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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Contraception Compromise; Romney Defends Conservative Credentials

Aired February 10, 2012 - 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: It's 10:00 here on the East Coast. Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with a claim that Mitt Romney is making about his record as governor and what the record really shows. He made the claim today at the Conservative Political Action Committee convention in Washington, CPAC, where Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also spoke.

Our question tonight, is Governor Romney trying to rewrite his own political history? Here is what Governor Romney said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: I understand that -- the battles we, as conservatives, must fight because I have been on the front lines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He says he was a severely conservative Republican governor of Massachusetts, and he also said he knows conservatism because he's lived it, vowed to repeal President Obama's health care reform act, defend traditional marriage, and defund Planned Parenthood.

And that's his position today. Agree or disagree, it's to use his own words, severely conservative, but "Keeping Them Honest," severely conservative doesn't exactly describe his time at the governor of Massachusetts and it certainly doesn't jibe with how he himself was describing himself when he was running for the job. This is Mitt Romney back in 2002 when he himself was running for governor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I think people recognize that I'm not a partisan Republican, that I'm somehow who is moderate and my views are progressive.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Not a partisan, moderate, with progressive views. Here he is in a campaign debate volunteering his moderate and even liberal position on abortion rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The chairman snuck a little extra point in there that I want to address. And that is with regards to my views with regards to protecting a woman's right to choose. And I have been very clear on that. I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provision of Massachusetts' pro-choice laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Mitt Romney 10 years ago outlining the position on abortion and whether you agree it or not that is a very far cry from severely conservative, you could argue.

The difference between then and now is consistency, and he was saying then what he had been saying back in 1994 when he was running for the U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy as a progressive Republican.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. And I have since my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it.

I was an independent during the time of Reagan/Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan/Bush.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Back then Mr. Romney also promised the fight for -- quote -- "full equality" for America's gay and lesbian citizens and that is from a letter to the Law Cabin Republicans. "I'm with you on this stuff. I will be better than Ted Kennedy."

So when he said in 2002 he was a moderate with progressive views, people had reason to believe him. Once elected he also signed a ban on assault weapons and that was in 2004. He later signed a health care reform law that is almost identical to President Obama's.

It is true that late in his term he moved significantly to the right on gun control, same-sex marriage, birth control and more. But even then, the right didn't really see him as all that conservative.

In 2006, when the strongly conservative political magazine "Human Events" put out their choice of the 10 most conservative governors, Romney didn't even make the list. Clearly Governor Romney's views have changed over the years. And you can agree with how they have changed and it's not really the issue. The issue tonight is a candidate seeming to rewrite the past so he can look better now. A lot to talk about with Democratic strategist James Carville and GOP strategist Ralph Reed, founder of chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: James, when you hear Mitt Romney describe himself as having been a severely conservative governor, what do you think?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is not up to me to think, but I know that before that audience, when they think of Obamacare or Romneycare, I don't think it probably went over very well.

And if Romney is trying to run as the genuine conservative candidate against Rick Santorum, I don't think that is his winning message. I just don't think that people are going to buy that. But, you know, he is in a little bit of a tight spot here, so he has to try to make some room, but I don't think this was a smart thing that he did, because it just doesn't sound genuine at all.

COOPER: Ralph, does it sound genuine to you? Do you believe he was a sincerely conservative governor? Do you think the people in the room believed that?

RALPH REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think that his advisers felt very strongly and I think he believes, Anderson, that his entire tenure as governor during the course of this campaign has been buffeted by his opponents, by the media, by critics and really been boiled down and distilled really solely to the health care plan.

And I think he felt, and I think it was a good call, that he needed to let them know he cut taxes 19 times, he cut spending $3 billion, he balanced four budgets, he left $2 billion in a rainy day fund, and he left a state that he inherited in a fiscal nightmare, left it with one of the best fiscal situations in the country, with unemployment really hovering around 4 percent. And I think he had every right to make that case.

COOPER: But, Ralph, back in I think it was 2002 when he was running, he went out of his way to say he was not a partisan Republican and that he wasn't -- basically he was describing himself as anything but severely conservative back then.

REED: Sure. I don't disagree with that, Anderson, but I have been doing this a long time and James has been doing this a long time. We both had good friends and clients in the case when we have been consultants who get into office and are radicalized or changed or evolved one way the other once they get into office.

This was an 85 percent Democratic legislature, and he vetoed bills 800 times, and it is very clear that he changed. While I remain neutral in the race and I'm not advocating anybody for this nomination, I will let the voters decide. I know Mitt Romney, and I believe that that evolution that he had was genuine. COOPER: James, is it -- I mean, obviously, if President Obama is running against Mitt Romney, they are going to be calling him a flip- flopper.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Oh, yes. Well, why would they do that?

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: But hasn't the president, himself, changed his positions on for instance on the super PAC just recently on whether or not to support a super PAC?

CARVILLE: Sure. Sure, and people do. You know, and I'm sure that will come out, and we will see what it is.

It is hard to think of something that Mitt Romney has not changed his position on. He is a very good family man and you give him credit for that and he's certainly been loyal to the church. But, look, that is something that will have to be aired out.

Right now, Mitt Romney's big problem is these conservatives just don't much cotton to him, and every time that he turns around, you see this. You look at what happened in South Carolina, you look what happened the other night, look, there's no chance that Santorum or Gingrich is going to be the nominee, and we all know that. But they just don't -- the way -- this is like trying to feed a dog a pill.

And the dog keeps spitting the pill up. And eventually they will have to take the Romney pill, but they will spit it up a few more times before they take it. At least that's my analysis.

COOPER: Well, Ralph, to James' point, Rick Santorum's team say they have now raised $3 million in the last three days and he's taken the number two spot in the Gallup daily tracking poll, and is he now the Romney alternative?

REED: Well, I guess I would quote back what Santorum said when people were writing him off as dead a few weeks ago. He said if you don't like how the race is going, just give it a few days, and it will change.

This is my ninth presidential campaign and I have to tell you I think you have to interpret this almost on a Ouija board at this point. But to James' point about the conservatives being asked to eat the dog food, I would just say we have seen this movie before, so I would caution against freeze-framing a still photo in a dynamic motion picture process and suggesting whoever the nominee isn't going to have these folks on board.

CARVILLE: First of all, I didn't say he wasn't -- I said they didn't like him, and I said they will eventually take the pill.

REED: Yes, and I agree with that.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Rick Santorum is not going to be the nominee of anything. It is going to be Romney. And you are a good Republican, and you are starting to fall in line and hopefully people, for your party's sake, they follow your lead, Ralph, but they are sure not queuing up very easy right now. You will have to whip them in line down there.

(CROSSTALK)

REED: I am not falling in line and I will support whoever the ultimate nominee is.

And I would just say that whoever the nominee is, whoever they are will be sharpened and made better by this process, just as Barack Obama by the way was a much better candidate than he ever would have been if he had not gone 12 rounds with Hillary Clinton.

CARVILLE: And you might find five people that think that Rick Santorum is the political equal of Hillary Clinton, but I would be pressed to find them myself.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We will have more with Ralph Reed and James Carville right after the break.

We're going to talk about President Obama's announcement today dialing back a controversial decision on health insurance, birth control in religious institutions. Stirred up a firestorm on the right. The debate between James and Ralph gets pretty heated. I will ask them both if the president managed to put out the fire.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, Google+. You can add us to your circles. Or follow me on Twitter tonight @AndersonCooper.

Later, the slaughter in Syria, destruction so profound, it's now visible from space. We will show you the satellite imagery, but more importantly the destruction on the ground level view. Syrian heavy armor taking aim on civilian neighborhoods.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Before the break, we were talking to Democratic strategist James Carville, and Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. We were discussing whether Mitt Romney is trying to paint his record as more conservative than it actually was.

And whatever you conclude, he has been trying in this campaign to stake out the conservative high ground. He has speaking out against the Obama administration's decision to require religiously affiliated employers to include contraception coverage in their employee health plans.

Today President Obama retreated somewhat, laying out a compromise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Women will still have access to free, preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where they work. So that core principle remains.

But if a woman's employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -- not the hospital, not the charity -- will be required to reach out and offer the woman the contraceptive care free of charge without co-pays and without hassles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, both Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Health Association gave this new version their blessing and the Conference of Catholic Bishops called it a step in the right direction, but would reserve judgment for now.

I asked Ralph Reed whether he thinks it's enough to diffuse the controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REED: I think they're deluding themselves.

First of all, I think the political damage, which has been almost incalculable, is irreparable. What this showed, unfortunately, for what the White House is revealed what they have would have liked to have done, number one, and, number two, it pulled back the curtain of what Obamacare might look like in a second Obama administration, and that is number one.

Number two, we need to wait for the actual language of the ruling, but it is getting a mixed reception at best, and here is why, because it is basically a government edict that instead of telling the religious organization that they have to provide the funds unilaterally to fund something that is morally objectionable, they have now shifted the mandate to the insurance company.

Well, now, how does the insurance company get the money to provide the mandate? They will get it from the religious employer. It is still objectionable. It is certainly an improvement. But I don't think it will solve their political problem.

CARVILLE: Can I say two words? Terri Schiavo.

This is an overreach. First of all, Rick Santorum is dead set against contraception. All you got to do is look, as is most of these people. This is the kind of thing -- first of all, also birth control pills don't cost insurance companies money. They gladly, gladly give it to people, because it saves so much over the long term, and that's not even a cost.

REED: Especially when they're told by the government.

CARVILLE: And 98 percent of Catholic women use birth control -- 28 states had already mandated this, and no one said anything about it.

They looked reasonable, they came to a conclusion today, and I actually disagree. If anything in the long run, they will be slightly helped by this. I actually think the Terri Schiavo overreach was the first thing that caused the Republicans to lose the House in 2006.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I think there's broad-based support for contraception in this country, although Rick Santorum doesn't support it.

REED: Look, I think it is nice to try to change the subject to Terri Schiavo. But what actually happened here was that this such a mushroom cloud that you had people like Joe Biden and Bill Daley leaking that they advised against it, and the White House basically was diving under the furniture

If it was such a great thing, why did Obama himself feel like he had to walk into the White House Briefing Room and try to walk it back? This thing was a political disaster for the administration and white Catholic voters, by the way, have swung 15 points Republican in the last three years.

CARVILLE: Ralph, Ralph.

REED: Yes.

CARVILLE: Let me explain it to you. He looks reasonable in the thing. People like the idea of having contraception in this country.

And the thing is now he comes and he says, OK, we fixed it. Just the long-range implications of this if anything are going to be favorable to the president. He came out of this looking very reasonable -- 28 states mandated this before and nobody said anything.

(CROSSTALK)

REED: But, James, those 28 states don't require religious organizations to provide insurance under penalty of a fine. That is apples and oranges.

CARVILLE: The religious institutions were providing it before, but the president compromised. And again I come back to the point that birth control pills actually drive health care costs down.

(CROSSTALK)

REED: This isn't about contraception. Look, James, contraception is widely and fully available to women all across the country. And if they cannot afford it, it is subsidized under Title X.

CARVILLE: No, no, no, Santorum wants to overturn Griswold v. Connecticut.

(CROSSTALK)

REED: I thought you just said there was no way Santorum could be the nominee. You just said two minutes ago he could not be the nominee. Who are you running against?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: I did.

(CROSSTALK)

REED: Well, why are you bringing it up?

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Ralph, do you support Griswold?

REED: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

CARVILLE: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

REED: Are you going to do a George Stephanopoulos now? We are going to debate contraception? This is not about contraception.

CARVILLE: Sure, it is.

REED: This is about whether or not a religious organization is going to be forced to do something that they find morally repugnant that violates their conscience, including by the way the morning-after pill and abortive agents, and various medicines that will induce an abortion.

For you to not understand that forcing them to violate their conscience is a violation of their First Amendment right shows how tone-deaf...

CARVILLE: You know what? Remember, when you are losing an argument, don't try to talk down to me. You are losing the argument. The president came across being reasonable.

(CROSSTALK)

REED: If we were losing the argument, why did he capitulate?

CARVILLE: Again, excuse me for speaking while you are interrupting, Ralph, but part of being a good Christian is letting the other person have a say-so.

REED: Go ahead. CARVILLE: Thank you.

I think that what we are seeing here is the president being reasonable, and I think what we are seeing here is what we have, and the idea that this costs money is just not what the facts are. Birth control pills actually save on health care costs. This is becoming -- and the president comes across as being reasonable.

The damage of this is, A, is -- if anything will be I think slightly helpful to him in the long run.

COOPER: Ralph, I will give you the final thought and then we have to leave it.

REED: Well, from a policy standpoint, this is a fig leaf.

All they done is taken the gun to the head that they had pointed at the Catholic bishops and they're now pointing it at the insurance companies. And it shows what a government overreach Obamacare really is, and why to this day it doesn't poll over 30 percent.

And from a political standpoint, the Catholic vote, particularly among white Catholics in swing states like Ohio, Michigan, Florida, New Mexico, Iowa, is bleeding like a stuck pig on this administration, and it is a major problem and that's why they felt like they had to walk it back.

CARVILLE: Well, that is why the president is six points up in the latest poll, because the Catholic vote is bleeding.

REED: We will see what happen in the general after there is a nominee.

(CROSSTALK)

CARVILLE: Well, 98 percent of Catholic women use contraception. They're voting in the bedroom.

REED: It's not about contraception. It's about religious liberty, James.

CARVILLE: Well, 98 percent, they take birth control.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Guys, appreciate it.

REED: OK. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: They sure smile a lot for two guys who disagree with each other so much.

Earlier tonight, we showed you Mitt Romney's big moment at CPAC. Newt Gingrich's big moment came by way of his wife Callista. Her days of staying silent apparently are over. She introduced her husband at the conservative gathering. Mrs. Gingrich told the crowd there are three things people don't know about her husband. He's a committed golfer, he loves books, and there's this. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALLISTA GINGRICH, WIFE OF NEWT GINGRICH: Newt is also very supportive.

When I sing at the Basilica of the National Shrine or play my French horn with the City of Fairfax band, he is right there listening. I am personally grateful for his wisdom in not trying to sing as a candidate. He knows his limitations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Callista Gingrich basically stepping out front to introduce her husband just as Ann Romney has been doing to much success on the campaign trail.

According to the Gingrich campaign, we will be seeing more of Callista Gingrich in the coming days, hearing more from saying she brings out her husband's softer side and those are the terms that the campaign used. Keep in mind she also had been his mistress for six years, and this is his third marriage.

And there had been some concern in some quarters about what impact her taking a more visible role in the husband's campaign might actually have and would it actually increase some resentment? Clearly, the belief is that Newt Gingrich has a problem with the female voters and we have seen it in the last several primaries and caucuses, and the question tonight, can Callista Gingrich help change that?

Here is Randi Kaye with an up-close look at Callista Gingrich.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): On most Sundays, Callista Gingrich sings in her church choir, but it was not until recently that she found her voice on the campaign trail.

C. GINGRICH: Let's give a warm welcome to my husband and best friend, Newt Gingrich.

KAYE: Still, moments like that are rare. Getting anywhere close to Callista on the campaign trail is challenging, to say the least.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No cameras. And sit down. I feel like I'm dealing with 8-year-olds again.

KAYE (on camera): Are they trying to keep Callista away from reporters?

KAREN OLSON, FRIEND OF CALLISTA GINGRICH: I am not aware that they are trying to. KAYE (voice-over): Yet, when we asked to interview Callista, the campaign said no, but agreed to let us speak with Karen Olson, Callista's friend since the second grade.

Growing up, Olson recalls that Callista was a cheerleader, and they played piano together and attended Luther College in Iowa where Callista majored in music. Callista practiced six hours a day. And she graduated cum laude in 1988. After college, Callista moved to Washington, D.C., to work as a clerk with the House Agriculture Committee.

In 1993, Callista began a six-year affair with Newt Gingrich who at the time was speaker of the House and on his second marriage.

(on camera): Did she ever talk to you about meeting Newt or dating Newt?

OLSON: Well, you know, yes, we knew about it, but she didn't say a lot about it.

KAYE: Did you ever offer her advice?

OLSON: You just -- you want the best for your friends. You don't want to see them get hurt, and having a high-profile relationship, you know, it is just -- we were just concerned.

KAYE: Was she concerned do you think?

OLSON: I think so.

KAYE (voice-over): Callista and Newt married in 2000, but their affair still dogs them today on the campaign trail. After Newt's second wife told the media he had wanted a "open marriage," they ran into this question in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And just to clarify, I wanted to see if you all are -- if you all are in an open marriage?

C. GINGRICH: No.

KAYE (on camera): How do you think that she handles that sort of thing, being put in some tough situations or getting some hard questions out there?

OLSON: Well, publicly, I think she handles it very well. Privately, it can't be easy.

KAYE (voice-over): Early on, Callista made headlines when staffers accused her of undermining her husband's campaign, pulling him off the trail to go on a luxury cruise to Mykonos and to appear at Callista's her new book signing featuring Ellis the Elephant.

C. GINGRICH: Hi. I'm Callista Gingrich and this is my friend Ellis the Elephant.

KAYE: And despite sagging poll numbers Newt skipped town again last fall to attend his wife's French horn performance, all that on top of the uproar over the couple's $500,000 credit line at the jewelry store Tiffany and Company.

(on camera): Callista grew up an only child in a blue-collar family in the small town of Whitehall, Wisconsin. Her mother, a secretary, named her after the wife of a bank president she had once worked for. Callista's middle name is Louise, so her family calls her Calli Lou (ph).

Money was so tight growing up, Callista's mother used to sew all of her daughter's clothes by hand.

(voice-over): These days, Callista is always well dressed, brightly colored fitted suits and pearls. Newt's campaign spokesperson, R.C. Hammond, told "The New Yorker" -- quote -- "I don't think she owns a pair of jeans."

And her perfectly coiffed platinum blonde hair, it has caused such a stir, there is even a Facebook page devoted to it. Late-night comedians poke, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to have a Callista here.

KAYE: That probably made Callista chuckle, Olson says, because she loves to laugh. The couple's favorite movie is "The Hangover," a comedy Newt says they have watched seven times.

Callista, her friend says, is trying to loosen up on the campaign trail, too, to let voters know before it is too late there is more to her than what the headlines suggest.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We will see if in fact we see more of her taking a vocal role on the campaign trail.

We will take you to Syria next, where sadly the death toll climbs higher every day. And there's new evidence that the government is conducting an organized military campaign against its own people, as if you needed more evidence, new satellite images and video from the ground. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also, a scary sight -- a school bus catches on fire. Nobody was hurt, thankfully, thanks to the quick action of one person. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest," there is new evidence tonight confirming that Syria, despite constant denials, is conducting organized, systematic, comprehensive military campaign against its own people.

Another 110 people killed today, according to activist groups. You can even see the destruction in Homs from space.

The State Department tonight releasing satellite photos. According to the presentation, this one shows rocket launchers aimed at Homs. This one is said to be an artillery emplacement, again, pointing at Homs, which has seen heavy shelling now for the last week.

This next satellite photo shows the city itself, plumes of smoke rising from burning buildings in Baba Alma (ph) and across the city. That's a particular neighborhood in that city.

Robert Ford, America's ambassador to Syria, released this image. We know who's shelling Homs, he said. It's the government, which is why he says he posted it.

As we received that photo, there was fresh evidence from ground level of the sheer brutality.

These are main battle tanks firing their big guns, pouring heavy artillery into city neighborhoods. There's a Syrian resistance now, but it's armed mainly with Kalashnikovs and RPGs. What you see here are regular army tanks in formation, following orders to fire into neighborhoods.

On back streets, meantime, smaller armored personnel carriers are being used as anti-personnel weapons.

Ambassador Ford tonight comparing what is happening there to the destruction of Homa (ph) in 1982 that killed thousands by Bashar al- Assad's father.

There is fighting in Homs tonight, too, a deadly assault and a gathering in Aleppo.

As we said, opposition forces are fighting back. This video claims to show free Syrian fighters attacking a police station in Homs. You can hear the small arms fire which, with a few exception, it seems, that is what this Free Syrian Army, so called, is armed with.

President Bashar al-Assad has the army. The army has the heavy artillery, and he's using it, by and large, on people who can't fight back or run or, in many cases, even hide very well.

We're following a number of other stories tonight. Isha is back with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, a guilty plea in a plot to kill President Obama. The 21-year-old man is a native of Uzbekistan who lived in Alabama. Prosecutors say he admitted to a plan hatched last summer to assassinate the president. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

The Italian cruise ship disaster has prompted a change in safety drills aboard ships. Passenger safety drills must now be conducted before ships leave port. The old rule required instruction within 24 hours of passengers boarding the ship. At least 16 people died in the disaster; 16 others are still missing. A man who served ten years in prison for stalking Madonna was arrested again today. Robert Dewey Hoskins escaped from a southern California mental health facility last week. He's required by court order to remain there for treatment until August.

And look at this frightening video, a school bus engulfed in flames in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now Anderson, what makes the story more compelling is that the bus driver smelled smoke, and she got six elementary school children safely off the bus just moments before it blew up. Just really scary pictures.

COOPER: Thank goodness no one -- no one was injured. Isha, thanks. We're going to check in with you again a little bit later on.

Up next, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is in court, pleading for more freedom while he awaits trial on child sex abuse charges. Prosecutors fire back, saying he shouldn't be allowed to have a house party while under house arrest. The courtroom drama tonight in "Crime & Punishment."

Plus, rumors are spreading that North Korea's new leader is dead. We'll tell you what U.S. officials are saying in response. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky took the stand in court today, requesting more freedoms while he awaits trial on sex abuse charges. Sandusky says his 11 minor grandchildren are upset that they can't see him. He wants more visits with him.

Prosecutors blasted the request, saying that Sandusky shouldn't be allowed to treat his house arrest like a house party.

Another sticking point is whether Sandusky should be allowed to use his back porch. Prosecutors are saying no. Video shot by a neighbor shows Sandusky has been using the porch which borders an elementary school playground. Prosecutors say teachers and neighbors have what they have called grave concerns if Sandusky is allowed outside his home.

Sandusky, as you know, faces 52 counts of alleged criminal sexual misconduct with several boys over 15 years, and he has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

The scandal led to the removal of Penn State's president, the head football coach, Joe Paterno, who died last month. Two other administrators are awaiting trial on charges they lied to the grand jury investigating the allegations.

Sandusky talked to the media outside the courthouse today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERRY SANDUSKY, CHARGED WITH CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: Generally, I just want to say that I don't have a lot of resources, but what I do have is some people who will pour their heart and soul into defending me, and I'm grateful for them. I'm grateful for the people who have stood beside me and given me the opportunity, at some point in time, to reach out and express our feelings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Jason Carroll was in court today. He joins us now with more. So Sandusky asked the court to loosen restrictions on his bail conditions. Specifically, what does he want?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, under his bail condition, Anderson, he's not allowed to have contact with anyone under the age of 18, so effectively, that means he cannot see his grandchildren. Obviously, he now wants to see that changed.

And today, earlier in court, the defense presented evidence from Sandusky's children saying they, too, believe that the conditions of the bail should be changed and Sandusky should be allowed to see his grandchildren.

And just as you said earlier today, Sandusky came outside the courthouse. He talked about the frustration of that particular condition of his house arrest. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDUSKY: Friends who call me and who want to be with me, who want to see me, and I have to say no, I can't, and they ask why, so I asked Joe why. That's why he brought it up.

Well, when I had a wife who came home after visiting with grandchildren or who is sitting there when grandchildren call on my birthday, and they asked to talk to me, and she has to tell them that they can't, I'm sensitive to that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Neighbors, as I said, have also expressed concerns about Sandusky living so close to a schoolyard.

CARROLL: Yes.

COOPER: What's been the reaction from Sandusky?

CARROLL: Well, Sandusky obviously disagrees with what they're saying. You heard him refer to Joe in that sound bite that was just played there. That's Joe Amendola. That's his defense attorney.

And they don't have a problem with that video being entered into evidence, because Joe Amendola says, "My client wasn't do anything wrong in that video." He was out on his back porch, which he's allowed to do under the conditions of his bail. He was simply giving his dog some sort of a treat.

As you know, his house does border a school. And that has a lot of the neighbors who are upset saying they're uncomfortable, given the allegations, with Sandusky being so close to a school.

Having said that, Sandusky says these are neighbors that he once called friends, and he talked about that when he was outside the courthouse earlier this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDUSKY: I've associated with thousands of young people over the years, and now all of the sudden, OK, because of allegations and perceptions that have tried to have been created of me, now I can't take our dog on my deck and throw out biscuits to him.

Now, all of a sudden, these people turn on me, when they've been in my home with their kids, when they've attended birthday parties, when they've been on that deck, when their kids have been playing in my yard, and when their kids have been sled riding when they've asked to sled ride in our home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: And Anderson, this is the first time that we've heard Jerry Sandusky speaking this way to the media.

From the prosecution's point of view, they say, "We don't want to hear about Sandusky's complaints." They say that house arrest is something that is a privilege and that it is not a house party.

They also say that -- that his house has not been safe for children for 15 years. It certainly is not safe now. They say none of these conditions should be changed.

The judge is going to make a ruling on this or at least is expected to, Anderson, on Monday.

COOPER: What's his demeanor before like in court?

CARROLL: Well, that's another interesting point, because even before he got into court, as he was heading in, we saw him laughing with some of the security guards bringing him in.

And then, when he was testifying about a particular legal point here in the courtroom today, he was smiling at different points. And I think a lot of courtroom observers were wondering why he had this particular type of demeanor. And it could be -- it's just up for interpretation. It could be a nervous reaction to a stressful situation.

Joe Amendola simply tells us this is the nature of this man's character and really not to read anything into it -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jason, appreciate the reporting.

More on the legal fight now. Joining me now is CNN -- CNN's legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos. Mark, what do you make of this? I mean, Sandusky wanting to be allowed to see his grandchildren. Should he be allowed to see them, given the -- the charges he's facing?

GERAGOS: Well, of course, he should be allowed to see his grandchildren and what I make of this is it's a lot of nonsense.

The thing that people need to remember is that we still have a Constitution. And under the Constitution, you are still presumed innocent. Apparently, in spite of the fact that you've already been lynched in the media, or surrounding your house, the fact is he's on house arrest. He wasn't going into the elementary school. Somebody was taking a video of him through a fence.

This whole thing is just nothing more than part of the hysteria that surrounds allegations like this. And I use the word allegations, because, remember, he has not been convicted of anything.

COOPER: And Sunny, you say you're shocked, though, that he's even asking for this?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I am shocked. Bottom line is he was given a gift, the gift of house arrest. I mean, compare that and contrast that to Mark Berndt in California, the teacher accused of sexual misconduct, who is sitting in jail on $23 million worth of bail.

Jerry Sandusky, charged with 52 counts of child sex abuse, abusing over ten victims over 15 years, got $250,000 bail and is sitting in his home, and now hanging out outside.

COOPER: But Sunny, if...

HOSTIN: It is unbelievable, Anderson.

COOPER: Sunny, if Sandusky was in prison right now waiting trial, his grandkids would be allowed to visit him there, wouldn't they?

HOSTIN: Yes, but that's very different. We're talking about guards being there; we're talking about a very sterile environment.

I mean, having them come to his home, the location where many of these allegations are said to have occurred, I think is just extraordinary. I mean, it's so ridiculous, in my view, because when people are convicted of sex offenses, they are not allowed to be within 300 yards of a school.

GERAGOS: Right, and Sunny -- Sunny...

HOSTIN: And he lives within 100 yards of a school. This should land on your "RidicuList."

GERAGOS: Sunny, you used the key -- you used the key word here. When people are convicted. I know that you want to move away from that mettlesome thing called a trial or proof beyond a reasonable doubt. He hasn't been convicted. Until he's convicted, he's presumed innocent.

HOSTIN: He has been indicted. He's been indicted, Mark, indicted.

GERAGOS: He's been indicted? He's been indicted.

HOSTIN: Fifty-two counts, 52 counts.

GERAGOS: And what -- can I tell you something, Sunny? How many times did you go in front of a grand jury and not get an indictment? You could indict Anderson right now for bad taste in front of any grand jury. All you'd have to do is ask him for it.

HOSTIN: What are you saying, Mark, there isn't any evidence against him? There isn't any evidence against him?

COOPER: Wait, can I say something?

GERAGOS: Wait, wait, wait, wait.

COOPER: Am I just indicted?

GERAGOS: You could be clearly, Anderson. One of the horrible things about the grand jury system in America is anybody can be indicted for anything.

HOSTIN: But we seen...

GERAGOS: An indictment is meaningless, and it was originally designed to protect the public.

HOSTIN: We've seen some of the grand jury testimony. We've seen some of the grand jury testimony.

GERAGOS: So what? It wasn't cross-examined.

COOPER: Wait. One at a time. And Sunny, we haven't seen, really, grand jury testimony. We've seen a summation of grand jury testimony, right?

HOSTIN: That's accurate, but we've also seen McQueary, one of the witnesses in this case, in court, be steadfast in his testimony, and I think it was extremely compelling. And so to say that...

GERAGOS: Steadfast in what? Telling three different stories?

HOSTIN: Well, he hasn't -- he's only been charged, I mean, that's disingenuous. It's really, I think, intellectually dishonest.

GERAGOS: But McQueary was in a -- McQueary was in a different proceeding. McQueary was not steadfast. McQueary told three different stories. And McQueary is hardly going to be the linchpin of this case.

HOSTIN: Well, that's open to interpretation. GERAGOS: That's my prediction, but I'm still going to go back to the first thing. We still have a Constitution. You're still presumed innocent. These are his grandkids. As he long as he's innocent, there isn't any conceivable reason as to why he should be prevented from seeing them.

Or the other part of this is they requested that he be able to investigate his case along with his lawyers. So what's the matter with that?

COOPER: Mark -- Mark, you're saying, because it's his own grandchildren, that makes the difference. You would not be arguing if he wanted to volunteer at a school, for instance...

GERAGOS: Right.

COOPER: ... you think that would not be appropriate?

GERAGOS: No, it would clearly not be appropriate. They're not going to ask for that. That wasn't -- in fact, the lawyer and it never in a million years is going to ask with that when he's facing these charges.

But the fact remains that, as he stated, everybody has turned on him. He's got his family as his support network. Why in the world are you supposed to take away his family, as well, because he's been charged with something and not been convicted?

COOPER: Sunny, shouldn't it be up to the family -- I mean, the parents of these kids? I mean, he's the grandfather. You know, his children, these grandchildren's parents, shouldn't it be up to them about whether or not they want their dad to spend time with their kids?

HOSTIN: Well, Anderson, I think it's significant then to note that one of the mothers of the children doesn't want her three children around Jerry Sandusky.

GERAGOS: Well, then don't take -- don't take them over there.

HOSTIN: And so there certainly is opposition within the family to have him around them. And that's a smart mother. That's a smart mother.

GERAGOS: Then don't take them over. Well, it's a mother who believes the hysteria.

HOSTIN: And I can't imagine that Jerry Sandusky -- I can't imagine that Jerry Sandusky, given the position that he's in, wants to be outside looking at children and wants to visit his grandchildren. He needs to be preparing for trial, and clearing his name, as if that's going to happen.

GERAGOS: He was not peering -- he wasn't peering through the fence leering at children.

HOSTIN: Neighbors are saying he was peering.

COOPER: One at a time. Let him finish. Mark, you were saying he wasn't staring there with binoculars looking at kids.

GERAGOS: He wasn't doing anything untoward. We've got the video. And thank God we've got the video. Otherwise, somebody would be alleging there was some kind of lewd conduct out there.

Everybody needs to take a real deep breath. These are allegations. They haven't been tested by cross-examination in a courtroom. Why don't we wait and see what actually happens in a courtroom before we draw and quarter this guy?

COOPER: Sunny, just on a final thought, Sandusky's defense team wants a local jury for the trial. It's interesting. A lot of, you know, defense teams ask for jurors who are not local. Why do you think they want a local defense?

HOSTIN: Well, I think it's extraordinary and clear that Jerry Sandusky's team thinks that maybe the reputation of Jerry Sandusky will help him in a court of law.

COOPER: Do you agree with that, Mark, what they are thinking?

HOSTIN: In the area.

COOPER: Mark, you agree?

SANDUSKY: Well, it is -- the one thing I'll agree with Sunny is that it's extraordinary that the defense is asking for a local jury. And I think the reason for that is they figure the only place they're going to get a shot at a presumption of innocence is in a community that's not going to be caught up in this witch hunt that, frankly, I think drove Joe Paterno to his death. And I think that that's the reason they did it, and they're asking for it.

And frankly, if the attorney general thinks that the charges are so strong, and they think this is such a compelling case, why do they want to bus jurors in from outlying jurisdictions? What are they afraid of?

COOPER: We've got to leave it there.

HOSTIN: They want -- they want a fair trial.

COOPER: Sunny Hostin, Mark Geragos. Guys, thank you very much. Sorry, out of time on this one.

A new honor coming up for former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. And it's coming from the U.S. Navy.

Also, a fugitive captured in Missouri, fled all the way from Great Britain. When you hear the charge he's fleeing from, you'll see why authorities are so glad he's now in custody. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SESAY: Anderson is back in a moment. First, a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

Posts on China's version of Twitter have set off a rumor that North Korea's new young leader, Kim Jung-Un, was assassinated in Beijing. A senior U.S. official says U.S. intelligence has been looking into the rumor for more than a week and finds no evidence that it's true.

President Obama signed former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' last piece of legislation into law today. The law intends to crack down on the use of ultra-light aircraft in drug smuggling.

Giffords was also on hand today as a future Navy ship was named after her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: Wow, that is pretty good!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: The USS Gabrielle Giffords will be built in Mobile, Alabama.

For the first time this year, the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ all posted a loss for the week. The Dow was down 90 points today, 0.5 percent for the week.

And a British fugitive who was found in Missouri this week was charged with illegal firearms possession in federal court today. Edward John Maher is suspected of stealing more than $1.5 million from an armored van in England 19 years ago.

Anderson and I are back with "The Shot" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We ran out of time for "The RidicuList" tonight. So many people yelling and, I don't know, indicting me, we ran out of time. So let's do a quick "Shot." Isha is back for that.

Isha, may I present a snoring dormouse?

SESAY: Where did you find this?

COOPER: It was posted on YouTube, described as a dormouse in torpor, a kind of hibernation state. The post says in Britain, dormice spend up to three quarters of their lives asleep. You must know this. And asked for donations...

SESAY: Because I'm a dormouse?

COOPER: No, because you're from Britain. To the Surrey Wildlife Trust to protect endangered dormice. Are there dormice everywhere in the U.K.?

SESAY: No, there isn't a plague. There isn't an infestation or dormice.

COOPER: I would love a dormouse. That's the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

SESAY: That's how I imagine you snoring. Cutely like that.

COOPER: Really?

SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: Kind of. That is how I snore.

All right, got to go. Isha, have a great weekend. That does it for us. Thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.