Skip to main content
U.S. Edition
Search
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

What Next For President Bush?; Did Lightning Strike Cause Sago Mine Explosion?

Aired March 14, 2006 - 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 again, everyone.
New developments tonight in a story that has been with us for almost three years -- all the angles tonight -- word that more troops may be heading to Iraq, at least temporarily, as new details become known about the latest wave of bloodshed there -- that and word of a possible shakeup at the White House. And, so far, that's all it is: word, not fact, barely even buzz, perhaps only a trial balloon. We simply don't know.

We do know this, however: People close to the president, and at least one Republican Party veteran, want the president to do something -- something. Yet, despite everything that has gone wrong lately at home and abroad, they say Mr. Bush seems not to have an appetite for doing anything, at least not where his staff is concerned -- more on that in a moment.

First, the reason why -- sinking poll numbers, and the main reason for that, Iraq.

CNN's John King explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is defense secretary's custom to open with headlines, Rumsfeld-style...

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Good afternoon.

KING: ... which makes this beginning all the more telling.

RUMSFELD: I think it's clearly a very difficult situation. The violence continues. The democratic process can be frustratingly slow. And, of course, we have heard predictions of an imminent civil war in Iraq, off and on, for some time now.

KING: Hardly the summary the administration had hoped to offer, just days from the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Three weeks of bloody sectarian violence have forced the more sober assessments. And, instead of talking about troop withdrawals, Pentagon officials say some short-term increases in force levels are likely.

RUMSFELD: There's a pilgrimage coming up. We may very well -- General Casey may decide he wants to bulk up slightly for the pilgrimage. KING: The administration, though, insists the big picture is one of progress.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With the goal of having the Iraqis control more territory than the coalition by the end of 2006.

KING: The president's low approval ratings and second-term struggles are being driven by Iraq worries and a U.S. death toll now past the 2,300 mark. Fifty-seven percent of Americans, a new high, now say it was a mistake to send troops into Iraq. And a stunning 67 percent in the new CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll say Mr. Bush does not have a clear plan for victory.

BILL MCINTURFF, PARTNER AND CO-FOUNDER, PUBLIC OPINION STRATEGIES: Those numbers are incredibly intense, and they're incredibly negative. And it makes -- it makes being heard on any other issue very, very difficult.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2001)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And a president whose image was first framed by 9/11 now is defined almost exclusively by the war he launched three years ago Sunday.

MCINTURFF: The Bush presidency is wrapped around this issue. And, for good or for ill, that is now his presidency.

KING: A frequent administration complaint is that the media play up the bad news and ignore signs of progress.

QUESTION: ... step up.

RUMSFELD: Well, why do you keep taking the negative, Bret (ph)? Why don't you take the positive?

QUESTION: Well, I'm just saying...

RUMSFELD: What if they do step up?

KING: The administration, at times, contributes to the mixed messages.

On Monday, for example, the president forcefully blamed the government of Iran for allowing the manufacture and shipment of the deadly IEDs killing U.S. troops in Iraq. On Tuesday, Secretary Rumsfeld said, there's no doubt many of the bombs originate in Iran, but:

RUMSFELD: With respect to people, it's very difficult to tie a thread precisely to the government of Iran. KING: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs is another case in point. Last week, he said things in Iraq are going well, this week, that there might be a civil war, not the best choice of words, he says now, but not inconsistent thoughts.

GENERAL PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There is the path toward civil war. And pieces of that path are in place. And there's a path to freedom and a representative government and a prosperous future.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And John King joins us now.

John, it's interesting to hear Secretary Rumsfeld blame the media again today. Didn't he blame the media, like, two or three weeks ago for talking about a civil war? And now you have General Pace talking about a civil war.

KING: Well, and Secretary Rumsfeld today talking about a civil war -- look, the administration would like for the news media to focus less on the violence, more on what it says is progress.

But, even in Secretary Rumsfeld's words today, you hear a more sober assessment from the administration. They understand, Anderson, things are not going as well as they would like, certainly as fast as they would like. They also understand now, with the third-year anniversary approaching this coming Sunday, there will be a great deal of attention on this.

And, if they say things that simply don't meet the truth test, if you will, or the smell test, as some call it, they will be criticized even more. So, they are recalibrating their own message a little bit. That's a word the secretary likes to use, recalibrating.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And you sense it. He -- in his own words today, you sense it a bit. But he will continue to criticize the media. Don't worry.

COOPER: Yes. Recalibrating, that is very much a Washington word, I think.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: John King, thanks very much.

We're going to return...

KING: Thank you.

COOPER: ... to the political realities in a moment.

And make no mistake. There's nothing trivial about that. Just ask the troop in Iraq whether they would like a strong commander in chief or a weak one. We all know the answer. They are watching the place in Iraq come unglued.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Baghdad tonight.

Do you hear talk of civil war there, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There certainly is.

Low-level civil war is how a lot people characterize it. Politicians here -- I talked to the prime minister two days ago. He told me that it wasn't civil war. He did say, the violence was getting worse. But what you do see around Baghdad is more militias guarding different areas of the city. The police and the army have been told not to challenge them, that the idea is that, somehow, there will be a political solution, and these militias will be folded into the government institutions.

But what's happening, Sadr City, Shiite suburb of about two million people, you have armed guards around there, from the -- Muqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand Shia cleric, has his own armed guards circling and providing security in that city. The police just don't challenge them. People in this city are turning to their own sectarian militias to protect them.

They have given up on hoping that the government, at least the police, are able to keep them secure. Eighty-six bodies showed up here over the last 48 hours, Anderson.

COOPER: Nic, you heard the secretary of defense sort of blaming the media for talking about a civil war, also blaming the media for focusing on the negative.

When you hear that, and I -- you know, and I have -- have gone out with troops a lot. You know, soldiers will -- will ask you that: Why do you focus on the negative? Why don't you show the positive?

What do you -- what is the answer to that question? Do you feel you're showing the -- the full scope of what is happening in Iraq?

ROBERTSON: I feel that we are.

We say -- when we say we're told that -- by people that they think that it's a civil war here, or a low-level civil war, we're reporting what the people here tell us and what their assessment of -- of living here is like. When -- when people we talk to say, I live in a mixed neighborhood, and, every day, when I go home, there's a -- there's a killing. It will be a Sunni one day, a Shia the next day, when they tell us that -- that Sunnis are moving out of Shia neighborhoods, Shias are moving out of Sunni neighborhoods, they're telling us about a low-level civil war.

I -- I think, we are getting the picture here. It is not a pretty picture. The politicians in Baghdad, at least, don't want to admit it, because it would make them look bad, because it would be under their stewardship that the situation had got worse. But I think most people accept now, a lot of the deaths that you see occurring in Iraq are -- are as a result of sectarian violence and not as a result of insurgents, although there seems to be little doubt it was insurgents that planted the bomb in that Shia shrine a couple of weeks ago that really spawned this latest round of sectarian violence.

They found the hot button, target an important religious site, and that could make -- and that can help bring on civil war, which is what Zarqawi has been trying to do here -- Anderson.

COOPER: And -- and -- and no sign of that letting up.

Nic Robertson, thanks, live from Baghdad.

Back to the political fallout at home now from Iraq, our ports, Katrina, Harriet Miers, you name it, that and something an old colleague of our next guest once said: "Things can't go on forever, don't." His name was Herb Stein.

Our guest is David Gergen, who has served presidents, both Democrat and Republican, going back to the Nixon administration.

David, how long can things go on as they are now for the Bush White House?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, they could continue indefinitely. And that's the problem, and because I -- it -- it -- two veterans of Washington each told me individually today they had never seen an administration collapse as completely and as quickly as this one has.

COOPER: And why, all of a sudden -- I mean, it does seem just in a matter of months. Why? Is it just -- it's not just Iraq.

GERGEN: Well, Iraq is certainly the largest part of it, because there has been unrelieved bad news from Iraq, except for an occasional election. And the last election was in December. We still don't have a government.

But, beyond that, I -- I think there are two things that are really troublesome here, Anderson. One is, the troops there in the White House are not just tired. They're exhausted. They have been there a long, long time. They are good people, but these are burn-out jobs. And they have stayed -- stayed far beyond what normally is expected of someone in a 24-hour -- 24-7 kind of job.

And the second thing is that there's a high degree of denial that seems to start at the top, and a -- and a reluctance to tell the president, "Mr. President, you know, as much as we might like to think things are going well in Iraq, or as much as we would might like to -- like to think things are going well in New Orleans, they're not, and we need to move quickly," so that there has been this kind of sluggish, almost a sense that -- of dismissal, sometimes, of things that are very real, very troublesome, and are dragging down this presidency. COOPER: Why doesn't the -- the Bush White House bring in new blood?

I mean, you have Ken Duberstein, a former chief of staff, saying -- back in November of 2005, he said -- quote -- "I -- I think that they need to bring in some new blood, but new blood that would give the president a different -- differing opinions, not somebody who has been burned out for four or five years, but somebody who has a fresh perspective."

If they need new blood, why don't they just bring it in?

GERGEN: Well...

COOPER: What is the resistance?

GERGEN: Well -- well, Ken Duberstein is a friend. And -- and -- and I think he was right back there in -- in the fall.

And, you know, they needed to bring -- because he was part of the -- the bringing in fresh blood into the Reagan administration in the last couple of years that really turned that presidency around. And -- and -- and Ronald Reagan finished on a high, as you well know.

But I think the reason that they didn't bring in new blood is, there's -- they're in denial, and that the president is -- there's a certain amount of denial about what they're facing. And, so, there's -- and -- and when people come in from the outside and say, you know, you really ought to think about doing this a different way, it -- it -- when you tell them that, it's almost like you're challenging their masculinity, and then they get even more dug in.

And, so, if -- if you're not willing to acknowledge when some things go off the track, and then deal with them, you can get yourself, unfortunately, into a situation which is not just bad for the president, but, more importantly, it's -- this is not healthy for the country, because we are increasingly in a situation, Anderson, we're not only mired in Iraq, with -- with -- with no apparent options, and Iran now coming up quickly on -- on as a threat, but there's a dysfunctionality in Washington with Congress and the president, and trying to get anything serious done, when the country really does need some serious attention...

COOPER: Well...

GERGEN: ... to some underlying issues.

COOPER: It -- it's a good point, because, I mean, there are some people who are going to be, you know, licking their lips and -- and sharpening their political swords, getting ready for a battle.

But, in truth, I mean, this doesn't help anybody. Given that there are troops in the field and there are -- there are, you know, fields of debris in -- in -- in the Gulf, the Democrats don't really seem to have a -- a -- either politically capitalize on -- on the Bush White House troubles or come up with plans of their -- of their own. GERGEN: They don't.

And, of course, the best thing the Republicans have going for them is the Democrats. And that has been true now for a while. But, you know, from the country's point of view, it's really important that we focus on Iran and deal with that wisely.

But a president who is so bogged down in Iraq has a hard time commanding attention and actually getting people to follow him. And there's, of course, all the skepticism about what he's saying, because of the -- we didn't find the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

And, back here at home, when we have got this huge problem growing up about American competitiveness, and how do we deal with creating jobs, when the rise of China and the rise of India is going on, we have got to get on to it. And, yet, very little happens in Congress, because the president doesn't have the moral authority, the standing, to get that done at home.

So, I think -- you know, as much as it's fun to think about who's going to succeed the president, and who's out there, and who's going to win in 2006, it's -- we have got three more years of the Bush presidency. It's not in the country's interest to have a crippled president.

COOPER: And -- and, certainly, not in the troops in the field interest...

GERGEN: Absolutely right.

COOPER: ... when waging a war, to have a commander in chief who is hobbled.

GERGEN: That's absolutely -- absolutely right.

COOPER: David Gergen, it's always good to talk to you. Appreciate your perspective.

GERGEN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Thank you.

You know, cynics might say that President Bush's appearance today with the star of the most amazing feel-good story in a very long time, Jason McElwain, the autistic manager of an Upstate New York high school basketball team who was allowed a "What the heck" couple of minutes of floor time in a recent game, and ended up sinking three- pointer after three-pointer after three-pointer after three-pointer, cynics might say the president's appearance with him was designed to shift the country's attention off all the terrible news from Iraq.

Maybe, but we're not cynics. We think the president just wanted to rub shoulders with someone for whom things have been going really well lately, just, you know, for maybe a change of pace.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you can see, a -- a special person has greeted me at the airport.

Jason, you mind if I call you J-Mac?

JASON MCELWAIN, FORMER HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL MANAGER/PLAYER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: I call him J-Mac. You can call me George W.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER (voice-over): So, how does a 17-year-old from Greece, New York, meet the president?

Well, let's set the scene, February 15. Greece Athena boys varsity basketball vs. Spencerport -- it was Greece's last home game. Jason McElwain, the team's manager, was hoping to get to play.

JIM JOHNSON, HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COACH OF JASON MCELWAIN: We had talked about, before his senior year, that we would like to suit him up for his last senior home game and, hopefully, get him in the game. And we were fortunate enough to get him in the last four minutes.

COOPER: Coach Jim Johnson put Jason into the game with, to be precise, four minutes and 19 seconds on the clock.

JOHNSON: The first possession, he gets the ball. He shoots an air ball. He misses, like, by six feet. And I put my hands on my head. And I'm, "Please, lord, just get him a basket."

COOPER: After missing his first shot, Jason tried again and hit a three-pointer, nothing but net.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

COOPER: In all, Jason scored 20 points, six three-pointers, and one two-pointer. When the clock finally ran out, the crowd couldn't contain itself.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

MCELWAIN: That was just great, when they came and just swarmed on me. And, then, I was just like, wow. I finally did something. I finally ended my high school basketball career on a really good note.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

COOPER: Jason, the team manager, remember, was thrust on his teammates' shoulders, hailed as a hero. Jason McElwain became J-Mac. And his story became a national headline.

It wasn't just that Jason had a good game. It wasn't just that he was the team manager, who usually handed out water bottles and tracked statistics. What we haven't mentioned is that Jason is autistic. He didn't speak until he was 5 years old, though, these days, he's talking plenty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICAN MORNING")

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Is it something that -- that bothers you, when you feel that people describe you that way, or do you think, this is part of who I am, and -- and you're fine with it?

MCELWAIN: It's just part of who I am. And I don't really care about it, anyways.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Basketball is also part of who Jason is. At another game, he was back on the sidelines and turning down pre-game interviews, his focus entirely on the team.

MCELWAIN: So, we're now in the finals.

COOPER: Jason's fairy tale has yet to end. Hollywood has been knocking on his door. And, today Jason, his parents and coach Johnson, met President Bush.

BUSH: Saw it on TV. Saw it on TV...

QUESTION: What was your reaction?

BUSH: ... and I wept.

I want to thank you for being here.

MCELWAIN: Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: You probably didn't realize the impact you were going to have on -- on people all across America and around the world when -- when you made those six threes in a row.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, if Jason doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will today.

Just ahead, it was a suspect from day one -- he was, I should say -- fierce lightning just before -- excuse me -- fierce lightning was the suspect just before the Sago Mine explosion. Tonight, the company that owns the mine says an independent investigation suggests that is what happened. Keep in mind, it's not the final report, and it is the company who is saying this. So, how exactly could lightning have caused the tragedy? We will investigate. Also, the DNA evidence that police say matches Darryl Littlejohn, the suspect in the murder of the 24-year-old Imette St. Guillen, a tiny speck of blood -- but how exactly did they make that link? We will take you inside a crime lab.

And the lawsuit that has launched a national campaign -- should men have the right to choose not to be a father once their baby is conceived? -- coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JANUARY 4, 2006)

BEN HATFIELD, PRESIDENT & CEO, INTERNATIONAL COAL GROUP: We do know what happened. And I think it would be a disservice to the investigation to try to speculate on what may have happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, remember that? That was back in January, Ben Hatfield, the CEO of International Coal Group, the company that owns the Sago Mine.

He was responding to a question on what might have caused the explosion that killed 12 miners. Well, tonight, the company suggests it knows what happened. It briefed families, saying a lightning strike triggered an explosion of methane gas, essential calling it an act of God. Now, keep in mind, a federal investigation is still pending, and the company wouldn't be liable if an act of God caused the disaster.

With the government's OK, Sago Mine will likely reopen tomorrow.

CNN's Tom Foreman looks at the lightning scenario.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A fierce lightning storm was pounding the hills of West Virginia when the Sago Mine exploded. Federal investigators initially put the time of the blast at around 6:30 a.m. Now the mine operators have pinpointed the time to 6:26, the moment when, as CNN first reported, remote sensors detected two lightning bolts hitting the ground above the Sago Mine complex, one somewhere in this area, very close to the explosion itself. From the start, authorities were wondering if lightning might be to blame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, JANUARY 2, 2006)

ROGER NICHOLSON, GENERAL COUNSEL, INTERNATIONAL COAL GROUP: The incident coincided with a local thunderstorm, but we do not know, at this time, whether those events were related.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Suspicion that lightning ground strikes might trigger explosions far below drove this study four years ago by the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety and a researcher at the University of Alabama.

The report found that this could happen, especially if the lightning followed a metal conductor. And the company's investigation suggests something like that is what happened. Somehow, the lightning found a conductor, for example, a metal pipe or wire extending from within the mine to the surface, and the electricity followed that metal down into the earth, into a closed and sealed part of the mine.

There, investigators say, they believe the lightning ignited naturally-occurring explosive methane. The company says it is still investigating exactly how the electricity made it from above the ground to the mine beneath, but says the explosion pulverized the 40- inch-thick seals that separated the closed area from the rest of the mine.

(on camera): The Sago Mine was cited for more than 200 violations of mining regulations before the blast, but company officials now say those had nothing to do with this explosion.

(voice-over): Still, government officials, who are conducting their own investigations, will not comment on the company's findings that this accident involved an act of God, at least not yet.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the last time Randy McCloy walked out of his home, it was January 2. He was headed for his shift at the Sago Mine. Today, again, demonstrating recovery few even predicted, he finally made it back -- back home, that is, if only for a visit and a home- cooked meal.

Joining him for barbecue ribs, macaroni and cheese, were his wife and children and brother-in-law. Afterwards, Randy returned to his rehabilitation center. His family says he continues to improve in all respects.

Earlier, we spoke to CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the recovery process.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, Randy McCloy not only made a trip home today, but ate a home-cooked meal, including ribs. That certainly sounds like good news.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It -- it certainly does.

And there's couple of things that sort of struck me. One is that his -- his feeding tube came out, and he's actually eating solid food. You know, actually, swallowing is a -- is a fairly complicated reflex. So, when someone is able to do that, that means significant gains. And I think, also, Anderson, just over the last couple of months, he continues to make positive gains every day. They may not be huge gains, but the -- the fact that he's consistently improving, I think, is very -- very favorable.

COOPER: And -- and, I mean, I suppose returning to familiar surroundings is an important part of recovery?

GUPTA: Yes, absolutely.

You know, even in the hospital, a lot of times, doctors and nurses will recommend that you bring in family photos or just things, even smells, to try and reorient your brain. This is true. I mean, you can actually reorient your brain after a brain injury of any sort.

Certainly, going home, seeing all those familiar things again, eating the home-cooked meal, does the same thing. And it helps really people sort of accelerate their -- their recovery overall.

COOPER: I -- I'm trying to get a sense, though, of what -- what he is like. I mean, how -- you know, I don't really understand where he is in his recovery process. I mean, can he -- can he speak? Can -- if you met him, would you, you know, be able to communicate with him?

GUPTA: It sounds like he's able to do a couple things.

One is he's able to receive communication, so understand what somebody is saying, and also able to express himself, to some degree. I -- I haven't spoken to him, as you know. But it sounds like he's communicative, which -- which is an important thing.

The thing I find, also, interesting, Anderson, is if you -- if you look at, you know, overall people who have had this sort of injury, there has been some studies on people like this. And they find that about half the people go on to have either a full recovery or a very good recovery, with mild neurological deficits.

The fact that, just two months now after his injury, his carbon monoxide injury, he has had such significant improvements, I think bodes well long term. He could continue to improve up to about a year-and-a-half after his -- his first injury.

COOPER: And -- and there are still a lot of questions about exactly what happened in that mine.

Is -- is there any way to knowing whether he will actually be able to remember any of that and also if we will ever learn exactly why he was able to survive, where -- whereas others weren't?

GUPTA: As far -- as far as his remembering, yes, that's -- that's actually dictated by lots of different things.

People think that the -- the memory of a traumatic situation can really be a switch one way or the other. On one hand, the adrenaline is so high when you're being traumatized, as he was in this situation, that it sears those memories into your brain. That's one school of thought.

Other people believe, sometimes, the adrenaline can be so high that it actually flips a switch off, and you just don't remember anything.

As far as why he -- he -- he survived, when so many others didn't, it could have been that lung injury, Anderson. You remember that his lung was actually collapsed. And, as a result, he may not have breathed in as much carbon monoxide.

I talked to a few different doctors around the country about this. They thought that that might be a factor, as well as his youth. He was one of the youngest, maybe the youngest, in the mine. That -- that probably played a role as well.

COOPER: Amazing.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, coming up next, the science of blood -- how investigators traced invisible evidence to link a suspect to the Imette St. Guillen murder. That is coming up.

First, Erica Hill with the top stories right now we are covering -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.

We start off tonight in Hawaii, where heavy rains caused an earthen dam to burst on the island of Kauai. A torrent of water, 150 yards across -- across -- swept away homes. At least one person was killed. As many as seven others were reported missing. Helicopters are now searching for victims in the debris and the floodwaters that ran into the Pacific.

In Rhode Island, meantime, the U.S. Coast Guard is contradicting an earlier statement. It says it is still searching for three college students whose rowboat was found off Narragansett Bay. The three were last heard from at 4:00 a.m. Monday, when a security offer -- officer said he heard voices on the water. That area, though, was cloaked in fog.

And just your daily dose of cute here -- keepers at the San Diego Zoo feeding a 2-day-old condor, California condor chick, using -- what else -- a condor puppet. It marks the 128th condor to hatch at the Wild Animal Park. Zoo officials expect more hatchlings into May.

So, if you're lucky, A.C. 360...

(LAUGHTER)

HILL: ... maybe a few more pictures like that one. COOPER: Oh, we can only dream.

Erica, thanks.

Just ahead, he has fathered more than a dozen children, but they only know their dad as number 401. Should they be allowed to know more about the sperm donor who gave them life? And what about his right to privacy?

Also, Imette St. Guillen died a horrible death, and now police say a tiny speck of blood links her to their chief suspect. But how do they know that? We're going go inside a crime lab and show you how science can reveal what is invisible to the naked eye -- next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, there has been so much media coverage, we now know her smile, just like we came to know Laci Peterson and Natalee Holloway's.

We also know the horrible way Imette St. Guillen died. The beautiful graduate student was raped and murdered two-and-a-half weeks ago. And now New York City police believe they have their man, Darryl Littlejohn, a bouncer and an ex-con who worked at the bar where Ms. St. Guillen was last seen.

Prosecutors are now presenting their case to a grand jury. An indictment could come as early as Friday. Now, their strongest piece of evidence so far is a tiny speck of blood.

Here's CNN's Rick Sanchez.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We see it all the time on TV, crime scene investigators find a tiny spot of blood, take it to the lab, test it, then use to it catch a suspected killer. New York City police say that's what they found, a speck of blood on a plastic tie used to bind Imette St. Guillen's hands. And, they say, that blood belongs this to this man, Darryl Littlejohn.

So how do they do it, turn the tiniest find into potentially damning evidence? I came here to a forensics research lab at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the same school, ironically, where Imette St. Guillen was studying forensic science, to find out.

(on camera): Could enough blood accumulate in one of those little crevices to supply DNA?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's quite possible. I think at this stage we ought to take a look and see if there is any blood present.

SANCHEZ (voice over): Even if you can't see it, the evidence may still be there. Forensic experts look for it using swabs and solutions. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what we're going to do is we're going to swab down the suspected area thoroughly.

SANCHEZ: The swab itself is then dipped into another solution which is squeezed into this small card.

(on camera): So what we're looking for is two bands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.

SANCHEZ: If we see two bands there this is human blood?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Human blood.

SANCHEZ: And what do we see there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you see two bands. There's a band at the test line and a band at the control line. This is a positive result for human blood.

SANCHEZ (voice over): Scientists can test even the smallest trace of blood no bigger than the head of a pin. And they do it with machines like this one.

(on camera): So could you say what that machine does is it reproduces the DNA for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, indeed, it does. It replicates DNA. It does it faithfully so that there are no errors that are incorporated. It's very much like what goes on in one's cells.

SANCHEZ (voice over): Now that there's enough DNA to work with, it's time to find out just who this DNA belongs to with the help of a laser.

(on camera): It's almost as if the laser shot forces that particular sample to give up its secret.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Indeed, it does. That's exactly right. If it were not for the laser, we couldn't really read all of the genetics of the sample.

SANCHEZ (voice over): And here it is. It may look like nothing more than graphs on a screen, but it's a genetic code specific to just one human being that matches these 13 markers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you went to the random population and tried to find the same genetic markers, exactly the same genes, you would have to go through more than one in a trillion people, which is more than all the people on the planet that ever were or ever will be and, therefore, it's absolute identification.

SANCHEZ: When we watch our favorite cop shows it takes about an hour to come to a conclusion. But for real life CSIs, the process takes a little longer.

(on camera): Mr. Littlejohn's attorney, Mr. O'Donnell, says, why is it taking two weeks to get this back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in real life, it's laborious. I mea, there's -- you have to pay a lot of attention to every step. You've got to be very careful because this stuff is going to end up in court and you don't want to make any mistakes.

SANCHEZ (voice over): And to avoid mistakes, every step is written down, which means a test like this would require 300 pages of documentation.

Great TV? No. But it's more likely to hold up in court.

Rick Sanchez, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The real CSI.

It is the case that's being called "Roe v. Wade for Men." A new lawsuit out says fathers who don't want to be fathers shouldn't have to pay child support. What do you think? Are they right or are they trying to avoid paying up?

The story coming up.

Plus, why a sleeping pill, a very popular one, might be waking up your appetite while you're deep asleep. Sleep eating, they call it.

You're watching 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Thirty-three years ago, Roe v. Wade gave women the right to choose. But what about men?

Tonight, a computer programmer from Michigan says he never chose to be a parent, so why should he have to pay child support? He calls it unfair, unequal and unconstitutional. Others have a different name for his argument.

CNN's Jonathan Freed has both sides.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Matt Dubay is 25 years old. He's single, and for now he wants to keep it that way. But Dubay is also the father of an 8-month-old girl named Elizabeth. And that's the problem.

(on camera): Was filing the lawsuit a difficult decision for you to make?

MATT DUBAY, FATHER OF ELIZABETH WELLS: It was a long decision to make.

FREED (voice over): Dubay is suing his exgirlfriend, 20-year-old Lauren Wells, because he believes he shouldn't be forced to pay $560 a month in child support.

DUBAY: During the time we were seeing each other I made it very clear to her that I was not ready to be a father, and she made it very clear to me that she was incapable of becoming pregnant because of a condition.

FREED: The ex-couple's battle here in Saginaw, Michigan, has become the centerpiece of a national campaign to allow men to reject the responsibilities of fatherhood.

A rights group called The National Center for Men is backing the lawsuit, calling its legal crusade "Roe versus Wade for Men," after the landmark Supreme Court decision that gives women the legal right to an abortion.

MEL FEIT, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MEN: I want this to be a very narrow right, a very limited time in which a man can say to a woman, you knew I did not want to be a father, we have discussed this. And now it is your body, it is your right to do with your body and your pregnancy what you want. But I am letting you know now that I choose not to be responsible. I will have no rights to this child, but I will also relinquish responsibilities.

FREED: Dubay feels he was shut out.

DUBAY: She was given the right to, you know, have an abortion, keep the child, put the child up for adoption, and whatever she chooses, I have to go along with. You know, under, you know, our laws, our Constitution, that doesn't seem right to me.

FREED (on camera): Matt Dubay saw his child for the first time a few months ago here at the Saginaw County courthouse. It was for a blood test to establish if he was the father. And it is the only time he has seen his daughter.

(voice over): Women's rights groups insist men like Dubay are not being forced into parenthood, saying child support payments are a fair and modest alternative to the lifetime commitment of being a father.

KATHY RODGERS, PRESIDENT, LEGAL MOMENTUM: All I see in this from the men's point of view is, you know, they want to have all the fun and none of the responsibility.

FREED: Dubay's lawyer insists the lawsuit isn't trying to create an escape route.

(on camera): So you're saying this is not an attempt to give men an easy way out of being careless during a one-night stand?

JEFFERY COJOCAR, MATT DUBAY'S LAWYER: No, not at all.

FREED (voice over): Jeff Cojocar says it's about trying to extend to men the freedom of choice the Supreme Court decision gave to women. COJOCAR: Men should have the same rights. Men should have equality under the law. Men should have certain choices that they don't have right now.

FREED: But, while equality under the law sounds like a good idea, some say the law is very different once a baby is born.

RODGERS: It's been decided that both parents have to have responsibility. And that means the father in this case has to pay some money. And that's all he has to do.

BILL SMITH, LAUREN WELLS' LAWYER: Their 8-month-old daughter Elizabeth is a vibrant and healthy baby.

FREED: Baby Elizabeth's mother issued a statement through her lawyer.

SMITH: "My focus is on providing a nurturing home for our baby. I am disappointed that Matt has decided not to participate in Elizabeth's life so far."

FREED: The lawsuit also names the state of Michigan. And Dubay's lawyer says if his side wins he's hoping it will force state legislators to redraft the rules, giving men and women the same rights.

DUBAY: For the child to be growing up in a broken home, where the mother and father do not get along, you know, I just don't see that as a fit environment for a child to be raised.

FREED: If successful, the lawsuit could encourage similar court challenges in other States.

Jonathan Freed, CNN, Saginaw, Michigan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Legally, it is a very big long shot. What do you think, though? Should men have what he calls reproductive rights and if they choose to bear zero financial responsibility in raising a child?

We're going to leave the legal answer to the courts. But for the moral issue, I talked to Randy Cohen. He's the ethicist for "The New York Times Magazine." He joined me earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, as an ethicist, does this make any sense to you?

RANDY COHEN, ETHICIST: Yes. Yes. Alas, deadbeat dads have a lobbyist.

COOPER: That's what you think this is about?

COHEN: I do think that's what this is about, yes. It's a way to avoid paying child support, first and last. COOPER: That's it?

COHEN: I think.

COOPER: But they say, why shouldn't men have -- you know, that the women get to choose whether or not to have a baby, whether to have an abortion. They have choices, men are not presented with those same set of choices.

COHEN: They do have a set of choices. First, you choose whether to sleep with someone or not. And then you choose -- there's this crazy thing. It's called contraception.

If you're really determined not to have a child, you employ contraception. Contraception is not 100 percent reliable. The girlfriend was using contraception, but if this fellow was really determined not to have a child, why did -- you can have a vasectomy, you make sure you use a condom, or you recognize that if you have sex, there's the possibility of pregnancy.

COOPER: But, I mean, he says that this woman said that she was infertile, couldn't have a child, and that she was using contraception on top of that. So his bases were covered.

COHEN: All of which were -- welcome to earth, I say to him. This is what it is, life among the humans, that many people who act as responsibly as they can -- I mean, near as I can tell from the story, there was no deception involved. She was as surprised as he. And that's the nature of sex.

COOPER: If there was deception involved, ethically, would it be different?

COHEN: Yes, we're against deception ethically, especially the more intimately you're involved...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: But would his responsibilities -- would he be absolved of responsibilities?

COHEN: No. No, he would not.

COOPER: Even if deceit?

COHEN: Because if only there were -- you know, this is a terrible thing about intimate relationships. You want to avenge yourself against your ex, but you can't because there's a child involved. Little hostages to fortune, I think they've been called.

So that she's not asking for money for herself, that she is asking for child support. That is, he now has a child. And he has ethical...

COOPER: Whether he wanted it or not, whether he had a choice in it or not? COHEN: Thousands of thousands of people every day are surprised to discover that they're going to have children. And people who act really responsibly, they use contraception, they think they're not going to get pregnant, and suddenly you're pregnant and you have to deal with it.

Women have to deal with it. And he has to deal with it, too. It's his child.

COOPER: But do -- I mean, is it fair to say, really -- I mean, women do have a different set of choices...

COHEN: Yes, they do.

COOPER: ... than men have.

COHEN: Yes. That is the nature of human biology. But his position seems to accord her three choices.

If we were to honor his position, it is -- he can compel her to have abortion. Well, no ethical system would allow that. We respect the sanctity of the body. We don't even -- we couldn't compel someone to give a kidney to someone else.

We don't -- that's not a morally tenable position. So he proposes to either force her to have an abortion, force her to give up her child for adoption, yes? Well, no, ethical system would compel -- there's no reason to think she's not a good mother.

And the third choice is, OK, well, you're on your own and I'm not going to pay for the support of my own child. Those seem to -- that seems to be his position. And that's not my idea of moral responsibility.

Once you have sex, there's always the risk that there might be a child. And you have obligations to that child.

COOPER: It's a fascinating discussion to have. Randy Cohen, thanks.

COHEN: Thanks for having me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, from one daddy who doesn't want to be to one daddy whose identity is not known. Sperm donor 401, anonymous no longer. Their moms used the Internet to put a name to sperm donor 401. But was that the right thing to do? Should sperm donors have privacy at all?

Some tough questions ahead.

And legendary newsman Mike Wallace is taking a step back. We'll have details on that when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, these days, the science of parenthood doesn't always involve knowing who the parents are. In the case of the families you're about to meet, the father is a sperm donor and a number, 401. But perhaps not for long. The question is, is tracking down dad a bad thing or is it a right?

CNN's Dan Simon investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Carla Schouten knew what she was looking for in a man.

CARLA SCHOUTEN, MOTHER: I wanted somebody that had a quick smile and a nice laugh.

SIMON: Former rugby player Lisa Weix describes her ideal guy as athletic.

LISA WEIX, MOTHER: He loves sports, he loves the outdoors.

SIMON: And Leann Mischel wanted a guy with height.

LEANN MISCHEL, MOTHER: So I screened for over six feet tall.

SIMON: The ladies hit the Internet. No, not match.com. This wasn't about dates and dinner. The women were looking for a sperm donor and logged on to a site that let's them choose the perfect DNA.

(on camera): The Web site was for the Fairfax Cryobank, a sperm bank in Virginia. And when they came across the profile for 401, they knew they had their match -- 401 sounds like a heck of a guy: 6'4, college football, all-American, a masters degree, someone you wouldn't mind introducing to your parents.

(voice over): And by all accounts, 401, who wishes to remain anonymous, helped produce some beautiful children.

This is Carla's son Tice (ph).

Lisa delivered twins, Eliza (ph) and Julia (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Peek-a-boo.

SIMON: And Leann got Ethan (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ghost!

MISCHEL: A ghost!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

SIMON: But there are more -- 401's sperm produced at least 14 children and as many as 20 from at least 11 mothers. Many of them gave us photos.

WEIX: It's a little strange, but it's strangely wonderful. You know? I mean, we have what we always wanted, which is kids.

SCHOUTEN: Yes.

WEIX: And they're, you know, happy and healthy and they're doing great.

SIMON: But how do these mothers know each other? Sperm banks usually operate confidentially.

The site donorsiblingregistry.com is connecting women who had the same sperm donor. The site allows mothers to log on to the site, type in the number or profile of their donor and see if there are any matches.

That's how Carla and Lisa met online. Then the two women from northern California met face to face, and since then have become close friends.

WEIX: I think we're close.

SCHOUTEN: Yes. Yes. It's -- I really couldn't feel closer to you.

SIMON: Julia (ph) and Eliza (ph) also have a half-sibling.

WEIX: They're going to know each other when they grow up. I always think of it as sort of cousins. We go camping in the summer. We do birthdays. We have play dates.

SIMON: The sperm bank industry is largely unregulated. And the banks vigorously protect donors' identities. But some say the donors shouldn't be able to remain anonymous, depriving families of knowing their own background.

SCHOUTEN: Yes, I got you.

SIMON: They say sperm banks should require donors to agree that their children can contact them when they turn 18. That's the law in some European countries. But there's a fear that could significantly reduce the number of willing donors like 401.

SCHOUTEN: I would love to meet him just to say hi and see what it really looks like to see him smile.

SIMON: There's no indication 401 wants to emerge from the shadows. In fact, he's now out of the baby business. He no longer wants to donate his sperm.

Well, that left Leann Mischel in a lurch, who wanted to have a second child with his DNA.

MISCHEL: If you're smart, you're buying in bulk for extra. I was not that forward-thinking.

SIMON: It just so happened, though, that Carla had an extra vial of 401 sperm and gave it to her. SCHOUTEN: And I felt really good about being able to give it to somebody that needed it so desperately. That was -- that felt good.

SIMON: Carla's gift created another, Baby Emma, 401's newest edition to the world.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Man, fascinating. Can you imagine suddenly realizing you've got 14 kids out there? Unbelievable. Sign of the times.

Coming up next, will the airlines be charging extra for seatbelts next? I know it sounds a little crazy, but it probably won't sound so -- nearly so crazy, at least, when you hear what they are charging more for now. Here's a hint, if you sit cross-legged you can save some money.

And a very worrisome side-effect to antibiotics. When they're given to babies, doctors say they all too frequently lead to asthma. What parents need to know, ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, how the daily explosions in Iraq are shaking things up a long way away in Washington. That ahead.

But first, Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with some of the business stories tonight.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

COOPER: I want to thank our international viewers for watching.

Just ahead, the casualties of war in Iraq and in Washington. And more troops may be on the way instead of coming home.

We'll explain ahead.

And the story of the day. He may never make it to the final four, but he's number one with the president of the United States. A remarkable young man. We'll tell you his story.

And also, what on earth could make you get up in the middle of the night, fry yourself a bunch of bacon and eggs in your sleep? Some not-so-mouth-watering side-effects of a very popular prescription drug that you might be taking for sleep right now.

Details coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

CNN U.S.
CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNNAvantGo Ad Info About Us Preferences
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines