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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Congressman Anthony Weiner Resigns; Mitt Romney Under Fire

Aired June 16, 2011 - 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: Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with a question about our politicians today. What exactly does a lawmaker have to do to get fired around here? Why do certain seemingly sleazy acts get you bounced out of office and other sleazy behavior just bounces off some politicians?

This afternoon, after 10 days of manscaped pecks and bulging shorts, not to mention compulsively sexualized messages to women he never met, including a stripper, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Democrat from New York's Ninth District, stepped down.

If this whole thing has seemed like a circus, today's final act was definitely fit for the center ring there. There were reporters in the crowd, as well as supporters, and, of course, a Howard Stern prankster, which explains some of the noise you're about to hear.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I'm here today to again apologize for the personal mistakes I have made and the embarrassment I have caused. I make this apology to my neighbors and my constituents, but I make it particularly to my wife Huma.

That's why I'm announcing today that I'm running for president of the United States...

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Goodbye, pervert!

WEINER: ... so my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can choose a new representative, and most importantly that my wife and I can continue to heal from the damage I have caused.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Weiner stepped down before the House possibly voted to censure or expel him, before the Ethics Committee voted, before it even issued a report, and with no any evidence that he broke any laws.

He apparently didn't even get physical with any of his online partners, never even met them.

Same with Weiner's New York Republican colleague Chris Lee, who posted this shot on Craigslist earlier this year in search of companionship. He wan gone in four hours. On the other hand, there's Idaho Senator Larry Craig arrested allegedly cruising the men's room stall at the Minneapolis Airport playing footsie. Remember his excuse that he had a wide stance.

He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct, stuck it out and finished his term. New York Congressman Charles Rangel got in tax trouble and was charged with 13 counts of abusing his office by the House Ethics Committee. Then he was censured. But he too didn't quit and was recently reelected with 80 percent of the vote.

GOP Senator David Vitter also got reelected and is serving today despite the fact that his name turned up on the D.C. madam's client list. He admitted to -- quote -- "a very serious sin" and asked forgiveness. He stayed in the Senate, was reelected.

Ironically, he originally succeeded this man in the House, Bob Livingston, who resigned after committing adultery. And Livingston had just been to replace Newt Gingrich, who now admits that back then, when he was leading the impeachment effort against President Clinton, that he was having an affair with a woman who would become his current wife, Callista.

President Clinton survived as well, but Anthony Weiner did not. He lost the support of his colleagues, the House Democratic leadership, and President Obama, who said he'd resign if he were in Weiner's shoes.

Tonight, on ABC News, the president seemed to be easing him out the door.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wish Representative Weiner and his lovely wife well. It obviously has been a tough incident for him. But I'm confident that they will refocus, and he will refocus, and they will end up to being able to bounce back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: President Obama tonight on ABC.

So what are the rules? Where are the lines, if there are any lines at all?

Joining us now, Dana Bash and Melanie Sloan of Citizens For Ethics and Responsibility in Washington.

So, Dana, was this resignation unavoidable? Was it just that -- was there another way he could have handed it that he could have survived? DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, talk to some of his colleagues, as I have over the past several weeks, particularly today, and they say, yes, actually, that the way that he handled it was atrocious. There's really no other way to say it.

Never mind what is at the core of this, which is sending lewd photographs of himself that kept trickling out over and over and over the past couple of weeks, but most importantly it's the fact that he just was so not truthful about the fact that he had done it, the fact that he not only said that he was hacked, which was not truth. Then he didn't answer our questions. Then he didn't tell the truth and actually blatantly lied to us in the media, but even more importantly to his colleagues, that that really as one of his colleagues said to me, it's always the cover-up.

And the cover-up at this point and the fact that he didn't tell the truth really did him in.

COOPER: But, Melanie, he also didn't really have many friends in Congress. I'm wondering what role that played. If he had been a senator, would he have resigned?

MELANIE SLOAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON: There's no question but that if he'd been in the Senate, he wouldn't have had to resign.

COOPER: Why is that?

SLOAN: The Senate really never seems to demand resignation of even their most egregious offenders.

If you think about it, no one asked for David Vitter's resignation. No even asked for Senator John Ensign's resignation, even though he would eventually have gone on to have been expelled by his colleagues.

COOPER: So none of the fellow senators asked for Vitter to resign or Ensign?

SLOAN: Not a single one asked for it.

COOPER: And this is the first time that Nancy Pelosi has actually asked for somebody to step down.

SLOAN: That's right.

Financial scandals don't seem to bring about nearly the same reaction. Nancy Pelosi never asked for Congressman John Rangel -- Charlie Rangel to resign. And so we have seen numerous members manage to stave off these kind of efforts. And I think part of it for Anthony Weiner is, he didn't really have any friends in Congress.

He hadn't built the goodwill that, Charlie Rangel had over his over 40 years in Congress.

COOPER: Dana, I find that fascinating. Do you agree with that, that if he had been in the Senate, if Weiner had been in the Senate, it would be a different story?

BASH: I think the best way to say it is that every situation is different. That might sound like a cop-out, but it happens to be true.

I will tell you, with Larry Craig, I spent some time in Idaho trying to -- following the story and trying to figure out exactly what went on. And at the time -- I covered it real-time -- his colleagues did try to push him out. They tried very, very hard to push him out. They were unsuccessful.

And I'm talking about his colleagues in his own party. They were not successful in doing so. They stripped him of his leadership role and they really tried to get him out the door. He was determined to stay. At a certain point, there's not much you can do.

But I guess the difference -- there are lots of differences, obviously, but this was an incident. With Anthony Weiner, again, we're talking about the span of almost three weeks here, Anderson, with new stories, new pictures, new allegations coming out every single day of frankly unsolicited pictures he was taking of himself going to women that he didn't know and, even at the end of the day, really, the straw that broke the camel's back, from many leadership sources and members of Congress that I spoke to, was the fact that he sent some messages to a 17-year-old girl.

He said they weren't indecent, but just the fact that this was on top of everything else, it just -- the story is something that is unique in and of itself.

COOPER: Melanie, do you think this somehow changes things on Capitol Hill in terms of -- that there's now a higher level of -- or a lower level of tolerance for this sort of behavior? How do you think it impacts things?

SLOAN: I think it is a big risk for members of Congress. If they're going to have a standard where any sexual impropriety at all is going to force a member of Congress to be booted, I think we could see a lot of members go out the door.

I think we could see a lot of opposition research on this issue and investigative journalists looking at this. And I think this is a standard members of Congress need to be very cautious about. There was no ethics rule or federal law violated. And now, if we're going to start kicking everybody out for sexual misconduct, even not actual misconduct, but just sexual impropriety, I think a lot of members have something to worry about here.

COOPER: Fascinating.

Melanie Sloan, appreciate it.

Dana Bash, you have been covering this from the beginning. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

BASH: Thanks, Anderson. COOPER: Anthony Weiner says he will be going to rehab -- quote -- "to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person."

I spoke earlier about his prospects with Dr. Drew Pinsky, addiction medicine specialist and host of "Dr. Drew" on our sister network HLN.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Anthony Weiner has talked about going away for some sort of treatment. Is there rehab for -- I'm not sure what the treatment would actually be.

Is that just kind of a -- there's a catchall excuse now of, like, well, I'm going to go to rehab and disappear for a couple of weeks and then come back and make a comeback. Is there something that he can be treated for?

DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, "CRACKED: PUTTING BROKEN LIVES TOGETHER AGAIN": Well, first to address the rehab, that's a term that really doesn't even have any meaning anymore.

I mean, the fact is, is he going to a psychiatric hospital and getting treatment? Is he going to treatment for sexual addiction or drug addiction? Or is this a hospital-based program or a residential program?

So, he's going somewhere, going to rehab. Now, in -- I don't know Representative Weiner, obviously, but people that behave like this, I have treated many, many times. And we tend to conceptualize these things as sexual addictions.

And, yes, they do -- they can go away for intensive, immersive programs with a deep -- with intense emotional processes with men who have had problems exactly like him. And it's really about...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, is that sex therapy, or is that about compulsive behavior? What -- I mean, how would you characterize -- because it does seem a compulsive nature. I mean, you read those tweets. And a woman is tweeting about something he said on TV, and he immediately is steering it toward sexual innuendo.

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY: Yes. That's right. He -- and we would put that -- I would at least put that, not knowing him, but based on what we're seeing here, in the category of sexual addiction, sexual compulsion.

And, yes, that has a comprehensive group process, individual therapy and 12-step, and sometimes medication associated with that. But foremost among that is gaining access to an honest program of recovery that is rigorous and intense and delicate. And, ultimately, it's about reintegrating emotional processes. Men that do this usually have a very barren emotional life, and they're just trying to evoke something. And that seems to be what is going on here with Representative Weiner.

COOPER: You say reintegrating emotional processes, that part of the treatment. What does that mean?

PINSKY: Yes. I know. This is a -- it's a hard -- if you have ever seen "Celebrity Rehab," it's the reason I did that program, is to show people that this is a very intensive process. It's a group process. It's about being called out on your emotions, being open and honest, and processing things that you may have put way behind you and thought you had dealt with.

And those things need to be brought back into and integrated with the rest of his emotional life.

COOPER: You know, though, some people, maybe a lot of people, listening to this are going to be kind of rolling their eyes and be like, come on.

PINSKY: Yes.

COOPER: All right, he was sexting and now he's going to go for deep treatment? I mean, that, look, he got caught doing something that probably a lot of people do.

PINSKY: Absolutely, that's true. But the fact is that he -- if you have seen -- I have actually read some of the stuff he was engaged in. It's -- it's -- I couldn't repeat it in a room. There's no way. It was pretty intense stuff.

It's not just the blush we have been sort of presented in the media. It went downstream very, very far and very, very quickly in many of these interactions. And that, in the context of there being severe consequences and so much to be at risk, suggested he was not operating at let's call it a normal space emotionally at that point in time.

It's those consequences that bring people to treatment. I know everyone goes, oh, men in power. And that's true. Men go into positions of power to be somebody. But you notice we don't see there's women in power doing this. Women in power often go into power to do something different.

But men that need to be somebody often have narcissistic liabilities. Anderson, you and I have talked about this over the years many, many times. And, as such...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Not in a therapeutic setting, but on television.

PINSKY: Yes, on television, we have talked about it.

(LAUGHTER) PINSKY: That's exactly right.

And -- because -- because these things do happen in celebrities and men in position of power, and it's not a happy thing for them. It's a very empty life they're leading. They need to be buttressed by these sort of external features around them to make them feel OK about themselves.

And they continue to have deep emotional liabilities, many of them. And that's what's sort of come out here. And so when you roll your eyes and say, oh, men in power, they just wouldn't do anything if they didn't get caught, absolutely that's true. The same is true of my cocaine addicts, and my alcoholics, my pill addicts.

If the legal system didn't come to bear or their family bring them in or their health consequences didn't come to bear, they keep doing it. It's true of all these kinds of -- the compulsive behaviors.

COOPER: Dr. Drew, thanks. Fascinating.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I will have actually more with Dr. Drew later in the program. We talked about Casey Anthony, who's already established herself as a world-class liar. I will ask whether that is any reason to believe she's also a killer.

And the defense's question about little Caylee that shook up the courtroom today: Did the FBI do a test to see if Caylee's uncle or grandfather could also be her father? You will hear what the jury heard about that today.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight as well.

Up next: the storm over Mitt Romney's joke that he's also unemployed. Was it insensitive or just getting a laugh at his own expense? And does it matter that he made it after attacking President Obama for something he said about the economy? You decide. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

First, let's check in with Isha Sesay -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, is Moammar Gadhafi ready to step down?

Just ahead, we will tell you what the latest envoy to Libya is saying about it. Also, late word from his son about elections -- that and much more when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So, was it something he said? Mitt Romney today campaigning in Tampa cracking a joke, which he does sometimes. He recently made a pun out of the words hubcap and hollandaise. But this time, the joke was about being jobless. And it came right after he ran an ad slamming President Obama for something he said about the economy.

First, the Romney joke at a Tampa restaurant talking to a group of unemployed Floridians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I should also tell my story. I'm also unemployed.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you on LinkedIn?

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: Yes, actually. And -- and I'm not working.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot better than what we have got.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: And -- but I have my sight on a particular job I'm looking for. So, I know exactly what I'm (INAUDIBLE). It's not terribly entrepreneurial, but it's a lot of work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Wow. So that was the joke, got a laugh in the room. But it stirred up kind of a political storm.

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz putting out a statement blasting it, saying in part: "Being unemployed, Mr. Romney, is not a joke, not to my constituents in Florida or to millions of Americans across the country."

She also pointed out that Governor Romney doesn't really need the job. He's reportedly worth more than $200 million and owns several homes around the country.

Asked about his joke later, Governor Romney said he was only making light of himself. You can decide for yourself whether he was or wasn't.

But, "Keeping Them Honest," the joke came in a certain context. Earlier this month, President Obama said this about a shaky jobs report just out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, those four words, "bumps on the road," Governor Romney turned them into a campaign ad accusing President Obama of, well, being insensitive to the unemployed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am an American, not a bump in the road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an American, not a bump in the road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm an American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an American.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a bump in the road.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an American, not a bump in the road.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, was the president of the United States comparing Americans to bumps in the road or, at best, somehow downplaying their misfortunes? Or was he just using a slightly clunky metaphor?

Was Governor Romney being insensitive or just being his self?

I asked a pair of professionals, GOP strategist Tony Blankley and Cornell Belcher, who worked on the 2008 Obama campaign and will be again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Tony, Democrats are now kind of jumping all over Mitt Romney for the statement about, I'm unemployed as well.

Is there a problem here? Or do you think this is much ado about nothing?

TONY BLANKLEY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's much ado about a little.

Gore Vidal wrote many years ago that American public likes a genial president, but not a jokester. And I think that's largely true. Someone like Reagan or FDR can get away with it because they have such wonderful personalities. But whether it was the president making a joke about shovel-ready or whether it's Romney making a joke about unemployment, I think their best interests is in not making jokes.

COOPER: I mean, Cornell, I kind of -- we debated even doing this, because when you see it, he was clearly sort of trying to make a lighthearted thing. And the people around the table didn't seem to be particularly offended at all. But I guess, in the wake of him jumping on President Obama for using the term bumps in the road, he put out a whole commercial making it seem like the president was talking about people, you know, who are laying in the road, and that they weren't just bumps in the road.

I mean, do you think this is part of a larger problem for Romney?

CORNELL BELCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think he has a connection problem. And you can see his people think he has a connection problem. And he's working real hard to try to connect with the regular guy.

So I think he -- he's trying too hard, and they have got to fix it. Look, it's ridiculous that a guy who is worth a couple hundred million dollars is going to talk about him being unemployed. It's almost insulting to people who are unemployed.

But from a larger campaign strategy standpoint, he clearly is trying to sort of connect with the regular guy, and they clearly see this as a problem. But he's just not doing it very well.

COOPER: It is interesting, Tony. There have been recently kind of a number of pretty devastating accounts by reporters kind of following Romney on the road of just -- he's gotten better, it seems like, in press conferences, in debates. He's become -- he's clearly the front-runner right now.

But on kind of one-on-one moments, which are now increasingly recorded, he seems to have a lot of awkwardness.

BLANKLEY: Well, I think anyone who becomes a front-runner is more vulnerable to these sort of things.

Plus, the media also gets into the rhythm of a particular critique of one candidate or the other. And, right now, they're in that kind of mode looking for little examples. Right now, the rhythm is to see if Romney says anything that's not regular guy.

Well, I mean, the truth is, he's not a regular guy. Rockefeller wasn't a regular guy. They got to figure out how to be themselves and be sort of accessible to the public without pretending to be a 9-to- 5er.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, I don't think anyone who's a regular guy or a regular woman runs for president and can actually become president.

BLANKLEY: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: You have to be kind of extraordinary on -- in many levels.

BLANKLEY: You have got to be something a little different. There's only been 44 of them, yes. (LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Right.

So, Cornell, if you were advising Romney how to proceed, because, clearly, if he's the front-runner right now and is going to be -- everybody's going to be out for him one way or another, how does he avoid this trap in the future? What would you advise him?

BELCHER: This is the great sin, is voters can smell inauthenticity a mile away. So he's got to come across as authentic.

In these situations, he comes across as inauthentic. So I would try to get him out of those situations. But the problem is, in New Hampshire and Iowa, that's retail politics 101 at its best. So, you have got to be out there touching the flesh and talking to people.

And to a certain extent, if he's not very good at it, they have got to take him out of those situations as much as possible, because, clearly, here's a guy -- I'm sorry -- he's just not very good at it. So, they have got to keep -- sort of limit those situations. But it's hard in Iowa and New Hampshire.

COOPER: I want to ask just both of you just in general about the GOP field right now.

Tony, as you watch the field right now, what interests you the most? What do you think is most -- what are you going to be watching for, besides anyone new entering the race? But what are you going to be watching for with the current candidates in the next couple weeks?

BLANKLEY: Well, I think the question is, increasingly, who is going to be the alternative to Romney?

I mean, Romney's not quite a front-runner, but he's almost. He's around 25, 30 percent in a split field. So, the question is, who is going to emerge as the alternative down the stretch? We're a long way from the stretch. But June is remarkably close to September, which is remarkably close to January. So, it moves faster than you would expect.

COOPER: Cornell, how about you? Because what's so interesting about races is that they have seen one way early on, and then -- you look at Hillary Clinton was thought to be way out in front early on, and then all of a sudden here came then Senator Barack Obama.

BELCHER: And I'm very thankful for that.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Right, as his former pollster, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER) BELCHER: When you look at sort of the mood of the country, voters were looking for change. And there was an anti-establishment, sort of anti-Washington fervor that was going on in the country two years ago.

And I thought we saw that manifest itself in the Democratic primary. I think we're going to see that same sort of thing manifesting itself on the right this time, particularly with the Tea Party.

I kind of like the outside candidates' chances in this to sort of -- to come in here. And I'll tell you what. A lot of people didn't agree with me, but Michele Bachmann had the -- has the largest sort of upside. And I think she showed herself very well in that last debate.

I think she can speak to the Tea Party. And I think she's the outside candidate who can cut in here.

COOPER: Tony Blankley, good to have you on the program. Thank you.

BLANKLEY: Good to be here.

COOPER: And Cornell Belcher as well -- thanks, Cornell.

BELCHER: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot coming up.

The defense starts its case in the murder trial of Casey Anthony, a fascinating day in court. We're going to get the latest on exactly what happened from Gary Tuchman in Orlando, who was there. And we will hear more from Dr. Drew about what could be going on with Casey, whether she's a pathological liar and what that really actually means -- all that ahead.

Also, al Qaeda names a new leader to take over for Osama bin Laden. But could the delay mean there's dissension in the ranks?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, one of the most intriguing parts of watching the Casey Anthony murder trial is trying to figure out what is going on with Casey Anthony.

I talked with Dr. Drew to take -- get his take on it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PINSKY: So far, there's really nothing that has been offered that gives me as a clinician a way to understand exactly what this behavior has been.

The way things have played out in court makes it look like she's a psychopath, makes it look like she's a really, egregiously awful parent, and probably somebody who's capable of hurting this child.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're going to more with Dr. Drew and the latest from inside the court today coming up.

But, first, Isha joins us back with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Ayman al- Zawahri has been named the new leader of al Qaeda. Al-Zawahri was Osama bin Laden's personal physician and one of his closest confidants.

Some analysts say the fact that it took al Qaeda weeks after bin Laden's death to name a new leader could be a sign that there's dissension in the ranks.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son Saif says there could be elections in Libya within three months. Saif Gadhafi told an Italian newspaper that the U.N., NATO or other international observers could be there to make sure it's a fair election. Meanwhile, a Russian envoy who was in Libya says he was told that Gadhafi is not ready to step down.

California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed the budget that state lawmakers passed. Brown said the budget, the proposed budget adds billions of dollars of new debt, and the state has to do better to solve its $26 billion deficit.

And, Anderson, the city of Vancouver is cleaning up the mess from rioting. Cars were overturned, fires were set, and police used tear gas after the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup. A local bar owner says it comes down to too many people having too much to drink.

You think?

COOPER: Really surprising stuff.

SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: All right, time for the "Shot."

I had heard about this, Isha, actually from Twitter. A lot of folks tweeted me that this had happened. Are you up for a little "Wheel of Fortune"?

SESAY: Let's do it.

COOPER: All right.

This is from tonight's show. The category is same name. Let's take a look at how this all played out on the show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WHEEL OF FORTUNE")

PAT SAJAK, HOST: Andy (ph), it's your turn.

This is going to be close. Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Darn.

SAJAK: Wow.

Sean (ph), what do you want to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to solve, please.

SAJAK: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anderson and Mini Cooper.

SAJAK: Yes, that's right.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I hope they're talking about the car. But...

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: But I'm sad that I also -- that I bankrupted that person.

SESAY: Oh. Well...

COOPER: I mean, I didn't technically bankrupt the person. But...

SESAY: Technically, you didn't. But I'm told that they're watching the show right now.

COOPER: It's that damn Pat Sajak.

(LAUGHTER)

SESAY: Yes, indeed. Well, they know not to bet on you anymore.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Yes. I'm a good bet. Anyway...

SESAY: As he says of himself.

COOPER: It was -- not exactly. It was very exciting, though, to see -- see Vanna White, you know. Is she still doing it? OK. Yes. Seeing Vanna White turn the things. I got very excited.

SESAY: OK. If you say so. In the U.K., we have a different version of the show. Different people. COOPER: Oh, really? Do you know who the original host of "Wheel of Fortune" was and the original letter turner? I don't know why I know this.

SESAY: No. But I know you're going to freak everyone out with your geekiness.

COOPER: Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford. Thank you very much.

SESAY: There you go.

COOPER: Good night, everybody.

SESAY: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

COOPER: I don't know why I know that. I'm pretty sure that's right. Somebody on Twitter will correct me if I'm wrong.

SESAY: They will, indeed. But we're going to work to find out if you're right and we'll tell you before the end of the show.

COOPER: Chuck Woolery went on to do "Love Connection." Again, why I know this I don't know.

SESAY: OK, now you're beginning to scare me.

COOPER: All right.

SESAY: Is there an exit?

COOPER: Exit stage left. All right.

There's a lot more ahead, serious stuff starting with "Crime & Punishment." The latest on the Casey Anthony trial. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Crime & Punishment," a new phase of the Casey Anthony murder trial began today in a Florida courtroom, exactly three years after 2-year-old Caylee Anthony was last seen alive. You can see how some people marked the sad anniversary at the site where the toddler's remains were found, paying their respects to the little girl whose mom didn't report her missing for a month.

Now Casey Anthony is facing a possible death sentence if she's convicted. Today, with an explosive question, her defense team came out swinging. Here's Gary Tuchman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Casey Anthony's attorneys have now begun to present their case.

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY'S ATTORNEY: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. TUCHMAN: Their effort to free her, or at the very least save her life, started out with some hard ball. At the start of the trial, the defense said Caylee Anthony accidentally drowned, and then put out a shocking claim, that Casey was molested by her father and brother. The defense contends the history of incest was a reason she kept her daughter's drowning a secret.

Today her attorneys tried to reignite that legal flame. Listen to what defense attorney Jose Baez asked a FBI scientist.

BAEZ: Were you asked to conduct a paternity test for Lee Anthony as to being a potential father of Caylee Anthony?

TUCHMAN: Prosecutors quickly objected. Baez knew full well the paternity tests had come back negative for both her father and brother. But he clearly wanted the jury to know those paternity tests had been done.

(on camera) But so far there is nobody on the defense witness list who will testify about the possible relationship between incest and keeping your child's death secret. One person who might fill that role is Casey Anthony herself. But her attorneys are still not saying if she'll take the stand.

(voice-over) What they focused on today was DNA, specifically the lack of it on critical evidence. Like the duct tape found on the child's skull.

BAEZ: Did you test the adhesive side of the duct tape?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I did.

BAEZ: And was there anything that you were able to find there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The information that was generated was inconclusive.

TUCHMAN: But the prosecution asked the same expert what happens to DNA after months in the heat and humidity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is probable that if there were cells contained on there, that the cells could start to degrade over time and the DNA that would be contained in there would also start to be diminished.

TUCHMAN: Not all the testimony on this day was serious. Listen to this crime scene investigator.

BAEZ: Do you speak while you're doing these things?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

BAEZ: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I'm by myself.

BAEZ: OK.

TUCHMAN: It's rare to see Casey Anthony smile in the presence of the jury. But she did today as the defense makes its push to convince those jurors she did not kill her daughter.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Gary, you were sitting near Casey Anthony's parents in court today. I'm fascinated. So what were their reactions when the whole question of paternity tests came up?

TUCHMAN: The rules in the court, Anderson, are no one is allowed to talk, whether you're the family, the media, the public. So they follow the rules. And they did not talk.

But I looked at their faces during this testimony. Both George and Cindy looked very serious and very sad.

George had a Bible with him today. He thumbed through the Bible during parts of the testimony. He also had a notebook. And on the notebook he had a badge with a picture of little Caylee.

One other rule, Anderson, I want to talk to you about in the courtroom, and that's the rule there's no sleeping allowed or you'll get kicked out. You may wonder, why would you go to court and fall asleep? What's happening is people are camping out. Right now there's about 40 people behind me who have been here for two hours, 12 hours before court starts tomorrow. They're so tired by the time they get into court they fall asleep. And at least four people were kicked out of court today for crashing in the middle of the DNA testimony.

COOPER: And I guess, I mean, the question, and there's no answer to it, but I mean, any indications whether or not Casey Anthony is going to take the stand?

TUCHMAN: I would have told you yesterday it was 50/50. I say it's less than that today, because the defense has made it clear they have a lot of people they want to call to the stand, a lot of science witnesses. And sometimes when you have that many science witnesses you don't call the star witness. Because once you call the star witness, the jury starts ignoring all the other testimony they've heard, and they clearly want people to hear this testimony from these scientific witnesses they're calling.

COOPER: Gary, appreciate it. Thanks.

The defense made it clear today they're going to try to build on the accusations they made in their opening statements about Casey Anthony being sexually abused by her father and brother. That's the allegations. I also talked about that with Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN's "DR. DREW."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Dr. Drew, with as many lies as Casey Anthony has told, is it possible that on some level she actually believes the story she's told everyone about the death of her daughter?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW": I don't know about that particular lie, but there's no doubt in my mind that she is one of these people that does believe the lies that she maintains. And when you really look at her, the only thing we know about Casey Anthony for sure of a factual nature is that she's a spectacular liar.

COOPER: Pathological liar? I mean, you hear that term bandied about.

PINSKY: Absolutely, absolutely. I will tell you, when you read the literature on pathological lying, though, what you see is that pathological lying never exists as an entity unto itself. It always exists in a context of other personality disorders, drug addiction, some other explanation for why the pathology is going on.

I've even speculated, and no one has been able to, you know, answer me on this, you know, maybe she had a head injury as a child. Maybe there's a neurological explanation for this. Because when you read the lies, they are so stunning, we don't know, is she a psychopath who's a cold-blooded killer? Is she a sociopath who doesn't really appreciate that other people have feelings? Is she a drug addict possibly? I mean, none of these things have been presented in court.

But so far, there's really no -- nothing that has been offered that gives me as a clinician a way to understand exactly what this behavior has been. The way things have played out in court makes it look like she's a psychopath, makes it looks like she's a really egregiously awful parent and probably somebody who's capable of hurting this child.

COOPER: And, you know, they're alleging sexual abuse by her brother and by her father. Is that something, though, that comes out in the ways that they're saying it does in her case, which is the -- her reaction to the death of her daughter?

PINSKY: That's the case they're making. But you know, as I've said on my program several times, which is I treat lots of drug addicts. They're terrible parents. I treat lots of trauma survivors. That doesn't make them murderers. In fact, I never see that. That never happens. It makes them bad parents, and it may make them do strange things after a loss. I mean, that maybe explains her behavior, after being aware that something had happened to her child.

But even that, I mean, that's a reach. It really is. And by the way, especially they've not really proven severe sexual abuse. You'd have to really show chronic, ongoing sexual abuse.

COOPER: They've not shown it.

PINSKY: No. They've just alleged that maybe something happened with her brother and maybe something happened with her dad. In my experience, that's not enough to explain wild lying and wild behavior and extreme partying after your child has died.

COOPER: Dr. Drew Pinsky, thanks.

PINSKY: A pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's bring in our legal experts. Andrea Lyon is Casey Anthony's former lead defense attorney. She's the author of "Angel of Death Row" and a law professor at DePaw University. Paul Henderson is a prosecutor.

So Paul, why is the defense raising the question of whether Casey's brother or father were the father of her little girl? Neither of them was the father, according to DNA testing. So they already know that. Is this just a ploy to get this -- put a suggestion in front of the jury?

PAUL HENDERSON, PROSECUTOR: Absolutely. This is just a red herring that they're throwing out there to try and paint a picture without putting her on the stand.

And the reason that you know that that's the case is because up until now, they never requested any of that DNA be tested. And if they really suspected that this was a possibility, they could have easily have asked the prosecution to have the DNA tested for that likelihood.

ANDREA LYON, CASEY'S FORMER ATTORNEY: The prosecution are the ones who requested that it be tested. I think that that might be the purpose of asking the questions in the first place, is to show that prosecution, the police, suspected incest.

COOPER: The jury now still doesn't have an answer about George Anthony. There was an argument between the lawyers. The jury was excused from the room. When they came back, the defense asked about the results of the brother, Lee. The defense didn't ask about George Anthony. And so the question is, perhaps, in the jurors' mind now about George Anthony.

HENDERSON: Look, they know that only way that they're going to be able to pitch their story in terms of an inference of molestation or an inference of incest is going to be for her to have to take the stand. The only way around that is to show, through some DNA evidence that does not exist, you know. I think that this was just a ruse and a red herring to try and distract the jury from what's really going on, which is the ultimate question of was she responsible for the death and the murder of her child?

LYON: To be fair, the prosecution is asking the jury to draw a lot of inferences. She's at a party, she's a murderer. She lies, she's a murderer. So I mean, just to be fair, there's an awful lot of inference slinging in this trial.

COOPER: So how damaging, Paul, do you think it was for the prosecution, the fact that there was testimony today that DNA -- that Casey's DNA was not found on the duct tape? And that in fact, one piece -- part of the duct tape had been contaminated by another technician?

HENDERSON: Whether or not the experts or the people in the labs had mishandled that piece of evidence and how they were processing it, it doesn't take away from the end results, which is that that duct tape was found wrapped around the skull of the child.

LYON: I've got to respectfully disagree with you, Paul, because here's the thing. They're saying that this tape proves homicide. But the tape doesn't have Caylee's DNA on it. It doesn't have Casey's DNA on it. It's still sticky and capable of capturing DNA. It has the DNA of this technician and an unknown male on it.

COOPER: The defense wants to call basically a surprise witness, a man who served 10 years for kidnapping, who the defense says is somehow -- well, they haven't said how he may or may not be connected to Casey's father. They say there were phone calls between Casey's father and this person. George Anthony's lawyer says George Anthony doesn't know the guy.

Paul, in your opinion, is this just another effort to kind of bring George Anthony into this as a possible player?

HENDERSON: Absolutely. Because there is no shred of evidence, nothing. There is no evidence in the record in its entirety that indicates that anyone -- that there's a tie with this individual.

LYON: You have to remember that the prosecution has thrown up as much stuff to see if it sticks. You tell me that it is relevant to whether or not this young woman killed her child as to whether or not she got a tattoo sometime later.

The point that I'm making is, this is a circumstantial evidence case.

COOPER: Would a defense attorney at this point already know whether or not they want to put their client, in this case Casey Anthony, on the stand?

LYON: Not necessarily. They wouldn't necessarily know. And it kind of reminds me of a case where I had a client who was a displaced West Virginia coal miner. And he had good things and important things to say. But he had a very odd way of presenting himself. He didn't express emotions the way normal people do.

And so the decision whether to call him was complicated by the way that I feared that a jury might look at him as a person. And so this is a very complicated decision.

COOPER: And Paul, in particular also because of all the tapes of her lying.

HENDERSON: Well, this is not just a case about someone that has abhorrent behavior or bad behavior. It's the context that those lies are given to the people around her.

LYON: There's no cause of death. You have to remember that. There is no cause of death. They cannot say that this was a -- that this was a homicide based on the medical evidence. They cannot say that.

HENDERSON: And we don't know the cause of death because someone hid the body. Someone removed the body that prevented an autopsy from being done in a timely fashion.

LYON: OK.

HENDERSON: And the facts and the evidence indicate that it was likely the mother, because she was last in control of the body.

LYON: But remember, you're using words like "likely." And likely is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

COOPER: All right. Got to leave you there. Andrea Lyon, thank you for being on.

Paul Henderson, as well. Fascinating discussion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Coming up later, Anthony Weiner stepping down 10 days after he admitted he sent lewd photos to several women. We'll have the latest on that, why -- and the question why some politicians survive scandals while others call it quits. Where does Washington actually draw the line?

And no stranger to ""The RidicuList"," The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse and the Co-Prophet of the End Times, the man obsessed with hidden phallic images at the Denver National Airport is back. A three-peat on ""The RidicuList"." The first time ever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we have what I believe is the first ever "RidicuList" three-peat. And who better to make "RidicuList" history than our friend William Tapley, better known as...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM TAPLEY, THIRD EAGLE OF THE APOCALYPSE: The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse and the Co-Prophet of the End Times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: How do you get to be the Co-Prophet of the End Times? I mean, is it such a sought-after position that they have to divide it up?

Anyway, as any fan of the Third Eagle's YouTube videos knows, he is, for some inexplicable reason, kind of obsessed with hidden phalluses, which he sees all over the Denver International Airport.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TAPLEY: They are evil. They are signs of Satanism. And on this program I with point out that many of them are phallic symbols.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The box on the penguin -- that's the box on the penguin -- has a prominent penguin penis. He's even highlighted it for your enjoyment. This is on a painting, apparently, at the Denver International Airport.

And I put him on "The RidicuList" a while back. He responded. I put him on again. And now, like manna from heaven -- and if you by manna mean man parts -- he's responded again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: I guess you could call this the rubber match. Well, maybe that's not quite the correct term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Saucy. Who knew the Co-Prophet of the End Times would have such a naughty sense of humor? I'm starting to see how he got to be the co-prophet after all. Although I think his presentation was a little stiff and perhaps premature.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: I honestly believe that Mr. Cooper is beginning to agree with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Not so fast, Third Eagle. Do you mind if I call you Third Eagle? I try to keep an open mind, but you lose me when you claim there is a horse at the airport covered in phalluses. In order to prove it, I would need a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: Let's take a closer look on the mane on this blue demon horse. Now, these sure look like phallic symbols to me. I don't know. What do you think, Mr. Cooper. Maybe you think they're ice cream cones.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Not to self. Don't ever go to Baskin Robbins with the Third Eagle of the Apocalypse. Between the cones, the banana splits, the cherries, not to mention the nuts, an ice cream parlor is Satan's snack bar.

Now, long-time followers of the co-prophet will no doubt already know that it's not just the penguin and the horse that are the problem, but it is the Denver International Airport's entire outdoor baggage handling area. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: The outdoor baggage handling area is in the shape of a phallus. Let's take a closer look.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: And that is exactly what he does in his new video. In fact, Mr. Tapley has taken his phallus philosophy, or phallusophy, into a whole new level. It's not just the phallus-shaped terminal and the low-hanging baggage area, that now concerns him. It's also salacious surrounding street names.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: What do you suppose this street name is that runs right down the center? You guessed it. That's Pena Boulevard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Sorry. All right. Actually I did not guess that. I was hoping for Urethra Boulevard. Pena is named for Federico Pena, the former mayor of Denver. But anyway, that's just one street. It's not like there's others.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: I guess you could call this the pubic hair area. So what do you suppose the name of this street is right here? This is the Harry B. Combs Parkway.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Harry B. Combs was an aviator and a writer. Who cares? It doesn't matter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: This street right here? This is Shady Grove Street. I guess that's because that's where the sun don't shine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The sun don't -- I think he's getting his anatomical references confused now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: If they ever cut the flow of traffic on this little street, leading down to Pena Boulevard, I bet they will call that a vasectomy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That is just a fallacy.

Anyway, say what you will about the co-prophet. He cares about people almost as much as he cares about phalluses.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: As for you, Mr. Cooper, do you want to be remembered as the most naive reporter in the history of television?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, no. I wanted to be remembered as Third Eagle of the Apocalypse, but that name was already taken.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAPLEY: And, Mr. Cooper, I am going to send you a copy of my free book. I hope this address is correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I got the book. Thank you kindly. That was a very nice gesture. So you know what? Let's just end this whole war of words. I'm officially extending the olive branch. Oh, no. He's not going to like that, is he? Got to work on that. Please don't get too testy.

William Tapley, it has indeed been a long and winding road. Thank you for the memories. And you are hereby, from now until end times, First Eagle of "The RidicuList". We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)