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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Orleans Levee Reconstruction Behind Schedule?; White House Press Secretary Resigns; Arrested Duke Lacrosse Players Have Alibi; Global Warming in Alaska; Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes Give Birth
Aired April 19, 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: A lot in Washington, not politics as usual today.
Good evening, everyone -- a makeover at the White House. The shake-ups continue. The press secretary calls it quits. Karl Rove, one of the most powerful men in the White House, well, he just lost some of that power.
ANNOUNCER: Spring cleaning at the White House. Who's out? Who's next? And what will happen to Karl Rove? We're covering all the angles.
Danger zone -- a promise to have the levees built by the start of the hurricane season. Experts say they won't be ready to save New Orleans. We're "Keeping Them Honest."
And TomKat's kitten -- Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have a baby girl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like Moon Unit and Dweezil and -- no, thank you.
ANNOUNCER: With a name of many different meanings.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, here's Anderson cooper.
COOPER: And a good evening to you. Thanks for joining us.
We begin with big changes among all the president's men. Three days ago, the new chief of staff, Josh Bolten, said he would overhaul the West Wing. Well, today, the makeover began. After two-and-a-half years as the president's messenger, Press Secretary Scott McClellan said he was resigning.
That was followed by the bigger story involving perhaps the president's most powerful, trusted, and powerful adviser -- I said powerful twice, but he is that powerful -- Karl Rove. (LAUGHTER)
COOPER: Tonight, the man known as the brain and the architect, well, he lost some of his power, and it's hard to believe he volunteered.
All the angles tonight behind the shake-up -- was McClellan forced out? And what's behind the changes in Rove's responsibilities? I will talk to David Gergen, Joe Klein, and Torie Clarke, who is being mentioned as a possible successor to McClellan.
Also tonight, who is next? Donald Rumsfeld received a vote of confidence, but so did Harriet Miers before she resigned. Are Rumsfeld's days numbered?
Also, with the midterm elections drawing closer, we will see what the White House changes mean for both parties and the country.
We begin with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux on today's major makeover.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan announced his departure very much like his arrival, shoulder to shoulder with the president, clearly emotional.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have given it my all, sir, and I have given you my all.
MALVEAUX: Promoted from Deputy Press Secretary nearly three years ago, McClellan knew he had inherited a political firestorm. The U.S. had just invaded Iraq a couple of months before. McClellan was faced with an increasingly skeptical press corps over faulty pre-war intelligence.
MCCLELLAN: And we are confident that we will uncover the full extent of his weapons of mass destruction program and his weapons of mass destruction.
MALVEAUX: In the words of McClellan's predecessor, he would become the human pinata, as the most visible face of the White House, second only to the president. He religiously stuck to his talking points but also used humor.
MCCLELLAN: It may not look like it, but there's a little flesh that's been taken out of me the last few days.
MALVEAUX: But McClellan got stuck over some inconsistencies, namely, over the involvement of top advisers Karl Rove and Scooter Libby in the CIA leak case.
QUESTION: You have got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not? MCCLELLAN: And, again, David, I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time.
MALVEAUX: The president remained loyal to his spokesman. McClellan was a member of Mr. Bush's inner circle from his days as Texas governor, serving as his press secretary there in 1999, before following Mr. Bush to Washington.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity.
MALVEAUX: But now, with just two-and-a-half years remaining to get anything done, Mr. Bush's agenda has stalled, his poll numbers plummeted, and his relations with Congress, controlled by his own party, strained.
As CNN first reported two weeks ago, Mr. Bush's new chief of staff was looking for a fresh face at the podium to signal change. Monday, McClellan spoke to the president about moving on.
Republican sources say, those being considered to replace McClellan include FOX anchor and conservative radio talk show host Tony Snow and former Bush administration spokespeople Dan Senor, Rob Nichols, and Torie Clarke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SITUATION ROOM")
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Will Torie Clarke go back and serve this administration if asked?
VICTORIA CLARKE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not happening. It's not -- it's not under consideration. They're not going to ask. I'm not going to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: In another move to shake up the West Wing, perhaps more significant to some, Karl Rove is being stripped of his policy duties to focus more on the November elections, to ensure Republicans maintain control of Congress.
The White House insists, this downsizing of Rove's duties is not a demotion. Instead, senior administration officials concede, Rove's plate was too full, because he was involved in policy for every major area of the administration. The hope now is, this streamlining will allow Rove to focus on what he does best, winning elections.
But, considering Rove's close access to the president, Democrats suspect his diminished portfolio is just cosmetic.
MALVEAUX: So, Anderson, of course, the real question tonight is whether or not there will be any real substantive changes in how this White House operates. I spoke with several senior administration officials this evening, who say they really are going outside of the box. They are even potentially looking at journalists, perhaps, as filling Scott McClellan's seat. They say they want things to be more open and more efficient here at the White House, specifically with the press. We will see if all of that, of course, is just spin.
But I did speak to White House counselor Dan Bartlett, who said, at least for this week, don't expect any more personnel change announcements. So, we will perhaps bring some more on Monday.
COOPER: So, not this week, but, next week, who knows.
MALVEAUX: Who knows.
COOPER: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, thanks.
David Gergen has seen a few White House shake-ups in his day. The former presidential adviser joins me now from Boston. And, in Washington, "TIME" magazine columnist Joe Klein, also the author of the new book "Politics Lost."
Guys, thanks for being with us.
David, let's start off with you.
What do you make of what happened today?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, Anderson, I think these are important changes, in the sense it's going to make the White House more efficient. Their execution should get better. And I think they will have better relationships with Congress.
But, when you get beyond that, in terms of substance, in terms of approach to governance, there are no indications so far of changes. And I really don't think there's -- I think there's less there than meets the eye with the Karl Rove change.
COOPER: How -- what -- well, actually, let me bring in Joe.
Joe, do you agree with that?
JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": I'm not sure yet.
It -- it seems to me that Josh Bolten, over the last week, is really setting his own stamp on it. And it's a -- you know, the White House has been filled with executives, with very, very few managers. And it -- it seems to me, that, with his Goldman Sachs background, Bolten is a managerial sort. And what he really needed was a nuts- and-bolts person to handle the nitty-gritty of -- of policy.
Karl Rove wasn't doing that. And I think that Josh -- Joel Kaplan will be.
COOPER: David, you say maybe we're reading too much into -- to Karl Rove's new assignment. How so? GERGEN: Well, in two ways.
One, the job he had on the domestic side was not as major formulator of policy. He was coordinating the policy-making operation. And Josh (sic) Kaplan is moving into that role.
When decisions are made on domestic policy, Karl Rove is still going to be at the table. He's still going to be one of the biggest voices. And with elections approaching in November, his -- his voice is going to get even more important on the -- on the policy side.
And, of course, what's driving all of this, Anderson, why -- why all these changes are coming, is because of the low poll numbers of the president and the need felt up on Capitol Hill among Republicans to get this presidency back on track, so they don't lose seats in a wholesale way.
So, I think putting him back into the politics is actually -- this is exactly what this is about. This -- this whole change is about politics. It's about straightening out and making this organization do a little better, so that they can be more effective at the polls.
That's why I think Karl Rove's voice, if anything, is going to be just as important, and perhaps even more important, as these new midterm elections loom.
COOPER: Joe Klein, does it also mean that -- that Bolten is kind of exerting some of his power, that he can effect change with -- with this most powerful man, Karl Rove?
KLEIN: Yes. I -- I -- I think it -- it may mean that.
But this is perfectly on message with my new book, "Politics Lost," which is about political consultants taking over too much of the process of governance. And that's been a real problem with the Bush White House. This has been a White House that has been far more interested in winning the daily news cycle, winning the week, than planning out strategy on -- on major policy issues in -- over the long term.
That is a Karl Rove signature, and that has been a major problem with the White House. And David is right. That part of it may not change.
COOPER: David, you say this might actually strengthen Karl Rove. But you also nodded when I asked about whether it strengthens Bolten.
GERGEN: Oh, I think that Bolten is going to have responsibility for the execution.
And I think he will bring -- and, as we talked about the other night, there's no question that this president is invested in Josh Bolten an enormous amount of authority on personnel. And I think there are going to be some more changes coming. I wouldn't -- I -- I believe we are likely to have a new treasury secretary soon. And I do believe there will probably be more small -- some changes in the White House. But -- so, I think both of them are going to emerge as the two top players within the White House and within -- indeed, within the government.
What they are still missing, Anderson -- and to go to -- to go right back to Joe Klein's point, which is -- is very much on target, they don't have a heavyweight in there as architect of imaginative policies. Josh Bolten is going to be executing a lot of things, but there's a lot of new salesmanship to what these changes are all about, as opposed to coming up with new policies.
KLEIN: And the other -- the other really important thing is this.
The most important issue, George Bush's legacy, is going to be the war in Iraq. And that is still being controlled by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, who is facing an unprecedented rebellion of the uniformed military against his leadership. And these changes have nothing to do with that.
COOPER: Do these changes, however, divert attention away from the Rumsfeld controversy, and perhaps, are they intention -- I mean, is that -- is that intended, David?
GERGEN: I think there is something to that. Indeed...
GERGEN: ... one had to wonder whether -- whether Andy Card, the chief of staff, was, in some ways, being made a scapegoat for all their troubles, when their real troubles are in Iraq, and he had nothing to do with that.
But I -- I think there's one other piece of this. I don't think this, in and of itself, is going to help the White House get out of the hole they're in. What it ought to help them do is that they ought not to be making the kind of mistakes that they have made in Katrina, and then in -- and in the -- in the Dick Cheney case, and in the Dubai thing, when they were too slow to react. They didn't get on top of it fast enough.
I do think that Bolten will bring a much more sort of a -- he's going to bring a freshness to that. They're going to move faster now. I think he's going to -- I think that change -- so, they may not make as many mistakes as they made in the past. But to go -- again, Joe Klein's right. You know, everything rides on Iraq. And this has nothing to do with Iraq.
KLEIN: I -- I do believe, though, that there's going to be some new energy in the White House, which is -- and some fresh blood.
This guy, Kaplan, apparently is a young, creative, high-energy guy, who -- who's a real policy wonk. And I think, whoever this new press secretary is going to be, especially if it's someone like Torie Clarke or Dan Senor, it is going to be someone who is far more comfortable and easy with the press than Scott McClellan, who you always thought was, you know, about to be punched -- you know, have his lights punched out, you know...
COOPER: We are going to...
GERGEN: Yes, but -- but let me -- what -- what -- one thing about this, Anderson, this came awfully late.
If they had done this back in the fall, this would have been a lot more effective. Now they're in such a deep hole, he has been -- you know, the president has been mired down in the 30s and low 40s now for a year. And it's just not easy to turn public opinion around after that.
I think opinion is, to a significant degree, crystallized now, many for the president, many, many others against the president. To -- to change the face of the White House does not -- as other presidents have learned...
GERGEN: ... that alone -- if you don't change direction, and you just change some faces...
COOPER: Not enough.
GERGEN: ... if it's all wine in new bottles, it -- it doesn't move the opinion polls very much.
COOPER: David Gergen, Joe Klein, thanks.
Joe is just getting warmed up. At 11:00, we are going to talk to him about his new book, "Politics Lost," and why he says the current state of politics is a disaster. We will also talk with him what's really going on behind closed doors with the Pentagon and Rumsfeld.
Guys, thanks for being with us.
So, why was McClellan all smiles today? Well, maybe if you had a job as tough a job as his, you would be smiling on your way out as well. Coming up, we will show you just how brutal it can be and how McClellan handled it.
Plus, two Duke University students arrested, charged with rape, but were they even at the scene of the alleged crime? We are going to have the latest from Durham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's definitely a demotion. You know, but -- nobody ever surrenders power in the West Wing voluntarily, nobody, ever, and Karl especially.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The politics of Karl Rove -- two very different takes on what's happening to the man they call "The Brain."
We will debate that when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCLELLAN: It has been an extraordinary honor and privilege to serve you for more than seven years now, the last two years and nine months, as your press secretary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was Scott McClellan today announcing his resignation.
I doubt they will ever post a job listing for it on the White House Web site, but the president is searching for a new press secretary. Now, the position calls for experience, good communication skills, and, as McClellan will tell you, a very thick skin.
CNN's Candy Crowley has more on his battles with the press.
MCCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone. Happy Friday.
The employment report shows that our economy is strong and growing.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The job of a White House press secretary is to talk about good stuff to people looking for bad stuff.
QUESTION: ... where this White House, where this administration went wrong in its response to Katrina.
MCCLELLAN: You know, David, there are some that are interested in playing the blame game.
CROWLEY: When everybody else is busy or at lunch or in a meeting or ducking calls, this job requires you show up for battle sometimes unarmed, wearing a smile, throwing out tidbits, refusing to take the bait.
CROWLEY: It was easiest the first day.
MCCLELLAN: That friendly response there is a trap.
CROWLEY: It was July of '03. The president's approval rating was 62 percent. The war was four months old.
MCCLELLAN: We are confident that we will uncover the full extent of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction program.
CROWLEY: Since then, McClellan has talked, argued, cajoled, and quick-stepped his way through a war gone sour, Abu Ghraib prison abuses, the CIA leak, Katrina, the indictment of a top aide to the vice president, and every etcetera in between.
QUESTION: Is that his gun, that shotgun?
MCCLELLAN: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Was it -- was the vice president...
MCCLELLAN: You will have to talk to the vice president's office and check that fact. You can check with their office.
CROWLEY: In the end, you are a juggler of facts as you think you know them and facts as they turn out to be, serving at the pleasure of the president and mostly the displeasure of the media. You carry water, even when you're hung out to dry.
QUESTION: You have said that you personally went to Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Elliott Abrams to ask them if they were the leakers.
MCCLELLAN: I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved.
CROWLEY: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby did discuss the identity of a CIA agent with reporters. Katrina was an unarguable disaster. And there were no weapons of mass destruction. In the end, you can drown carrying all that water.
MCCLELLAN: I'm ready to move on. I have been in this position a long time.
CROWLEY: He has been press secretary for two years and nine months. But this is a job that should be measured in dog years and headlines. In the end, it's easy to imagine that Scott McClellan would be the first to say, it's time for him to go.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Earlier, I discussed the shake-up and its political ramifications with CNN political analyst Paul Begala and Torie Clarke.
COOPER: So, Paul, former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer had this to say about Scott McClellan's resignation.
He said: "The American people are going to give the president a second look here, in his sixth year, because he's engineering these changes. He needs the country to give him a second look."
Is -- is getting rid of the messenger really going to give a second look at the message?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, and particularly not just firing the press secretary -- not firing -- the press secretary retiring and being replaced.
The president's problem is Iraq. The president's problem is Katrina. The president's problem is the deficit. The president's problem is gasoline prices at three bucks a gallon. Now, I happen to like Scott McClellan. He's a nice guy, but his credibility is shot.
And it's shot because people don't trust the president anymore. It wasn't Scott's fault. It was the president's.
COOPER: Torie, what about that? I mean, do you think this McClellan resignation and the other staff changes, do they actually mean policy changes?
VICTORIA CLARKE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's -- you -- you know, we will see. There are probably more changes to come. You will certainly see more policy initiatives between now and 2008.
But I disagree slightly with Paul. It's not just about communications. It's also not just about substance, because some things, in terms of the economy, are going very well, unemployment being down, hourly wages being up, those sorts of things, productivity high. So, there is a disconnect, because people certainly don't feel that way, as we have seen in the polls.
I think it's partly the substance. I think it's partly this incredible information environment in which we find ourselves these days. It's a much tougher environment, it's a much more competitive environment than any White House has ever faced.
COOPER: Well, as someone who has been in that role in various positions, Torie, I mean, how -- if -- if credibility is a problem for this administration, as Paul argues it is, how do you go about fixing that?
CLARKE: Oh, I think several things.
First and foremost, this person, this new press secretary, they are going to have to make absolutely sure that that person is at the adult table, is an integral member of the overall decision-making team. Also have to make sure that it's not just this person carrying the information burden.
COOPER: Paula, here's what the DNC had to say about Rove's new role in the White House -- quote -- "After having his hand in nearly every bad Bush policy decision and nearly every scandal that has consumed the Bush White House, it is not surprising that Karl Rove was demoted this morning."
How do you see it?
BEGALA: Well, it's definitely a demotion, you know, but -- nobody ever surrenders power in the West Wing voluntarily, nobody, ever, and Karl especially.
COOPER: And that is what he's -- that's what has happened here?
COOPER: No matter how you slice it, this is him giving up power?
BEGALA: Yes. It's -- it's a finite universe. It's -- it -- there's only so much power.
And, when you lose some -- and Karl has lost a lot. He has lost the part of his portfolio that I suspect he enjoyed and wanted the most, which is the substance, the policy part of it. Political hacks like me and like Rove, we take jobs like that in the government, not so that we can be political hacks longer, but that -- so you can try to transition, try to grow, try to learn about policy and -- and affect policy.
That has been taken away from Karl. And I guarantee you he did not offer to surrender that power.
COOPER: Well, the other slice of this, Torie, of course, is that this is a move by Josh Bolten, I assume, to show he has power and is in control.
CLARKE: Well, again, is it a sign that Josh has significant power? Absolutely.
But the difference between this administration and previous ones, quite frankly, is, with this one, it isn't about personal agendas. It isn't about what's good for Karl or what's good for Josh. It's about what's good for the administration and moving the country forward.
COOPER: Wait. You're saying...
CLARKE: And I promise you...
COOPER: ... no one in this White House has a personal agenda? CLARKE: Not as much as some of their predecessors. Let's put it that way. And they're -- and I don't think you have ever had a White House staff that's as dedicated to the cause, and more about the cause than -- than themselves, than this gang. You know, love them or hate them, they are extraordinarily dedicated, sincere people.
COOPER: Should -- should the DNC be quite so pleased with themselves right now, given the fact that now Karl Rove is going to be devoting himself full-time to essentially their destruction?
BEGALA: Well, what do you think he had been doing the last six years, Anderson?
BEGALA: Yes, I mean, I -- I don't think anybody's going to base their vote on what Karl Rove is doing for a living.
It is interesting that he's going to be full-time on politics. If he is, he ought to be paid by the Republican Party, not by the American taxpayers. At least before, there was the pretense that he was working on policy. But I -- don't -- don't forget, our president gave him the task of being in charge of Katrina recovery.
Now, you have covered that story more and better than anybody I know. And, from your reports, I get the sense that the Katrina recovery ain't going real well. And, so, my sense is, Karl has been on politics from day one, and he will be on it until the last dog dies.
COOPER: Torie, you know the question's coming. I got to ask you. Your name has certainly been bantered around...
COOPER: ... to replace Scott McClellan.
CLARKE: Mostly by Paul Begala and Wolf Blitzer, I want to point out.
CLARKE: Mostly bantered by those two.
COOPER: You're all over the Internet.
BEGALA: Oh, no.
COOPER: Yes. Of course, who isn't these days?
CLARKE: That could be very bad.
COOPER: Yes, it could. It depends how.
Is it a job that interests you? Is it a possibility?
CLARKE: No, and no.
And you want to be careful how you talk about things. It's not a consideration for me to go back into government at this time. So, that's -- it's not going to happen.
Having said that, I have enormous respect and admiration for anybody who is willing to serve. I know how hard it is. Paul knows how hard it is. Those people are making sacrifices. And they're mostly doing it for the right reasons, so, enormous appreciation for those who -- who are willing to do it. And I'm going to offer them all the help I can from my unsolicited adviser role. But it's not going to be me.
COOPER: I'm reading your -- your comments for any ambiguities, and I'm not hearing many ambiguities.
COOPER: So, we will...
COOPER: We will leave it at that.
Torie Clarke, Paul Begala, thanks.
COOPER: So, how does Scott McClellan's three years as press secretary stack up against others?
Here's the raw data. The longest-serving press secretary was Stephen Early, who was also the first to hold the title. He served under President Franklin Roosevelt for eight years and then for eight months under President Harry Truman in 1950.
One of the shortest-serving president secretaries was Jonathan Daniels, who also worked under FDR, but only from March '45 until Roosevelt's death on April 12, and then briefly under Truman. That's the raw data.
The hurricane season is a little more than a month away, but will the levees of New Orleans be ready? Remember all those promises they will be ready?
Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest" in a 360 exclusive report.
Coming up, that, but, first, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the other top stories we're following -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
An arrest in the mob beating outside a Las Vegas casino -- we showed you that beating. It was caught on tape. Police say an 18- year-old is now in custody in connection with Saturday's attack near the MGM Grand. The victim, a casino employee, suffered a broken jaw and collarbone and is recuperating at home. Police are still looking for more suspects.
And get this: The bubonic plague is back. The plague, believed to be the black death, which wiped out a third of Europe in the 14th century, has now infected a woman in Los Angeles. It is the country's first confirmed case since 1984.
Also back, the mumps -- the Midwest is experience the worst outbreak of the disease in more than 20 years. The CDC said today, more than 1,000 cases have been tallied in eight states, and the disease is spreading.
On a happier note, if you're lucky enough to avoid bad diseases and plagues, babies in America can expect to live longer than ever before. The federal government says the average life expectancy for Americans born in 2004 is 77.9 years. Now, women can expect to leave -- live 80.4 years.
Anderson, though, you guys, well, still behind us. You're only expected to live 75.2 years.
COOPER: Wow. Well, well...
HILL: We got you beat again. You know, it just happens.
COOPER: All right. Erica, thanks.
As recently as late January, the Army Corps of Engineers was confident that it would have New Orleans' levees ready for hurricane season -- not anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is not surprising to me or to the other members of our delegation or to people in Louisiana that these deadlines keep slipping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With the season on our doorsteps, a scientist and engineer on the project tell us that reconstruction is far behind -- a 360 exclusive tonight, "Keeping Them Honest," next.
Plus, the latest on the alleged rape at Duke -- new reaction, new searches, and new claims that evidence will vindicate those charged and already arrested. Across the country and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: So, does this sound as unbelievable to you as it does to us?
With the new hurricane season just weeks away, June 1, and the stench of rot still wafting over some neighborhoods, and bodies still being recovered from debris in New Orleans, people qualified to know are telling 360 that New Orleans' levees will not be fixed when the season starts.
So, after all that talk, all that money, and all those promises, New Orleans will be at risk all over again.
CNN's Sean Callebs tonight "Keeping Them Honest" in this exclusive report.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The New Orleans levees, the only protection the city has from the waters that surround it -- repairs to the levees, along with massive new floodgates, are supposed to be ready by the start of hurricane season, June 1. It's a race against time.
And a scientist and an engineer on the project tells CNN, the deadline cannot be met. The two men say the demands are too great, and, despite a valiant effort by the Army Corps of Engineers, it's unrealistic to expect the multibillion-dollar repairs to be finished.
The scientist told CNN, he's urging the Corps to go public with news of the likely delay.
COLONEL LEWIS F. SETLIFF, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: It fills you with confidence.
CALLEBS: But despite the voices to the contrary, the colonel heading up Task Force Guardian says, New Orleans will be safe.
SETLIFF: Some of the work will be -- will be ongoing after 1 June. It's not going to be a question of 1 June will come and all the bulldozers will be off the levees.
CALLEBS: But there are a lot of variables that could hold things up, wind, a simple spring breeze could have a big impact. Four giant chair-like devices weighing 75 tons have to be lifted and placed on pilings just like Lego pieces, according to the Corps of Engineers. And the margin for error, perhaps two inches. To complete flood gates, 11 iron plates weighing ten tons apiece have to be lifted and attached to the skeleton of the flood gates. Too much wind, and it becomes too dangerous to use the crane.
SETLIFF: We're doing an amount of work in a short amount of time that's unprecedented. CALLEBS: There are earthen levees being raised as well. Too much rain could slow efforts to use heavy machinery in muck and mud.
SETLIFF: I'm very confident that we'll be done and be able to provide pre-Katrina levels of protection before 1 June.
CALLEBS: The Corps knows the world is watching. And the deadline is approaching.
SETLIFF: The proof will be in the pudding on 1 June. And at some point our work will get tested by Mother Nature.
CALLEBS: No one is eager to test the system, but they may have to soon. The hurricane season is now less than a month and a half away.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And Sean, you're joining us now. So officially they are still saying 1 June, it's going to be done. But you're hearing behind the scenes they're saying no?
CALLEBS: Exactly. We spend spent a great deal of time talking with the colonel overseeing this. And just to give you an idea of the amount of work. We're looking at the pilings here. This is basically one half of the project of one canal. And they hope to put that giant structure, the skeleton, on these pilings in the next day or two. Then they have to pour concrete eight feet deep in the bottom. They have to let that dry. And once that happens, they basically repeat this process that's been on one half of the canal on the other half of the canal. The information that we've received is basically the corps is doing everything it can. Basically they are doing years of work in a matter of months.
But the fact is, this is a great deal of work. However, the colonel was very adamant that he believes this city will be safer than it was before Katrina on June 1st. And as he said, the proof will be in the pudding. It's a very busy road out here Anderson. I know you've driven past it. People come by all the time and look at the progress on this. June 1st is an important deadline in everyone's mind. They really are going to hold the corps to this and make sure they are done. People are watching.
COOPER: And we'll be there watching as well June 1st. Thanks very much, Sean.
Two members of the Duke University lacrosse team have been arrested, charged with raping a stripper who danced at a team party. But a lawyer representing the accused have a time line and ATM receipts they say prove their client's innocence. 360, next.
Plus, what's in a name? Plenty if you happen to be at the top of Hollywood's A-list. Simply Susan or plain Jane, well that just won't do. Not for the baby of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. We'll have that story ahead. But first, is your night life lacking -- I don't know -- a certain something? People in clubs and bars not giving you the respect you deserve? Well two New York City entrepreneurs have stepped into the breech with a service they call "PartyBuddys." They are definitely "on the rise."
reporter: So what if you're not Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan? You can still hit New York City's hot spots celebrity style, thanks to "PartyBuddys."
NAT SOT: Welcome.
NAT SOT: Thank you.
JAMES KING, FOUNDER & CEO, PARTYBUDDYS: PartyBuddys is a night life tour service that brings an entourage with our clients, paparazzi, bodyguard, personal assistants. Andy Warhol once said everybody gets 15 minutes of fame. With "PartyBuddys," you get six hours of fame.
REPORTER: Experienced club goers James King and Jason Rafero created their company two years ago.
KING: The idea came from sitting down, actually partying with my friends and saying, hey, how can we amp up this party a little bit more? The big thing on television is all about fame, who you see this guy walking down the red carpet. You know, and look at him and say, wow, look at that, I wish I could do that.
BUGSY, OWNER, SOHO 323: It was a little bit of a crazy idea. But, once I got to know the gentlemen, once I seen the service they provide, it was all good from then on.
REPORTER: With sales at almost $200,000 and a movie deal in the works, "PartyBuddys" is toasting success. The challenge is staying on top of night life trends.
KING: You've got to keep up with everything that's going on out there because it moves so fast. Because people, when it comes to partying, have a very short attention span. You know I want it hot, I want it now.
COOPER: In tonight's "Justice Served," North Carolina district attorney Mike Nifong says he's hoping to arrest a third member of the Duke University lacrosse team who's alleged to have raped a stripper at a team party. Two members of the team have been arrested so far, and police have searched their dorm rooms, but the question is were they even at the party? CNN's Jason Carroll investigates.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRSPONDENT: Defense attorneys continue to build their case on the premise that two Duke University lacrosse players, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann, both of whom are charged with raping a young woman, were not at the party when the alleged assault took place. The prosecution says the rape happened when the dancer re-entered the lacrosse team members' home after performing. A next-door neighbor who says he saw the young woman try to go back to the home, says that was around 12:30 a.m. But the defense says it has records showing Seligmann called On-Time Taxi at 12:14 from his cell phone. On Time Taxi showed CNN their computer phone log which confirms his call coming in at that time.
At 12:19, defense sources say records show the cab picked him up and drove him to this Wachovia Bank. The driver, Mose Mostafa, tells CNN he remembers picking Seligmann up along with another unidentified man that night.
MOSE MOSTAFA, "ON TIME TAXI" DRIVER: They seemed calm, like normal. I didn't recognize anything different.
CARROLL: 12:24, defense sources say bank records will show Seligmann withdrew money. Minutes later, Mostafa says he drove the player and his friend to the cookout restaurant. Mostafa says he then drove the young men to his dorm. Defense sources say Seligmann's student ID card confirms he arrived at his dorm at 12:41 a.m. The defense attorneys say the time line shows it was not possible for him to be at the house when the alleged assault took place. Seligmann's lawyer says his family is devastated that he is now facing these serious charges.
BILL COTTER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Terrified, I mean, this is awful. If any of you had received a call that said that your son or daughter was charged with a serious crime and you had all the confidence in the world that he or she didn't do that, you'd be terrified. You'd be scared to death, like I said earlier. This is a good, decent, tight family, and next to one of them dying, this is going to be probably the worst thing they ever go through.
CARROLL: The defense says a time line and witnesses will show Collin Finnerty also was at a restaurant when the alleged rape took place. The DA would not comment on the defense attorney's claims.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Jason, regarding the cab driver, it seems his testimony is going to be very important in the case. How certain is he that he drove one of the suspects that night?
CARROLL: He's very certain. And part of the reason why he remembers this young man is because he says he remembers the student giving him a $7 tip on an $18 fare, one of the reasons why he remembers him that night.
COOPER: Also now there are reports that one of these young men has a record for an incident in Washington? Would you know what happened? CARROLL: That is true. Collin Finnerty, apparently six months ago, he was arrested in Washington, D.C. in connection with a gay- bashing incident and we're hearing that his next court appearance on that particular incident is supposed to be on April 25th.
COOPER: Was he convicted of that, or do you know what is the status?
CARROLL: Not yet. Not yet. He has a status hearing that'll be on April 25th. So not convicted as of yet but was arrested six months ago in connection with that incident.
COOPER: Okay and just finally, the grand jury which handed down these two indictments which resulted in the arrests of these two young men, the defense attorneys didn't present evidence to that grand jury, right? That's not how a grand jury works?
CARROLL: No, not -- that is not how the grand jury works. The grand jury only heard evidence from the prosecution, not from the defense. In fact, what you just heard in the report there in terms of what the defense is presenting, that's much more evidence in terms of what the grand jury heard. Grand jury only hears from the prosecution.
COOPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks.
The heat is on. If you may, in many ways, you may just think it's a climate change, and maybe there's a few degrees warmer and that doesn't matter much. If you think that, you might want to look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
-- December to March, it would be, like, 30 below. Not today. Look at this. 12 above or so, you know.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: 12 below. Coming up, we'll show you how global warming is already causing big problems in the United States.
And Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, they've already given their newborn baby the ultimate child celebrity accessory, an exotic headline-grabbing name. We'll look at what it all means, if anything, when "360" continues.
COOPER: We are focusing on global warming this week. A recent Gallup poll shows that while the majority of Americans worry about climate change, only about 30 percent believe it's going to be a problem in their lifetime. The truth is, it is already affecting the lives of people in this country. Joe Johns reports now from the Artic as part of our "The Heat Is On."
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tiny Barrow, Alaska as far north as you can go in the United States. It's wild and dangerous. It is an often desperate and now always fragile life on thin ice. For the native Inupiaq people, ice is life. It's their hunting ground, now facing warmer days. Many scientists believe this is the leading edge of global warming. So what happens here, they say, is a lesson for what will happen everywhere else.
RONALD BROWER, INUPIAQ ELDER: We're normally hunting whales from ice 25 to -- 15 to 25 feet thin. Now -- nowadays, we're hunting whale from ice that's been only 18 inches thick.
JOHNS: The thinning ice means the ice shelf is receding. In other words, the shores are shrinking inward. The Inupiaqs who hunt bull head whales, now must go up to 80 miles across treacherous waters in boats made of seal skin. Tribal elder Ronald Brower almost lost his son on a whaling trip.
BROWER: The ice had thinned between the two camps. And we weren't paying that much attention until my son fell through.
JOHNS: He survived. Natives say others have not. Kenneth Toovak is also a tribal elder. What he's noticed is the blazing sun in summer and the bugs.
KENNETH TOVAK, INUPIAQ ELDER: So now you have to have a rippling, mosquitoes. Bumblebees. The sun hits you on the side of your face, it kind of burns you type thing.
JOHNS: Travel inland, and the effects become more subtle, more like what the rest of America could soon experience. In small native fishing villages like Minto on the Tanana River, elders have noticed a change.
SARAH SILAS, ATHABASCAN ELDER: Our grandfathers and grandmothers, they used to predict the weather. Right now weather is unpredictable.
JOHNS: Fishing is the heart and soul of these communities. Besides deteriorating ice, a few degrees warmer brings new diseases.
PHILIP TITUS, ATHABASCAN ELDER: The people on the river, they see illness in the fish, in the salmon. The warmer the water, the more the disease spreads.
JOHNS: The day we visited was sunny and cold, but not harsh. Kids were out playing and sledding. Parkas not required. Patrick Smith is Minto's chief.
PATRICK SMITH, MINTO VILLAGE CHIEF: December to March it would be like, 30 below. And now today, look at it, it's 12 above or so, you know?
JOHNS: The weather here is the subject of intense scientific research, computer modeling, analysis. But it's the native people of Alaska whose families have been here for generations who are the keepers of an oral history of the arctic region and its changing climate.
And scientists are coming to value the ancestral knowledge, but they know folklore is not always fact. Retired college professor Fred Singer warns --
FRED SINGER, CLIMATE SCIENTIST: I tend to disregard anecdote. No, you look at thermometers, we have thermometer records, and if they show the warming, that's it. I accept it.
JOHNS: They show about five degrees of warming over the last 50 years. There's no doubt throughout Alaska's native communities, the fallout is both cultural and economic.
BROWER: We have a high unemployment situation here where this means we have to rely on our traditional subsistence activities in order to survive in this environment.
JOHNS: A survival lesson at the top of the world and passed through the generations. The tribal elders now suggesting it would be wise if the rest of us in the lower 48 took global warming and climate change seriously. Joe Johns, CNN, Minto, Alaska.
COOPER: We'll have more on that global warming climate change all this week.
Hollywood's newest release isn't a movie. It's a girl. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are parents of a healthy little Suri, a name with definitely more than one meaning, that's coming up.
Also, shake-ups in the White House. Press secretary Scott McClellan is gone. Details on the moving deck chairs and how leaving can sometimes mean big bucks for those who say good-bye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, "THE TODAY SHOW": Maybe there are too many kids on Ritalin. Maybe electric shock --
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Too many kids on Ritalin?
LAUER: I'm just saying, aren't there examples where it works?
CRUISE: Matt, Matt, you're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Matt, so glib. That was, of course, Tom Cruise in less happier moments chastising "Today Show" co-host Matt Lauer over antidepressants and psychiatric drugs. Cruise was not smiling that morning, but we can only assume he's smiling tonight. In case you haven't heard, he and fiance Katie Holmes had a baby girl, and the paparazzi are going gaga over the delivery. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At least after all those public displays of affection, they have something to show for it. Tom plus Katie equals --
MOOS: And a TomKat baby equals --
MOOS: The parents smitten with their TomKitten named her Suri, a name that means princess in Hebrew and red rose in Persian. But in Japanese -- apparently it means pick pocket in Japanese.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you have a red rose Persian princess who pick pockets.
MOOS: It could be worse. The star of "My Name Is Earl" named his kid Pilot Inspector. Rachel Griffiths from Six Feet Under named hers Banjo. And Penn from Penn and Teller named his Moxie Crime Fighter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the parents did it to satisfy their ego.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, I like Tom, Dick, Harry, John, Fred. Then you have nothing to live up to.
MOOS: It's one thing to name your dog Twiggy. Hey, Twiggy. Another to name your daughter Apple, as Gwyneth Paltrow did. Like if your kid's name's Apple, what kind of jokes are people going to make?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Applesauce, what are your kids going to be, applesauce when you beat them or something. I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll call her a fruit.
MOOS: Nothing wrong with fruit as Gwyneth explained to Oprah, apples are so sweet and their wholesome and it's biblical. I just thought it sounded so lovely and clean. Not quite lovely and clean was what Tom Cruise told "GQ Magazine."
JOHN STEWART: He says that after his baby's born, he's going to eat the placenta and the umbilical cord.
MOOS: John Stewart pointed out that Tom was joking, but what with all the couch hopping, word spread on the web that the scientologist was serious.
STEWART: Hand roasted with a little bit of leek.
MOOS: And what are the chances of Tom's fiance giving birth? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only on the same day but in the very same hospital and on the same floor as his former nemesis Brooke Shields.
MOOS: Remember how Tom and Brooke parted ways over taking drugs for postpartum depression?
CRUISE: And she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry.
MOOS: It's been a long nine months. Poor little TomKitten's already the butt of jokes on the internet. TomKat baby from outer space. Portrays TomKitten as an alien. And dial a fetus shows TomKitten talking on a cell to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's fetus. When TomKitten is born, and takes one look around and decides to return to the womb. The womb would look pretty good if you knew these people would kill for a baby picture. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, we wish them the best.
Time now for the shot. Our favorite picture, a piece of video of the day. Tonight the shot comes from Russia for a sporting event that's generating cheers and, well, some squeals as well. First comes the flag ceremony. Then let the games begin. It's the third annual international pig Olympics. Ew. 12 piglets wearing swimming caps hit the pool for competitive races. I have no idea who won nor do I really care. That was followed by a soccer match of sorts. They used their snouts to move the ball around, much as I play soccer. By the way, of course, the games are dominated by the Russians. And it was all fixed.
Well, White House press secretary Scott McClellan may be leaving behind $160,000 job, but don't think the bucks stop there. Plenty of opportunity awaits for him. We'll take a look at what life has been like for some people who bowed out of politics.
Plus, former generals open fire at the defense secretary. The latest on the uproar over Donald Rumsfeld.
And campaigning in a city of ruins. An unusual fight for the mayor's seat in New Orleans, when 360 continues.
COOPER: Spring cleaning at the White House, major changes for two major players.
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