No, no, no. He said he has respect for Senator Clinton. And then he went on to say that he has respect for anyone who wins the Democratic ticket. Translation: If Mr. Magoo wins the Democratic ticket, he would have respect for him, too.

HOLMES: No, I think that he's using politico speak, Washington speak. You hear it up on the Hill every day. I worked in the Senate for three years. And the Senate actually has very strict rules of etiquette of how senators can address each other.

I would have hoped that he would have shown more leadership in defending Senator Clinton's honor, not just as a colleague, but as a woman, and that juvenile joke from the audience about, I thought you were talking about my ex-wife, I mean, come on. This is beneath all of us.


HOLMES: But, Rick, I would want to point out to you, back in 2004, don't forget, back in 2004, John Kerry was in the audience at Radio City Music Hall when Whoopi Goldberg took to the stage and called the commander in chief, President Bush, the C-word.

John Kerry, he cleaned up $7.5 million in donations. He got up onto the stage after these performers had called George Bush a liar, a cheap thug, et cetera, and the C-word -- like, let's not forget, that's a pretty foul, foul...

SANCHEZ: And that was wrong.

(CROSSTALK) HOLMES: And he got up onto the stage, Rick, and he said that this had been an excellent experience and that those performers had shown him the heart and soul of our country. It wasn't until later that his campaign said that this was crossing the line.


SANCHEZ: You're right. Amy, you're right. And you are a conservative, and I'm supposed to ask you some of the tough questions here, so let's say this.

There was a separation between when she said it and when he took to the stage. Here, you have someone saying it, and he all but embraces the comment. And that's the problem. And I want you to hear the last part again.

And, you know, you got to like John McCain. He stuck in there. He's a good American, but I think he could be in trouble for this from women, especially the ones that have been talking to me today in our newsroom who heard this and were offended. Listen to the last part of what he says.


MCCAIN: I respect Senator Clinton. I respect anyone who gets the nomination of the Democrat Party.


SANCHEZ: He respects her, but he only respects her if she gets the nomination of the Democratic Party. He respects -- as a fellow senator, Amy, let's be serious.


SANCHEZ: Should he not have said to this woman, you know what, that's the wrong kind of language to use in my campaign; I encourage your enthusiasm, but let's not go there?

HOLMES: I think that's what we would have liked for him to have said. I think, looking at the video, you can see he covers his face with his hands. He's clearly uncomfortable, embarrassed by the use of the language, like, oh, boy.

And there he is in a room full of supporters. I would have liked for him to have said that, Rick. And I repeat, I worked in the Senate for three years.


HOLMES: Senators have very strict rules about how they address each other on the Senate floor. He's been in the Senate long enough to know that.

But I do think that he recovered by saying that he did respect Senator Clinton. SANCHEZ: Well, I got to tell you, most people who have seen it are looking at it as a real mistake on his part in terms of the way he handled it.

Let me ask you this question, though. You're a woman. That's a very offensive word that's used to demean women.

HOLMES: It is.

SANCHEZ: Are you offended by the use of that word?

HOLMES: Indeed I am. And I don't think it has any place in the public discourse.

Having a sailor mouth in private, that's for every individual to decide. But he is supposed to be leading by example. And that's what we expect as the American people.

But again, Rick, politics ain't beanbag. I don't think that Hillary should be raising this issue. I think she should not dignify it with a response. And I think that, from her perspective, it's moving forward and being strong.

SANCHEZ: All right.

Hey, listen, Amy, thanks so much.

I have just gotten information that we're going to have a statement from John McCain's camp in just a little bit. And, as soon as we get it, we will have it for you.

Meanwhile, I also want you to know that we're going to be replaying this and that we want our audience to go to and finish this sentence. All right. You ready? McCain's handling of the B-question about Hillary tells me? And then fill in the blank, all right? Go to our Web site right now and you will see it. We're going to read your answers and continue the discussion on this, as we go through in this newscast tonight.

There's more sticker shock. The hidden cost of the Iraq war is now being estimated at well beyond a trillion dollars. Why? Because now they are taking into account the higher price of oil, the care for wounded vets, and interest on the money that we have been borrowing from other countries like China.

Now, this is a disaster for average Americans, for middle-class Americans. In fact, let me do this for you. Let's go over here. I want to break it down for you, because the numbers really speak for themselves in this case.

All right, this is what the administration was talking about that it was going to cost. And most of us, our jaws dropped when we saw that number, $804 billion. But now the Democrats have gone in and done a study, taking all the other things into account, and they are saying, it's really going to be $1.6 trillion that this war is going to end up costing us. And what does that mean to you? Because, a trillion dollars, you throw that figure out, and it doesn't mean a lot to most Americans until you break it down like this. For a family of four, it's going to cost you almost $21,000. That's what's going to come out from you as a result of what's going on right now over there.

And there's one more thing I want to break down for you because I think this is interesting. What it means is that this money could have been used for other things. For example -- and there's an array of things, but I think this one is important, if you have kids or wanted to put kids in college. This would pay, this money, for 35 million people in the United States, students, to go to Harvard for one year. This would pay their room and board for one entire year, Harvard, 35 million people.

Here now, a U.S. Senator and former astronaut Bill Nelson from Florida, who is on both the Armed Services and the Budget Committees.


SANCHEZ: One-point six trillion dollars, that's an outrageous figure. If anybody had known that that's what it was going to cost when we were first going into this thing, I don't think anybody would have signed on, right?

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Well, Rick, that is an outrageous figure, and it may be a little inflated.

But the fact is, there are a lot of other costs of war, taking care of not only the veterans, which is a component of this, all their health care, but a cost of war is also taking care of the widows and orphans.


SANCHEZ: Yes, we just -- listen, we did a report yesterday -- I don't know if you were watching -- where I went out in the street and found out that, of all the homeless people in the United States, a quarter of them are or will be veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. How does that bode for the future?

NELSON: Look how many of the Vietnam vets became homeless. And that's a cost to society. And we have to understand that.

But, Rick, the real just terrible news isn't this report that you are referring to. The real terrible news is that the Bush administration keeps this war cost off the books by not submitting it in the budget for the Department of Defense.

And, then, doubly, the worst part of this is that this war is being financed by borrowing the money from China and Japan.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And that's a huge problem. You know what it means? What it means is, they're saddling, not just you and me, but our children, and our children's children with this problem for years to come, not to mention what it's doing to the dollar right now. NELSON: And guess who we're going to have to pay when they want their loan paid? Now, in other wars, we have gone directly to the American people. Remember, in World War II, the sale of war bonds, the American people financed the war.

SANCHEZ: And I will tell you who is taking the money that's being borrowed from China and Brazil and India and these countries, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, ARINC Incorporated, Blackwater, of course, KBG, Kellogg, Brown & Root, and Halliburton.

See, these guys are doing real well, Senator, as a result of this.

NELSON: And, Rick, you remember that report earlier this year that out of the $60 billion of contracts that the auditor in the Department of Defense thought that $10 billion had been overpayments. I mean, it's outrageous.

SANCHEZ: Well, you're a Democrat. You should be leading on this thing. I hate to put the pressure on you, but what are you doing about it, sir?

NELSON: Well, the Democrats have 51, minus Joe Lieberman, who believes otherwise, but you can't pass anything without 60 votes, and we haven't been able to get that magic number of senators from the GOP to say, this is the reasonable way to go.

SANCHEZ: Well, the latest poll says that you got now about 75 percent. Almost three-quarters of the American people are saying, we have had enough. We want out. This isn't working.

Find a plan. The onus is on you and other Democrats to do so. And hopefully the next time we talk, we will be talking about that plan.

Senator, thanks so much for being with us, sir.

NELSON: Thanks, Rick.


SANCHEZ: All right, speaking of another senator now, we have just gotten a reaction from Senator John McCain's staff. Here it is. We're going to put it up for you. All right.

"Senator McCain has on many occasions expressed his respect for Senator Clinton, just as he did when confronted with a question in South Carolina. You would be hard-pressed to find an opponent in our campaign who has been as gracious to Senator Clinton as Senator McCain has in this race."

The question now we put to you is, is this enough?

So, we want you to go to our Web site and answer the following question. Ready? John McCain's handling of the reference of the B- word question that rhymes with witch about Hillary Clinton tells me? Fill in the blank. We want to know what you think about this, especially women who are watching this newscast and using that word, and how he reacted to it. Go to Let us know.


WALTER ALEXANDER, ALLEGED ACCOMPLICE OF O.J. SIMPSON: After he asked me if we could watch his back, then he kind of leaned forward, and it was like, hey, do you think you can get some heat?

MICHAEL MCCLINTON, ALLEGED ACCOMPLICE OF O.J. SIMPSON: He said, show them your weapon and look menacing.


SANCHEZ: All right, that's interesting.

Coming up, you're going to be hearing O.J. Simpson really getting burned by his own cohorts there on the stand. See, he tells the judge that Simpson said yes, bring a gun. Simpson's been saying the opposite.

Stay with us. We're going to be right back.


SANCHEZ: All right. There you see O.J. Simpson, really a wild day for O.J. Simpson and his robbery case. Simpson has said all along that he didn't know about guns.

It's day three of the preliminary hearing, and today a witness testified that Simpson not only knew about these guns, but he actually asked for them.

Before we do that, though, Will, hold on. Hold on just a minute.

A little while ago, we were talking to Amy Holmes and she made a reference to something Whoopi Goldberg had said during the John Kerry campaign. I have just been told by my producers that, momentarily, we're going to be talking to Whoopi Goldberg. She's called us and she's going to go on the air to clarify a couple of things.

So, I just want to let you know from a program note standpoint that we're going to have that in just a minute. So, stay with us here. Things might get a little more exciting.

Now, back to O.J. Simpson getting burned by his cohorts on the stand. Here it is.


ALEXANDER: Yes, he said that there shouldn't be any problem, you know. But just in case there's a problem, you know, I would like for you all to bring -- bring some guns. And you know, he said, you won't have to take them out, you know. He said just have them in your shirts or in the holsters, you know, so that they can be seen so that, you know, they know we mean business. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: All right. So, here's what's interesting, as we watch Ted Rowlands, who's been diligently following this case.

You have got O.J. Simpson saying to people, to reporters, look, I didn't know there was a gun in the room. And now you got two guys taking the stand, and they're both saying, damn well right he knew that there was a gun in the room. He told us to bring the guns.

Is that, cutting to the chase, the big news coming out of this today?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the first half, yes. There was more news later, though. But -- and, sure, it seemed like a bombshell at the beginning.

Walter Alexander is the guy you had on. And he was the first witness today. He basically said, O.J. told us to get guns. He orchestrated this whole thing.

Take a listen to Alexander and watch O.J. Simpson's reaction when his former co-defendant was on the stand.


ALEXANDER: They can get some heat, you know, just in case things go wrong, just in case, you know, they may have heat, can you bring some heat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did that mean to you?

ALEXANDER: That means that he wanted me to help him to acquire some guns. I looked over at O.J. and I was like, well, O.J., what if the police come? What if they call the police? And he was like -- can I say the exact word, John (ph)?


ALEXANDER: OK. He was like (EXPLETIVE DELETED) the police. You know? It's my (EXPLETIVE DELETED)


ROWLANDS: Yale Galanter, O.J. Simpson's attorney, was able to dismantle Alexander's credibility, basically playing an audiotape. This was a phone conversation that Alexander had, leaving it a voice mail, which basically said, listen, I will help you guys out by changing my testimony if you give me some money. This was left on O.J. Simpson's friend's tape recording. In the end, Alexander lost a lot of credibility after the cross-examination.

The other witness today was Michael McClinton. And McClinton had the same things to say about O.J. Simpson in terms of the guns. He also said it was O.J.'s decision and order to take out the guns before going into the hotel room. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCLINTON: He said, show them your weapon and look menacing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are those defendant Simpson's words?

MCCLINTON: Mr. O.J. Simpson said that to me.


ROWLANDS: So some things you could say went wrong for O.J. Simpson on the stand today.

But another thing we should add, McClinton and Alexander, they both have copped deals with prosecutors, looking at no jail time at all. They were going from life sentence to now no jail time. Jurors will hear that.

The other is, their stories were dramatically different as to what led up to this. It will be up to the jury to decide their real credibility when this thing goes to trial, if it does. The judge should decide that tomorrow.

SANCHEZ: This is amazing.

Ted Rowlands, thanks so much.

It's like a soap opera.

Court TV anchor Jami Floyd is joining us right now.

And I know what you're going to say. Look, these guys were discredited, but...


JAMI FLOYD, COURT TV ANCHOR: Shredded. Shredded.

SANCHEZ: No, they were discredited, right?

FLOYD: Shredded, ripped to shreds.


SANCHEZ: Hold on a minute. Hold on a minute. All right, look, did you expect that they were going to get a nun to talk about this guy?


FLOYD: I didn't expect they were going to get an alleged pimp.

SANCHEZ: Do you know what kind of people O.J. Simpson hangs around with? Have you been reading what he's doing for the last couple of years? FLOYD: When you cut a deal with the police and the police say to you, what do you do for a living, if you have got something in your criminal past they need to know about it, you better tell them, because the entire deal is now compromised.

So, Walter Alexander, problem. The guy who testified yesterday, Charles Cashmore, all over national television, problem.


FLOYD: So, two of their witnesses greatly discredited. And this third guy, look menacing? Well, he does, and the jury will think so.

SANCHEZ: Isn't that funny, how O.J. Simpson always gets off because of something somebody else did in the past that has nothing to do with the case? I mean, a detective once used the N-word, so he can't be found guilty.

But let's let the audience know what you're talking about.


FLOYD: Used it 30 times.


FLOYD: Let's move on.

SANCHEZ: This guy was apparently involved in prostitution, right? Let's listen to the sound bite. Here's where they talk about this. Go.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your involvement, sir, in Your Private Geisha?

ALEXANDER: I don't have an involvement in Your Private Geisha.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is it that you're aware of that Web site, sir?

ALEXANDER: Because I know of the Web site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you sticking with your testimony that you haven't been a pimp in 10 years?

ALEXANDER: I'm sticking to my testimony that I'm not a pimp.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I'm really a pimp. I sell flesh for a living?


SANCHEZ: Oh, my goodness. You're a pimp. Who's going to believe a pimp, right? FLOYD: These are the moments we live for in criminal law. This is a thing of beauty. This is why you become a criminal lawyer.

Look, O.J. Simpson, the defendant everybody loves to hate, but it's important that we have clarity when we look at the case. And the case is falling apart. Whether you like O.J., whether you hate O.J., the whole point of our system is to defend people based on their presumption of innocence, their right to that. And he's got it. And, in this case...


SANCHEZ: But we're concentrating on their baggage, the witnesses. Let's not forget his baggage as well.

FLOYD: We should. We should.

SANCHEZ: And that's going to probably...

FLOYD: Key witnesses, Rick. Key witnesses.

SANCHEZ: That's probably going to have something to do with the judge as well.

But we will watch this. And you and I are going to be talking about it every day.

FLOYD: Oh, we will.

SANCHEZ: Jami, it's always a pleasure to have you here, from Court TV.

FLOYD: You got it.

All right, we understand -- do we have Whoopi Goldberg now? Thumbs up?

We have got to go to a commercial break. When we come back, Whoopi Goldberg is on the phone. She has called us -- and we really thank her for that -- to clear up some of the comments that were made earlier by Amy Holmes about her.

Stand by. We're going to have that for you right here in just a minute.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do we beat the bitch?


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: May I give the -- can I give the translation?


MCCAIN: The way that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I thought she was talking about my ex- wife.


MCCAIN: But that's an excellent question.

I respect Senator Clinton. I respect anyone who gets the nomination of the Democrat Party.


SANCHEZ: All right. There you have it. That's what started this whole thing, John McCain's reaction.

We weren't going to run that until we were able to get an unedited version of his reaction to someone calling Hillary Clinton a -- a B-word which rhymes with witch. And the way he handled it, some would say embracing it, not being apologetic at the time. But you decide. That's why we're leaving this to you.

But during that conversation we were talking to Amy Holmes, and she compared this to the time that Whoopi Goldberg had made a comment at a Kerry campaign rally, and had used some foul language as well.

We have got Whoopi Goldberg on the phone now. She's good enough to chat with us now about this and bring us up to date.

What do you recall about what happened? And what's your response, Whoopi, to this allegation?

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS: Well, here's the deal, Rick. I did not use foul language that night. I made a double entendre. And that was the double entendre heard around the country.

Now, if you do your research back to that night and the days following, you will find that no one ever printed what I said, because it was much better to leave the innuendo there.

Now, that's OK. I don't mind that.


GOLDBERG: I have explained this a million times.

But I don't like it when someone is using me to make an example, and it's -- and they lie.

SANCHEZ: Well, just -- you know, it's hard...

(CROSSTALK) GOLDBERG: I'm just telling you, it's a lie.

SANCHEZ: I understand.


SANCHEZ: It's hard for our viewers, hard for ourselves to keep tabs on all these stories and things that have happened in the past during campaigns ...

GOLDBERG: Yes, but see, here's the problem with that, Rick. When you are trying to stir people up, people will say anything. Now, I don't mind if you don't like my politics or you don't like my hair or you don't like my skirt. But make it about really what I've done. And don't use me to illustrate a point that you're trying to make. Now, you know, it didn't happen that way. And I don't want to be dragged into it. And so that's why I'm calling.

SANCHEZ: Well, I know, and I understand that. And I respect you for wanting to clear the air on something like this. I'd do the same thing if somebody had said something about what I had said. Now, what Amy Holmes had said early when we were talking was you had used the C word in a derogatory word, referring to the president of the United States.

GOLDBERG: And she is wrong.


GOLDBERG: She is wrong. Would you like to hear what I said, Rick?

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, we are on cable. If you can tell us in such a way so that we don't insult people ...

GOLDBERG: I'm going to tell you exactly. I'm going to do it exactly the way that I did it. I said, "I love -- I love Mr. Bush. But someone has given Bush a bad name. Someone is lying to the country. It's time to put Bush back where it should be, and I don't mean the White House." That's what I said.

SANCHEZ: It was comedic irreverence at the time.

GOLDBERG: It was irreverent and it's what I do. It was double entendre. There wasn't a bad word used. You know why? Because I didn't want to be reported that way. I knew people would be looking. It was a huge John Kerry event. You know. And the only reason that I have not had the satisfaction of people being able to say, see, this is what she actually said, is because this is before everyone put everything on YouTube.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you a question, then. I'm thinking now that you've given me the full perspective of what you said, in context, compare that to what this supporter said about Hillary Clinton. She called her directly the B word that rhymes with witch. You saw the reaction from McCain. Different. GOLDBERG: And here's -- and here's why I understand his reaction. Didn't he just have to deal with something his mom said about someone else?

SANCHEZ: As a matter of fact, he did.

GOLDBERG: Yes, he did. And so I'm figuring, here he is now, once again, probably caught on tape, unable to shut the people up from saying the first thing out of their minds. So his reaction doesn't surprise me. I don't think he -- I don't think he -- what do you do after that? You just kind of say, listen. And I believe that what he was saying was, he respects whoever the Democrats put up, just like he respects whoever the Republicans put up. Just remember, a couple of days ago, he explained the fact that he, you know, he has no issue with Mormons, you know. So this is a guy who is walking in a minefield of people whose lips are loose.

SANCHEZ: But when I watch you on "The View" I know that you're very sensitive to women's issues and a lot of women would take umbrage with the use of that word, especially referring to a senator -- forget the senator, take Hillary Clinton out of it altogether. The use of that word referring to a woman in front of a standing U.S. senator and his inability to say, you know what, that's not right. As a woman, what's your reaction Whoopi, before we let you go?

GOLDBERG: You know what, I am guilty of using that word.


GOLDBERG: I am guilty of using that word to describe people I don't like. People have used that word to describe me. But I don't know that I would be -- I would hold John McCain specifically responsible, simply because he's just dealt with this same issue. And what -- and really, how do you respond instantaneously? When you're in a situation like that, you know, we now live in the YouTube culture.

So that if someone says something in a private, what do you call it, fund-raising situation, you know, you can sort of walk over and deal with it and handle it, or see them later on. But you're -- when you're out in the public now, if you sneeze out of the wrong direction of your face, everybody knows it.

SANCHEZ: I got it.

GOLDBERG: So you know, I -- I'm not taking offense from John McCain -- from John McCain's response, because he looks a little bit like, oh damn, not again.

SANCHEZ: Exactly.

GOLDBERG: You know?

SANCHEZ: Whoopi ...

GOLDBERG: That's what I'm doing. SANCHEZ: You know, what I appreciate you being a viewer of our show, I appreciate you calling, I appreciate you clearing the air, that's great.

GOLDBERG: And I'd appreciate one more thing, Rick. Would you let Ms. Holmes know that the next time she wants to use me, at least quote me correctly?

SANCHEZ: I'll do that. We'll be sure and let her know.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Whoopi Goldberg, thanks again for calling in. You can see her tomorrow morning on "The View."

All right. Here we go. More news. New York police firing 20 shots at a teenager who at the time of the shooting was only carrying a hair brush. What? Hold on a minute. We've been checking the research on this. We've been looking into the tapes. You can't jump to conclusions on this. Not from a police officer's perspective. We're going to tell you why as we let you hear the 911 tape that reveals what really happened. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back to OUT IN THE OPEN. A lot going on. I'm Rick Sanchez. Thank you. New York police officers, they've done it again. They've shot another unarmed black man in a hail of gunfire. But hold on. Because before you jump to any conclusions on this one, we need to give you some details and some research we have looked through. Last night, five police officers fired 20 bullets at an 18- year-old man lunged toward him. They hit him 10 times. We started looking into the details of this case, and what I found is this may have been unavoidable. There's some extenuating circumstances here. Listen in, folks.

Police were convinced that this kid had both a gun and possibly two knives when he was coming at them. Here's the 911 call from his mother, by the way. Listen to the words.


OPERATOR: Who is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's supposed to be my son.


OPERATOR: That's your son?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. Got no respect. You know, I can't deal with this tonight.

OPERATOR: He say he gotta gun?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mm-hmm. You heard him. I didn't say. You heard it out of his mouth.


SANCHEZ: All right, things are a little muddy on this because five minutes later the 911 operator called the mother back, and on that call the mom says that her son did not have a gun. Deborah Feyerick's covering the story for us. She is in Brooklyn. Deborah, pick this up by giving some of the deals of what's happened today and then we've got a couple of guests we'll break this down with. But start us off, Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, we've been out here all day. We can tell you that by all accounts these were solid cops, each on the job 10 years or more, they had never fired their weapon before in the line of duty. In fact, officials say the victim, Khiel Coppin, had come within five feet of them. All the while they were retreating and he was moving towards them. The police officers warning him to drop what they believed was a concealed weapon and to get down on the ground. An who eyewitness was interviewed by police allegedly told officers she thought the victim had a gun, she saw him pull something from his waistband and lunge at those officers. That's when they opened fire. It was 7:00. It was dark. The 18-year-old had already lunged at these officers when they were inside the apartment with two knives. Still, the mom, the brother, family members, other people from Bedford-Stuy say all of that does not make this shooting OK.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to realize one thing right here. Blacks are being gunned down in the streets. Not whites. Not Jews. Not Italians. This is the reality of what our life is. This is not a gun, 20 shots. That man was shot, killed, and handcuffed. This is the reality of it.


FEYERICK: Twenty shots were fired. One of them hit him in the chest. Nine hit him in the arms, legs, and the hips. Police responded to the mom's exasperated 911 call in which you can repeatly hear the victim saying, "I have a gun, I have a gun." When police arrived she told the officers that in fact she didn't believe he was armed, she had tried to get him psychiatric day early in the day because he was off his medications. Right now the key to all of these investigations is whether in fact police responded properly to this emotionally disturbed person. Police are saying that they did follow protocol. People here in the community are saying they did not. And right now, the only thing that is clear is that an 18-year-old is dead and his family's in mourning. Rick?

SANCHEZ: Excellent report. Deborah Feyerick for putting that all into perspective for us. Joining us, New York City councilman Charles Behren. He's not willing to give police a pass on this one. Also, former New York City police detective Gil Alba is here with us to argue the other side. Let's talk about the facts, gentlemen. Ready? You've got a mother who is telling police on the 911 call, my son's got a gun. And the kid is saying himself, I've got a gun, I've got a gun, he said it three times. He has psychological problems. And when police go in, they apparently see that he has two knives. So this is the state of mind police have as they're going into this situation. As a result of that information, and then he lunges at them. As a result of that information, should they get a pass? Gil, start us off.

GIL ALBA, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DETECTIVE: First of all you started off with the police did it again. I mean, did what again? Shot somebody that's unarmed and put 18 bullets in him, all that?

SANCHEZ: Yeah, they did.

ALBA: That's wrong. That's totally wrong.

SANCHEZ: Gil, wait a minute. Let's be fair, let's be fair. There's a problem in New York City in the past with incidents like this happening.

ALBA: Well, this is not the same kind of incident. This is not -- the mother calls and tells you there's a gun, that they have a gun. The police now respond knowing it's a credible call that somebody has a gun. Now, he goes after a while, they see him in the apartment, he has a gun, the mother says he has a gun ...

SANCHEZ: The mother said he didn't have a gun ...

ALBA: The call says he had a gun. She called 911, he got a gun? Uh-huh, he's not a gun. She knew damn well he didn't have a gun. So now he comes out and goes towards the cops. He has something in his waistband. He pulls it out and aims it at the police. The captain comes out and says, you guys take cover. Those guys take cover. Do they know what's going on?

SANCHEZ: That's a good point.

CHARLES BARRON, NEW YORK CITY COUNCILMAN: No, no, no. He is not making a good point. He's not making a good point.

SANCHEZ: Refute that.

BARRON: All right. He just said that they pulled out something, and then he told them to take cough where the guy pulled out something? Let me tell you something, Rick, in New York City we died and got shot by having candy bars, by having a wallet, for pointing our finger ...

SANCHEZ: No, hold on.

BARRON: No, wait.

SANCHEZ: You wait, it's my show. I'm going to ...

BARRON: It's your show but we're dying. SANCHEZ: I'm going to set the scenario for you.

BARRON: You said it already.

SANCHEZ: The perspective that he has is ...

BARRON: You don't have a lot of time.

SANCHEZ: There's somebody coming over here and he could have a gun and he's reaching for something and lunging.

BARRON: He could have. Ain't no could have.

SANCHEZ: But that's not fair.

BARRON: You're not dying. You're not dying.

SANCHEZ: Wait a minute, listen. Nobody's defended these inner city ...

BARRON: No, you can't ...

SANCHEZ: The inner city shootings more than I have ...

BARRON: You cannot shoot people because you perceive fear. You've got to have actual fear.

SANCHEZ: Do me a favor, hold on. I want you to see something. I'm going to back up right here. You see this? Are you with me right? I'm going to back up 20 steps. You guys watch this. Typical drill you learn at the police academy. You ready? I'm running toward -- how many shots did you just get off?

First of all, you didn't even know it happened like that.

SANCHEZ: I'm going to ask you a question ...

BARRON: That's a hypothetical. That's not reality.

SANCHEZ: How many shots do you think you could get off? If you're lucky.

BARRON: Let's tell what really happened. That didn't happen.

SANCHEZ: We know ...

BARRON: That didn't happen.

SANCHEZ: The kid lunged toward a police officer.

BARRON: Let me talk. That didn't happen. They were in the apartment. He was making threatening gestures at them. They said -- his mother said he didn't have a gun. They went outside. They took cover. They were never in danger. Just like with Dialo they weren't in danger ...

ALBA: They were in danger.

BARRON: Never.

ALBA: First of all, let's back up a little bit. They were in danger.

BARRON: They were not in danger.

SANCHEZ: Councilman, go ahead.

ALBA: What's the reason that the mother called police? Because she couldn't get any help for him. And then he had ...

SANCHEZ: You don't have the time. Hold on. Hold on, if you have a perception that a kid has a gun, you're going so stop and say, wait a minute, don't lunge at me. Let me get a psychologist?

BARRON: Reality. He didn't have a gun. It's not for the police or a psychologist.

SANCHEZ: His mother said it.

BARRON: In that same precinct, another young man, Louis Baez (ph), was called. He was going through a psychological episode. They came. His mother said he's having psychological problems. We said then, bring in mediators going you go John Wayne style.

SANCHEZ: By the way, how many shots do you get off on something like this?

BARRON: Your demonstration didn't happen.

ALBA: Coming at you, they have 20 shots in the gun, they're going to shoot, they're going to hit him once or twice.

BARRON: Another violation. They're supposed to shoot three times and stop. That's the law. Three times and stop.

SANCHEZ: That's a great argument. You're both really good.

BARRON: Yes, it is. Shoot three times and assess before you shoot again.


SANCHEZ: Great arguments on both sides.

BARRON: Don't call the cops. Not in the hood.

SANCHEZ: We'll be right back with this.

So dry in Georgia, the governor is praying for rain. Coming up, why would anybody have a problem with that? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SANCHEZ: Welcome back. Here's another one. Tonight, that's him by the way, Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue. He's being ridiculed for holding a prayer vigil on the steps of the state capitol. Now, what the governor's praying for is rain. From the heavens. For his state. That is stricken with a serious drought. Here's what he said. Here's how it went.


GOV. SONNY PURDUE, (R) GA: I'm here today to appeal to you, and to all georgians and all people who believe in the power of prayer, to ask God to shower our state, our region, our nation, with the blessings of water.


SANCHEZ: Now, a group of demonstrators turned out to protest Purdue's appeal to God on state property. Joining me now is somebody who sympathizes with these protesters. Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists. How could you possibly be offended by somebody's wanting to pray? What's wrong with that.

ELLEN JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ATHEIST: Well, it's not his wanting to pray. It's aside from the serious constitutional problem here, you cannot use the power and prestige of the governor's office to engage in prayer rituals and conjure the spirit world. You can't do that. But I know that a lot of people look at this and say, oh, it's just those wacky Bible Belters, they do it in Oklahoma, they do it in Georgia, Alabama. Okay, it is -- but it's more than just those wacky Bible Belters. I am so up to here with these idiot religious people in America doing things -- it's not just this.

SANCHEZ: But here's any problem with your argument right away. The fact that you're using word wacky, what's so wacky about believing in a supreme being? Whether it's Jesus or whoever?

JOHNSON: The fact that you have to even ask the question. It's not just that. Across America, we have idiotic Christian polygamists driving their sons to the edge of town in the middle of the night and dropping them off. They're called the lost boys.

SANCHEZ: OK, hold on.

JOHNSON: We have Christian scientists ...

SANCHEZ: You're going to all the worst -- yes, there are bad people involved in religion. But that doesn't take away the fact that there's something really good and moral about me sitting down with my family every night and saying a prayer. And you can't take that away from me.

JOHNSON: No, this guy, this guy is conjuring the spirit world. I am so sick and tired of politicians ...

SANCHEZ: It's not the spirit world. First of all, he's outside the building. And he says, people invited were Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus. So anybody who wants to help ...

JOHNSON: It's 2007 and we're conjuring the spirit world? This is a Bronze Age mentality. I am sick and tired of politicians with this -- clamoring over each other to prove to the American public that they have the worst Bronze Age mentality.

SANCHEZ: You know what the problem is with this? This is where the loony left goes too far and chases away anybody who's in Middle America, who might have some perspective on things ...

JOHNSON: They're praying for rain and we're loony?

SANCHEZ: No, it's the idea that nobody has a right to believe in something just because you don't believe in it.

JOHNSON: You have the right to.

SANCHEZ: Respect their right to believe in this. That's all they're saying.

JOHNSON: I am just sick and tired of politicians acting like this idiot. There is no life after death. We weren't poofed into existence in some mythological Garden of Eden. And there are no miracles. There's no life after death.

SANCHEZ: You're just down on the whole thing and it is insulting to you, that this governor would do that, I get it.

JOHNSON: I'm sick and tired of politicians acting like intelligence is the equivalent of a four-letter word. Even presidential politicians.

SANCHEZ: Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, we appreciate your perspective and that's why we have it on.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: All right. What else are we going to have? Here we go. I even forgot. A woman called Hillary Clinton the B word, right? And then Senator John McCain called it an excellent question. Is that a mistake? If so is, how big? Is his campaign dead in the water because of it? We want to know what you think, America, let us now at our Web site right now. Finish the sentence.


SANCHEZ: All right, time for a Rick's pick video. This is a scary moment at a basketball game in Israel. Listen to this explosion. Go, Will.

Wow! Something goes off. Suddenly everyone in the stand starts running around. This guy goes down. He tried to stop whatever it was that blew up. He loses part of his hand. Three of his fingers are gone. That's the shot from right above. See right there? You see in this in that area right there. That's a shot from just above the backboard. There you see it, the game's going on, they're in the middle of it, when suddenly bang, the guy goes down, loses a couple of fingers as a result. Police are saying they're investigating to find out what this was. They say it's just a large explosive. May have been a big fire cracker. Don't know why. One of the coaches of the team said, if one of our fans did this, I'm not showing up ever again. We'll stay on this story for you.

Meanwhile, we want you to know about what Senator John McCain has said. We are getting a ton of responses from people as you might imagine. The supporter used the B word to describe Hillary Clinton. We want you to finish sentence. McCain's handling of the B word question about Hillary tells me -- fill in the blank. Go to We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Tons of e-mails that we've been receiving. We start with this one. "He appears to be amused by it. That offends me as a woman." Nancy in Rochester.

Next. "He's human. Get over it, Rick. Stop making a big deal of this." American Bob.

"... that John McCain is a regular guy - at least there is no proof he planted that question." That comes from Mary.

"That a man who endured the unspeakable as a POW in Vietnam has the courage to challenge the words of a potential supporter, something I never expected to see from him." That comes from Bruce Anderson.

We've been calling the McCain camp. Hope to get his response from him on the air here tomorrow. Thanks for being with. Hasta manana. Here's Larry King.