Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Saving Haiti; Tea Party Rising?
Aired April 8, 2010 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, "Keeping Them Honest": A district attorney tells teachers, if they use a new government- approved sex-ed course, they could be arrested for promoting the sexual abuse of kids and end up in jail.
Also tonight, tea partiers unite. They say they're forming a national federation, and Sarah Palin could play a crucial role. "Raw Politics" ahead.
Plus: saving Haiti -- time running out to move tens of thousands to safety before the worst of the rains arrive. Why is it taking so long? We will talk to Sean Penn on the ground in Port-au-Prince.
First up, though, "Keeping Them Honest": Should teaching sex-ed be a crime? Now, this is not a hypothetical question. In Wisconsin, a district attorney has warned teachers that if they use a new state government-mandated sex-ed course, they could be committing a crime and serve up to six years in prison.
Now, this is the letter that the district attorney sent out to five school districts. And he's going to be on the program in a minute to defend the letter. But I just want to show you what the sex-ed course is -- that he's opposed to is actually designed to teach.
It was approved by the state government. No Republicans supported it, I should point out, but Democrats passed it. The DA is Republican, by the way. The course is designed to be age-appropriate, and it's described as an instructional program in human growth and development for students from kindergarten to 12th grade.
So, what exactly does it teach? I want to show you just some of the specifics. Take a look at this. This is wording from the actual law passed in Wisconsin. It teaches the benefits and reasons for abstaining from sexual activity.
That's one of the things. It also teaches the health benefits, side effects and proper use of contraceptives. It will also teach how alcohol and drug use affect responsible decision-making. And it will also help students identify counseling, medical and legal resources for survivors of sexual abuse and assault.
Now, the schools can decide not to teach the course at all. They're not forced to teach it. And parents can take their kids out of the class. Still, the prosecutor says this course teaches kids how to have sex and will lead to sexual abuse of children, and to teachers who teach it, they could wind up in jail.
Let's talk to the district attorney. His name is Scott Southworth. And, coincidentally, he was actually a CNN Hero in 2007, after he adopted a child from Iraq.
COOPER: So, Scott, you wrote this letter and sent it out to districts in your area. And a lot of your critics say that, essentially, this was a threat to get them not to obey the law, not to decide to teach these sex education classes. Why did you send the ?
SCOTT SOUTHWORTH, JUNEAU COUNTY, WISCONSIN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, it certainly wasn't a threat.
I love the teachers in my district. My child goes to school in Juneau County. And what I really wanted to do was protect them and protect students.
Unfortunately, this new mandate that the state has imposed takes us from sex education instruction, which I support, involving human reproduction, human physiology, and crosses the line and goes way too far into instructing children, effectively, how to engage in recreational sex.
COOPER: But kids are obviously having sex. I mean, as this -- I mean, from all generations, kids have always had sex in high school. You don't prosecute kids for having sex.
SOUTHWORTH: Actually, we do, because it's against the law.
And I get referrals frequently on children who are having sexual intercourse and sexual contact. It's against the law in Wisconsin. And what I want to make sure is, is that we don't, A, more victims because they believe that the teachers implicitly or explicitly are encouraging them to go out and have sex, and, B, we don't put our teachers in a position where someone files a complaint against that teacher for encouraging those children to have sex.
I want to protect the kids and the teachers until we can repeal or amend this particular law.
COOPER: But you say in the letter that, even if the teachers have a thought that somebody is having sex and teaches class, that, basically, that they can be -- they can be punished because of that.
I mean, are you -- should teachers, then, if they know that two of their students are having -- if two 16-year-olds are having sex with each other, should they report those students to the authorities?
SOUTHWORTH: They're required to report sexual assault of children. And, in the state of Wisconsin, because it's illegal, children also cannot give consent. There is no such thing as consensual sex with a child or by children.
COOPER: So, your critics, though, they say, look, that this letter does go beyond, way beyond legal opinion, that it offers personal opinion, political opinion.
In the letter, you write -- quote -- "These new mandates will make my job much more difficult by converting objective human growth and development programming into a radical program that sexualizes our children as early as kindergarten."
I mean, that sounds like a political statement much more than a legal one, that this is a radical program to sexualize kids.
SOUTHWORTH: Well, I believe it is a radical program to sexualize kids.
And, if it's viewed as political, let's make it clear, I'm an elected political leader. But I did everything I could to be, you know, honorable and act with great integrity. And I worked very hard to ensure that I was giving a legal opinion on this particular act, and not my personal opinion.
COOPER: So, I mean, is it really your responsibility to then send out this letter to schools? Isn't it kind of injecting yourself into this? And, again, it raises the question of, you know, you are an elected official. You are a Republican. Is this just about politics to appeal to your base?
SOUTHWORTH: Well, no. I'm not up for reelection. I'm not running for anything at this point in time.
And I have never sent a letter to my school districts in the five-plus years that I have been district attorney about sex education. And, in my letter, it doesn't say how they should teach or not teach. That's an issue that the school boards are going to have to deal with.
The legislature has put a mandate on the schools on what they have to teach if they choose to teach human growth and development. My job, ethically, was to say, this is a change in the law, and here's the dichotomy in the law that teachers and our school boards now face. And I wanted them to know what the -- the law states, where I think some of the problems are, and what I recommend them to do, until the legislature in the next legislative cycle can address it, either to amend or repeal.
COOPER: Scott Southworth, I appreciate you being on. Thank you.
COOPER: We like to get differing viewpoints on this program.
I want to bring in now legal analyst Lisa Bloom.
Lisa, is there a legal basis for this?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely not, Anderson.
And if this district attorney doesn't understand the difference between teaching sex-ed in schools and encouraging the sexual abuse of children, frankly, he is not fit to hold public office.
He doesn't understand what every other district attorney in this country understands, which is giving children factual information about human anatomy and about sex and about birth control is a far cry from contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
I'm absolutely shocked. And although he tries to backpedal and say, "I'm not threatening anyone," why is he sending this letter to schools as a district attorney? Obviously, he is threatening teachers.
COOPER: Well, he's saying it's a warning to teachers about what they -- that they could liable for this in a civil case or even criminally.
BLOOM: It's an absolute abuse of his power as a district attorney. My goodness, has he caught all the murderers and rapists in his jurisdiction? He's got nothing left to do, except going after hardworking, underpaid teachers? Are you kidding me?
Look, the legislature of Wisconsin passed a law enabling schools to teach sex-ed. And you outlined it at the beginning of this segment. There's nothing in there about teaching kids how to have sex. In fact, one of the very worthy parts of this program is teaching kids what to do if they are sexually abused.
COOPER: Well, I mean, his point, though, I think, and his biggest problem is with the idea of actually teaching how to use contraceptives. He feels that's like, you know, doing a class on alcoholism and teaching kids how to mix drinks. That's how he equates it.
BLOOM: Well, you know, children are entitled to factual information about the world, and children don't need to be taught how to have sex.
What they need to be taught are the facts about sex, about human anatomy, reproduction, and the consequences of having sex, and how to protect themselves. It's not unlawful for two 16-year-olds to have sex with each other, or two 17-year-olds.
When there's a difference in age, then it is unlawful. It is not unlawful for children to use contraceptives.
COOPER: I did find it interesting...
BLOOM: And it's certainly important -- go ahead.
COOPER: I did find it interesting that this bill does allow parents to pull their kids out of the class if they want, if they object to it. And it also encourages kids to talk to members of their family.
But, to the DA's point, it doesn't say only talk to your parents. It encourage them -- encourages them to basically shop around to any member of the family who might, you know, kind of be approving of them having sex.
The legislature said that families can opt out of sex-ed. And that's fine. But, look, if you use this district attorney's reasoning, a parent talking to a child about sex is contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Two kids talking about condoms or birth control or the morning-after pill could be prosecuted by him under the same reasoning. They're talking about sex. They're contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
I mean, it's absolutely breathtaking, the scope of what he's proposing.
COOPER: Do you think it's political? I mean, he is Republican. No Republicans voted for this. It was passed by Democrats. And it clearly goes against his personal and, in some cases, religious beliefs.
BLOOM: Well, it clearly does. And he's entitled, as a citizen, to speak out and try to get the laws changed through the legislature.
What he's not allowed to do is to abuse his position as district attorney, which is not a political position. He doesn't get to pick and choose the laws that he's going to enforce. He doesn't get to try to actively oppose a law that was just passed by the legislature...
COOPER: But he is an elected official.
BLOOM: ... and try to teachers with his office.
COOPER: He is an elected official, though. So, that's why his critics say politics is at play, that he's appealing to his base, essentially, which he denies.
BLOOM: But he's elected as district attorney.
BLOOM: He's elected to enforce the laws of the county. And the laws are passed by the legislature. That's civics 101. That's the way it works.
COOPER: Lisa, stick around for a minute, because Bristol Palin, Sarah Palin's daughter, has taped an ad about teen pregnancy. It sort of relates to what we're talking about. I want to get your take on it. It even has her baby, Tripp, in it. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
BRISTOL PALIN, DAUGHTER OF SARAH PALIN: What if I didn't come from a famous family? What if I didn't have all their support?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We will show you the complete ad in just a moment. Also ahead, a plan for Tea Party movements across the country to unite, forming a national federation, with Sarah Palin perhaps playing a role -- details on that ahead.
COOPER: Before the break, we heard from a Wisconsin prosecutor who says that teachers in his state could be committing a crime if they do what a new law tells them to do, teach a newly mandated sex-ed course. It's a crime for minors to have sex in Wisconsin, even with other minors.
It obviously still happens, though, which brings us to Bristol Palin's new public service announcement. Sarah Palin's daughter has been campaigning against teen pregnancy, using herself as a poster child of sorts.
Here's the new ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
PALIN: What if I didn't come from a famous family? What if I didn't have all their support? What if I didn't have all these opportunities? Believe me, it wouldn't be pretty. Pause, before you play.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the -- her new message about teen sex.
Lisa Bloom joins me again.
Lisa, do you think it's effective?
BLOOM: A bit. I salute Bristol for using her celebrity to get an important message out there.
But I don't think it goes far enough. To tell teens to pause isn't really giving them the information that they need. You know, Bristol grew up in Alaska that's been criticized by Planned Parenthood for not having comprehensive sex-ed.
I wonder, if she had gotten information about, for example, the morning-after pill, which is available over the counter to people over the age of 17, and to kids under that age, if they get it by prescription, if it would have made a difference in her life. I wonder, if she had information about condoms, birth control pills...
BLOOM: ... the patch, whether it might have made a difference.
So, I think more specific information is needed to get kids to avoid teen pregnancy.
COOPER: In her defense, though, what she is saying is that pause in the ad may -- it could mean, pause, go get a condom. It could mean, pause, think about your life, pause, you know, decide to wait until you're married. And she is -- she is promoting abstinence-only.
BLOOM: It could mean a lot of things, but that's the problem.
Look, as the mother of two teens, generally, telling my kids to pause doesn't have a big effect. Teens are impulsive. They don't understand the consequences of their actions. And I think giving them vague information is generally not all that helpful.
COOPER: But you have got to give her credit, I mean, for doing this.
COOPER: And, you know, she could easily have not done it, although, you know, it's interesting, though.
COOPER: Some people have criticized her for -- that basically it sends a message like, you know, if you're rich and you have support, it's fine, but, if you don't, then don't get -- don't get pregnant.
BLOOM: No, I saw a lot of humility in that ad. What she's saying is, because I come from a famous family, you know, I have all of these privileges. I can wear the cute jacket and get my hair done and do a photo shoot, but, for most people, it's not like that.
I thought that was a good message in the ad, actually.
COOPER: All right.
Lisa Bloom, appreciate it. Lisa, thanks very much.
COOPER: A lot more ahead -- still ahead: The Tea Partiers unite. They plan to form a federation, a national federation. We will have -- we will take a -- take a look at that.
We're also at the Leadership Conference in New Orleans. We will talk to Candy -- Candy Crowley, David Gergen, and John Avlon about the "Raw Politics" of what the Tea Party is doing.
Plus, the latest from Haiti -- more than a million people living in tent cities, the rainy season bearing down. Why is it taking so long to move people to safety? We will talk to Sean Penn on the ground in Port-au-Prince.
COOPER: In "Raw Politics" tonight: a new development for the Tea Party movement. More than 20 Tea Party groups announced today that they're forming a national federation to promote their message. In the meantime, in New Orleans, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference kicked off. It's the most prominent gathering of Republicans outside their presidential nominating convention. So, here's what Newt Gingrich said just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What the left wants to do -- I mean, they know they can't win a fight where they -- where they're honest about who they are, so they want to be dishonest about who we are.
What the left wants to do is say we're the party of no. And so, here's what I want to ask you to encourage every candidate you know, every incumbent you know, every staff person you know, every consultant you know. I think we should decide we're going to be the party of yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right.
Let's get to the "Raw Politics" with senior political analyst David Gergen, Candy Crowley, and CNN contributor John Avlon.
David, how significant is this idea of forming a national grouping of Tea Party groups?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's an important evolution, Anderson, in the history of this. We will see where it goes.
But, in the minds of many Americans, the Tea Party folks seem to be a fringe group. I think they're becoming -- it's becoming apparent this is more and more a nationwide protest, in many ways.
I was struck by two polls recently, a Rasmussen poll, that find that more Americans believe that the Tea Party is aligned with their values on policies than believe that President Obama is aligned with them. That's pretty interesting.
There's a Gallup poll out now that's saying about 28 percent of Americans believe that they -- you know, they're basically within the Tea Party overall effort, that they agree with the -- the -- what the Tea Party is trying to do.
So, we're seeing a group that is trying to become mainstream, that's making strides in that direction. And it -- the federation also reflects their frustration at what they feel has been media misrepresentations over a long period of time.
COOPER: And fair enough on that, and I include myself on that probably early on.
John Avlon, though, as they define themselves, do they risk perhaps losing some of that -- that growing support, as they start to endorse particular candidates, define themselves on social issues, on financial issues?
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that is a line -- that is a line you walk.
What's interesting about this federation, it is an evolutionary step. It's a combination of grassroots groups and some more -- more foundational conservative movement groups that are all coming together, still loose, still really a press release federation.
But you're right. As they try to get more involved and play in Republican primaries, backing conservative candidates, already, you can see, with this declaration, they're trying to focus exclusively on fiscal issues, because that's the foundation. At its foundation, The Tea Party movement...
AVLON: ... is about anger at spending.
But the social issues are still part of their coalition. So, they use language like constitutionally-limited government as a way of creating a big tent for that issue without addressing it directly.
COOPER: Now, Candy, you're down in New Orleans at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. What are you hearing? I mean, is -- is this the year of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement, or is there resistance to that among -- among more establishment, you know, party candidates?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: None that I can find here, I have to tell you.
You heard Newt Gingrich tonight. While they didn't talk about Sarah Palin, who will be talking down here, they didn't talk about her from the podium, around in this group, she still remains a very electric candidate.
The Tea Party is something that Republicans simply know that they have to deal with. And what they're trying to do is embrace the ideals of the Tea Party, embrace the passion of the Tea Party member, without being linked to the excesses that are sometimes linked to the Tea Party, and not necessarily true.
So, you know, it is a fine line at times, but Republicans understand that a lot of the passion in politics right now is from the people who call themselves members of the Tea Party.
COOPER: And, David, how do you see Sarah Palin -- I mean, you know, she had a crowd of, what, was it 10,000 yesterday with -- with Michele Bachmann? There -- there are a few other Republican candidates who can get that kind of a crowd.
GERGEN: Well, that's absolutely right. And she's -- she's making tons of money on the lecture circuit, Anderson. You know, she gets heavily paid for these speeches. She's got a bunch of them scheduled this year. I continue to believe she's not going to be a candidate, but will be a force in Republican politics.
And one aspect of the Tea Party that we...
COOPER: Well, David, let me just jump in there.
GERGEN: Yes, go ahead.
COOPER: Why -- why wouldn't she be a candidate? I mean, I know it would obviously take away some of the earning power early on, but at least, by kind of staying in the -- in the mix, it sort of allows her to, you know, I mean, continue to kick up energy.
GERGEN: Well, you know, Anderson, when somebody resigns as governor before the term is -- long before the term is out, it does suggest, you know, they don't like governing all that much.
GERGEN: And she's having a whale of a good time out there now. She's got a major voice. She -- as you know, she has sold a ton of books. I think the she...
COOPER: Why mess it up with actually...
GERGEN: Well, what's the latest number on that?
COOPER: No, I was saying, why mess it up with actually running?
GERGEN: Well, that's right. And, you know, all the polls suggest she would have a very hard time winning.
But what I do think -- and Candy and John can speak to this -- is, to what degree are the Tea Party folks and Sarah Palin pulling the other candidates to the right, other Republicans?
And, John, you actually think she will be a candidate.
AVLON: I -- I do Sarah Palin will be a candidate. I think she's given herself a long runway, in effect, towards a 2012 run.
It's important to understand that she's no longer just the most polarizing figure in American politics. At this point, some of the polls show her national approval ratings at around 26 percent. But her approval rating among conservatives and Republicans is astronomical.
How much her supporters love her at this point should not be underestimated. And it might be enough to win a nomination, or at least make a nomination competitive. But, certainly, when you get in a general election, it becomes a serious, serious deficit.
So, that's one of the tensions that the Republican Party has got to work out.
COOPER: And, Candy, to David's question about the impact of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement on some of these other candidates, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, I mean, is it pulling them in a direction?
I mean, we have already seen this happen, with Tim Pawlenty pretty much considered to be a moderate, not always in line with some of the things that Palin says, certainly not seen as a conservative on the -- on the, you know, outer right wing of the party, he's out there. They need to embrace her.
On the other point that you're talking about, I -- I talked to someone tonight, Anderson, who said: I don't think she will run for president. I don't think she wants to be king. I think she wants to be a kingmaker.
And when you can draw those sorts of crowds, 10,000 people in April, before a November election, that pretty much does help make you a kingmaker.
She, meanwhile, can be raking in all this money with TV shows and books. And it's a safe place for her to be, because she doesn't have to be out there doing the interviews and talking policy. She can say what she wants without being challenged...
CROWLEY: ... in most of the positions she's in, and, yet, draw in all those forces.
COOPER: John, you were talking about the Tea Party movement and social issues.
COOPER: They -- they have been now campaigning today against Congressman Bart Stupak for his vote...
COOPER: ... his switched vote on -- on health care reform.
I want to play something from what we heard today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you guys hear about that retirement party we had for Harry Reid last week?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We think Bart Stupak should join him.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we are going to -- we invited Congressman Stupak to our Tea Party rallies over the next couple of days, and he has not RSVPed to us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. Is he here? Bart? Bart? Bart? You here, Bart? Bart?
No, he's not here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, you do see on social issues, like abortion, they're clearly -- some group, at least, that is bringing that up.
I mean, You know, if Stupak had actually ultimately not voted for it -- and he was going back and forth -- well, of course, he would be a hero to these folks. And the issue for him was the abortion provision in the health care bill.
But the overall anger at the health care bill was not about that provision. It was about stopping what those folks see as a big- government -- big-government scheme. But the fissures here are significant.
They're -- you know, they're trying to take a big step back and say, look, this is primarily about fiscal issues. But the danger is, you know, whenever that dose of Obama derangement syndrome sneaks in, or whenever some of the more -- rhetoric gets really excessive, that ends up being really a negative, and alienates the independent voters that the Tea Party needs to really become a broader movement.
John Avlon, David Gergen, Candy Crowley, thanks. Appreciate it.
Up next: an update on the breaking news we brought you last night, the passenger joking, his threat to blow up a plane. The joke he told led to chaos. So, what were the consequences of that? Details ahead.
And three of the teens charged with bullying Phoebe Prince, the young girl who ended up taking her own life, hanging herself on a stairwell, well, their lawyers were in court today. We will tell you what -- what happened in court.
COOPER: Coming up, a 360 follow. She was just 15 years old when she committed suicide. Prosecutors say Phoebe Prince took her life because of a gang of bullies, harassment that went on for more than three months. Six teens are charged in the case. Today new courtroom action. We'll have the details on that ahead.
First, Randi Kaye joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Obama and his Russian counterpart signed a major arms control agreement in the Czech Republic today. It cuts the number of nuclear weapons held by both countries by about a third. The Senate and Russia's legislature must still ratify that treaty.
Mohammed al-Madadi, a diplomat from the Persian Gulf country of Qatar, is a free man tonight, just one day after setting off a terrorism scare. Al-Madadi apparently lit a cigarette in the bathroom of a plane bound for Denver Wednesday night. He jokingly told an air marshal that he was trying to set his shoes on fire. But no explosives were found.
On the job front, the number of Americans filing for unemployment insurance for the first time jumped last week, up 18,000 claims to 460,000.
And take a look at this. These bones found in South Africa are the remains of a previously unknown species of man, nearly 2 million years old, in fact. Scientists say they walked upright and could easily climb trees.
COOPER: That's cool.
KAYE: Anderson, apparently, they were about four feet tall or so with very long arms. They think they might have been part human, maybe a little bit -- a little bit apelike, as well.
COOPER: Wow, that's cool.
COOPER: Neat to see.
All right. Coming up next, Sean Penn joins us from Haiti. It's now the rainy season, but the earthquake survivors remain in, well, not even tent cities, really. They're more like tarp cities that could be washed away. So what's the delay in moving them? We'll talk to Sean about that.
And later Tiger has returned to playing in the Masters and trying to put the scandal behind him.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Saving Haiti. Well, they survived the catastrophic earthquake. Now more than a million people in Haiti face another kind of potential disaster. We've been telling you about it, really, about the threat for weeks now.
It's the rainy season. It's putting families in not even tent cities -- tarp cities is what we're talking about -- in grave danger. Torrential rains could flood makeshift shelters. We've heard about the plans and the promises to relocate those at risk and to move them to new settlements. For months they were talking about that.
We're told now that the first wave of people to be moved will start this weekend. But will the sites be ready? That's the question we wanted to know. And are the people willing to go? We'll talk live to Sean Penn about the situation in a moment.
But first, Gary Tuchman reports tonight from Haiti.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this golf course in the hills above Port-au-Prince, there are no more greens or fairways. Instead, there are up to 60,000 displaced people in a place that regularly floods during rainy season. And it is now rainy season.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We don't like living here. But that's the way it is.
TUCHMAN: Any time now it could start raining for days on end. Because this camp is on a steep hillside, people could end up getting washed away. That's why, for many weeks, there has been talk of getting these and hundreds of thousands of other people in unsafe places out of Port-au-Prince to a safer place.
And this is that safer place. It's an area called Kiraly where this weekend Haitian families are expected to be bussed in to start new lives.
(on camera) This area is only about 45 minutes away from downtown Port-au-Prince. But for the mostly desperately poor, displaced people who don't own vehicles, and therefore never leave their densely- populated city, this could feel like being on the moon.
(voice-over) Back at the golf course, Selena Destina knows that she and her children are not safe here, but she's never spent any time out of Port-au-Prince.
SELENA DESTINA, EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR (through translator): I would like to go, but I don't know the area. I have to find out more about it.
TUCHMAN: Actor Sean Penn started an aide organization to help earthquake victims. His organization oversees the golf course camp. He's trying to explain to people here that it's imperative they go someplace safer. (on camera) So basically when the rains start coming, this creek starts overflowing and it's dark. I mean, children could just drown and be carried away in the rapids.
SEAN PENN, JP HAITIAN RELIEF ORGANIZATION: Absolutely. And you see these areas here. This all becomes very slick mud. And they were right on the edge of that, all the way up and down this ditch, because they come out of their tents to see what's happening. And they could slip right down into it. And they'd be carried away in the dark at this point.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Everyone agrees people who can't go back to their homes need to be in safer places. But why is it taking so long?
It's been talked about since the days after the quake, almost three months ago. "Keeping Them Honest," we asked a member of the Haitian presidential commission for reconstruction what took so long to declare eminent domain and buy these tracts of private land.
ABY BRUN, HAITIAN PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON RECONSTRUCTION: It ought to be done faster. But you have to coordinate it with the U.S. Army, the Corps of Engineers, with the U.N. people, with the Aruban (ph) community, with the Oxfam, all a bunch of actors, together.
FOREMAN: It was a bureaucratic nightmare.
BRUN: That is rough. I've been involved with the task force, you know. We presented the government in the process of trying to sort out and making some planning for it. At the beginning, now it's rolling. It's going to go faster.
FOREMAN (voice-over): When people arrive here, they will be given tents, but ultimately, they will have simple homes built for them. There will be food halls, medical care and opportunities to make money doing jobs in this new community.
But has the word gotten out? Does the U.N. really believe thousands of people will leave Port-au-Prince for a place they know nothing about?
(on camera) You expect -- you expect next week at this time that there will be thousands of people sleeping here, living here where we're standing right now?
GIOVANNI CASSANI, INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: Yes. It's going to happen.
TUCHMAN: Sunday is the target day for the new beginning.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
COOPER: Joining us now for the big 360 interview, Sean Penn, who you just saw in Gary's report. So Sean, your camp needs to move thousands of people. Today you all performed, I guess, a test run for the first relocation of about 100 families. How did it go?
PENN: Well, in any case, this is going to be at this stage some level of organized chaos. You know, I find it bewildering that so many of the aid organizations are so overextended and that the completion of one project is -- is difficult to task.
And we've got a couple of days to get things together, but in either case, the way that we're looking at it is the way that we struggle to focus people on, which is that this is very likely going to be a catastrophe if we don't make these relocations happen.
You get people to safer ground. There's a lot of complicated mechanics to it. And a lot of very skilled people, but in a circumstance where experience would be an arrogance. It's not something that anyone here has ever had to deal with in the complicated way that this disaster has played itself out in such a poverty-stricken zone.
COOPER: And I mean, you go to these meetings at the U.N. I'm sure you spent many hours in these meetings. What are they like? I mean, how -- how big a problem is this bureaucracy?
PENN: Well, it's a problem of bureaucracy, and it's also a problem of breaking through the glass in front of our own face and seeing just how real this concern is.
There's -- there's always a balance between the arguments for the perfect plan versus a decisiveness. And I think that you could find me clearly on the side of decisiveness, that as long as we make all efforts to -- certainly to be very honest with the people, to let them know what their option is, whether it relates to aid incentives or in terms of the danger, the risk that they are at by staying where they are, that at that point it is their option, that our prerogative is to provide an area where people may very well die if the rains get heavy, have an opportunity to live and then a lot more organization will have to go into that to get to the future.
But I -- you know, this is a disaster period where decisive action has to be taken. And this is a country that had minimal health care to begin with. And hospitals are being allowed to close, despite all the enormous funds that internationally and in the United States that people have put forward.
And I think it's time that they demand of the agencies to whom they've given the money, that they release those monies and spend them decisively. It's a six-month period. It has to be looked at as an emergency.
COOPER: Why are hospitals closing now? I mean, you have all these people who underwent amputations, who need follow-on care. Why has that happened?
PENN: Well, it's not only those that -- the follow-up care; it's also the care for the impending issues that are coming.
The reason that they're closing is because, in general, when you have these kinds of funds, the organizations themselves will contract and spend money on evaluators. That takes time. The negotiations take time.
And hospitals close while those negotiations go on before evaluations are ever made. And the hospitals run out of money after having not been able to pay staffs that have been working 12- and more hour shifts for all of these months and months before the earthquake happened.
And all of these agencies are aware of it, and they let it happen. They let it close. And if people die, the blood is on their hands.
COOPER: You know, what's the difference -- I mean, you used to watch this stuff on TV and see this stuff, and Katrina, that's what motivated you to go down there. You saw this in Haiti. That's what motivated you to go down there. You spent weeks and weeks there, longer probably than, certainly, any other well-known person, and you're running a camp of some 60,000 people.
What is different -- I mean, what have you learned about, you know, a lot of people look at the stuff, see it on TV. Over the last couple months, what have you learned about doing this, about how this -- how this actually works on the ground?
PENN: I think that in disaster over-caution kills people is the likely lesson. And I hope that we don't learn it factually.
COOPER: Sean Penn, I appreciate you being with us tonight, again. Thank you very much. We'll check in with you again.
PENN: Thanks a lot.
COOPER: Join the live chat now at AC360.com.
Still ahead tonight, "Keeping Them Honest." What Washington is doing or not doing to try to prevent Wall Street greed from triggering another financial meltdown. We're going to hear from Andrew Ross Sorkin, the author of "Too Big to Fail," about what happened on Capitol Hill today.
Plus a "Family Feud" contestant tells us why -- tells us why he thinks Ellen DeGeneres is famous. His answer is going to kind of stun you. Tonight's "Shot."
COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, how Wall Street greed almost took down our financial system and what Washington is doing or not doing to try to prevent it from happening again. Lawmakers hauled two of the players in the class, former Citigroup executives Charles Prince and Robert Rubin, to Capitol Hill today, and not for a friendly chat. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL ANGELIDES, CHAIRMAN, FINANCIAL CRISIS INQUIRY COMMISSION: I don't know that you can have it two ways. You either were pulling the levers or asleep at the switch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Phil Angelides, chairman of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. It's kind of like the 9/11 Commission, charged with digging into how the crisis that triggered the deep recession happened in the first place.
So the question tonight: who is Charles Prince and Robert Rubin? In case you don't know, I just want to walk you over to the wall here. Let's start with Prince.
Before Citigroup helped melt down Wall Street and the economy, before the government had to pump so much money into Citigroup that it became the bank's biggest shareholder, before all of that, way back in 2007, this guy was the one calling the shots in what was then the biggest bank in the U.S. and for a brief time even the biggest bank in the world.
Then, of course, it all collapsed, brought down by bad bets and by greedy bets on subprime mortgages. Now, here is what Prince had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES PRINCE, FORMER CEO/CHAIRMAN, CITIGROUP: I'm sorry that the financial crisis has had such a devastating impact on our country. I'm sorry for the millions of people, average Americans who have lost their homes, and I'm sorry that our management team, starting with me, like so many others, could not see the unprecedented market collapse that lay before us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. So he said he's sorry.
Now, when Prince was pressured to leave in 2007, guess how much money he got when he left? And this is already after the company had collapsed, lost some $60 billion in worth. His exit package at the time was worth about $40 million. Forty million dollars. It included stock and stock options, a bonus in 2007, a pension, an office with assistant. He even got a car and a driver for five years. You'd think with all that money, he could afford his own car and driver.
The man who replaced him, who replaced Prince, is this guy, Robert Rubin. Now, you may know him. Rubin took over as chairman and CEO. But according to Charles Prince, Rubin didn't have any responsibility for what happened to Citigroup. That's the story they gave today.
So "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, we're joined by Andrew Ross Sorkin, the author of "Too Big to Fail."
COOPER: Andrew, it's pretty incredible. I mean, we heard some apologies today from bank executives, but certainly that's no comfort to so many Americans who have lost their homes, lost their savings. And essentially, these bankers are repeating this theme that we've heard over and over again from them, that the crisis was unforeseeable. But, I mean, that's not true.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN, AUTHOR, "TOO BIG TO FAIL": There were no real apologies today. I think that they said they were sorry. They said that they were regretful, but they were regretful, what they said was, for not being more prescient. And that was really the comment, and I think that's what stuck with a lot of people, that it wasn't -- wasn't a true mea culpa.
COOPER: You would think these highly paid people, who were supposedly experts in this, would, you know, have had their eyes open.
SORKIN: When you think about, frankly, the numbers, the money, and when you think about Robert Rubin, who spoke in front of this commission today, when you think about Charles Prince, Chuck Prince, who was the CEO of the company during this time, and the amount of money that they took out of the company and made during this period. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars that these gentlemen made. And yet they didn't see it.
COOPER: And also, I learned from your writing that the CEO of Citigroup, Chuck Prince, when he left in 2007, I mean, after Citigroup's market value dropped over $60 billion...
COOPER: ... it's not as if he was -- kind of left quietly or was shown the door. They gave him, what, $12 million? It went down to $10 million?
SORKIN: This -- this to me was the most unconscionable part about it. You have Chuck Prince after the company, as you said, lost $64 billion in their market cap, and yet the board of directors is giving them a discretionary bonus. This was in no contract. They didn't have to do this. So this was literally a thank-you present on the way out, $12.5 million.
COOPER: In your book, you write, and I quote, that "the handful of proposals that have been introduced to put the financial system back in its right place and rein in risk have seemed tepid and halfhearted, at best."
Do you think the reforms that we're looking at now could prevent another crisis? I mean, does it have any teeth?
SORKIN: You know, I still am very, very worried that we're not really getting a changing the under girdings of Wall Street, the under girdings of our financial system. We're really just doing things that are quite superficial.
COOPER: But I mean, some of it's not brain surgery in terms of oversight. One of these bankers was saying, well, look, we were dealing in bonds and securities and vehicles that had AAA ratings from bond agencies. But those bond agencies were being paid by -- by these financial companies.
SORKIN: The rating agencies are a huge culprit in all of this, because this was a group that was giving them AAA ratings, the good housekeeping seal of approval on these things. And yet guess who was paying them? The banks. So the whole system was corrupted and conflicted from the very beginning.
COOPER: You know, one of the things that these bankers said -- and I don't want to misquote him. But he essentially was saying, "Look, you know, even if we saw the dangers ahead and knew the music would stop, we didn't want to stop dancing because if you stop dancing, your employees would leave and go to other places where they could make these huge salaries."
So there was a financial incentive to be irresponsible even for those who kind of knew, yes, this isn't sustainable.
SORKIN: You're referring to this great quote by Chuck Prince, who was the CEO of Citigroup, who said while the music's still playing, you've got to dance.
And in fact, today one of the comments that he made, and he had actually made two or three years ago, was that he was almost asking the regulators to step in and impose restrictions, because he felt that he as the CEO couldn't, that the industry had almost gotten too out of control.
COOPER: Of course, had he done that, he might not be quite so reviled and despised today.
SORKIN: You're absolutely correct. But I imagine he -- he would have argued at the time that he probably would have lost his job sooner.
COOPER: And I guess if you've got hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank, who cares about being reviled and despised? I think among your friends you're really quite popular.
SORKIN: I think that part of the problem with all of this was we created an incentives system where so many of the people that were in charge of risk at these firms had already made so much money. So they had taken the money out. They had an enormous cushion.
So you never had a situation where they really had their own net worth, their real money that really mattered on the line the same way so many people, frankly, on Main Street do every day.
COOPER: Yes. Andrew Ross Sorkin. The book is "Too Big to Fail." Andrew, thanks.
SORKIN: Thank you.
COOPER: That's unbelievable.
Coming up next, the latest, of the case of a Massachusetts high school student. Accused of being -- well, accused of bullying a 15- year-old classmate. Six of these students were accused of this. The girl killed herself, years old.
Plus, the game-shock shocker. When "Family Feud" contestant tells us why Ellen DeGeneres is famous. His answer is really kind of bizarre. You'll have to see it to believe it. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Following a number of other stories to tell you about, Randi Kaye has a "360 bulletin" -- Randi.
KAYE: Anderson, in Wet Virginia, the search for four missing miners could resume if the air quality in the Upper Big Branch Mine continues to improve. Rescuers entered the mine this morning but were pulled out when gas levels became just too high. Officials are taking air samples every 15 minutes and say the levels are decreasing.
A "360" follow now, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince hanged herself last January after months of harassment at a Massachusetts high school. Well, today lawyers entered "not guilty" pleas for three 16-year-old girls accused of bullying her. Three other teenagers have already pled "not guilty" to a long list of charges.
Tiger Woods today Shot a 4 under par 68 in Augusta, Georgia. That's his best opening-round score of his Masters career and his first tournament since the car accident last Thanksgiving led to sexual revelations and a more than four-month hiatus from the game of golf.
And two Canadian brothers adopted by different families spent years trying to find each other. They both contacted a post-adoption services agency that told them -- get this -- they were neighbors living just yards apart.
KAYE: Yes, for the past two years.
COOPER: That is crazy!
KAYE: They actually lived right across the street from each other. And from what I understand, one of them, who found out that this was the case, waited for the other one to get home from work one night, walked over and introduced himself.
COOPER: That is crazy. That's incredible.
KAYE: Isn't that amazing? COOPER: Unbelievable.
OK. I don't know if you've seen this "Shot." Ellen DeGeneres and "The Family Feud." This clip is on YouTube. She was one of the topics on the game show. The family is being asked to name something that everyone knows about her. Check out one of these responses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN O'HURLEY, HOST, "FAMILY FEUD": Everyone knows about Ellen DeGeneres.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know she has a talk show.
O'HURLEY: A talk show. Show me the talk show.
Something everyone knows about Ellen DeGeneres.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She loves to dance.
O'HURLEY: She loves to dance.
Mike. A chance now to sweep the board. What answer remains? Give it to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say that she doesn't like our country very well.
O'HURLEY: Doesn't like the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Likes to dance, but doesn't like our country?
COOPER: Why would this guy say that she doesn't like America? It's so bizarre. And what's even -- I find even odder is the audience is, like, "Oh, yes. What?"
KAYE: Cheering him on with that answer. What did that even mean?
COOPER: She doesn't like our country? I mean, who is this guy? Where does he get this idea? She's a very nice person.
KAYE: Yes. Clearly confused.
COOPER: All right. Much more of 360 just ahead.