Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Democrats Take Control; Remembering Ed Bradley; Interview With Virginia Senator-Elect Jim Webb
Aired November 9, 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, everyone.
After a 12-year gap, the Democrats take control of Congress, putting the president on notice and his party on the ropes.
ANNOUNCER: Clean sweep -- with the battle in Virginia over, the Democrats take charge of Capitol Hill, controlling the House and Senate. Can they reach common ground with the president?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not at war. The war ended a long time ago.
ANNOUNCER: Military recruiters caught on tape talking about Iraq and coaching students on passing drug tests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you fail it here, wait until you clean up, your system cleans out. Then I will test you.
ANNOUNCER: And death of a legend.
STEVE KROFT, "60 MINUTES": He was a great journalist and a great friend. You know, it's a devastating loss for all of us.
ANNOUNCER: Remembering the life and legacy of Ed Bradley, the reporter's reporter.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Thanks for joining us.
You know, if there were a Richter scale for political earthquakes, what registered over the last few days would be off the charts. First, the Democrats win the House. Then, the defense secretary resigns -- and, today, more seismic jolts, a possible major shakeup in the Republican Party. And, by just a few thousand votes, Jim Webb won the Senate race in Virginia. I will talk to him in a moment. His victory gives the Democrats, of course, a majority in the Senate.
So, tonight, all the angles on their clean sweep on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi and the president met today, a lot of talk about working together. Tonight, we will examine how long the honeymoon can last. We will also examine the options in Iraq. Strategically, what can we do? Also, how the new breed of Democrats may be much more conservative than you think.
We begin tonight in Virginia, where a former Marine led his party to victory.
CNN's Jeanne Meserve reports.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hoisting his son's combat boots, the symbol of his campaign, high over his head, Jim Webb completed his march right into the U.S. Senate.
JIM WEBB (D), VIRGINIA SENATOR-ELECT: The campaign is over.
MESERVE: And Webb says he hopes something else will end, too, the kind of get-down, dirty politics that have been played here in Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
NARRATOR: He's in lockstep with Bush, an administration parrot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
NARRATOR: The same Jim Webb who declared the Naval Academy a horny woman's dream and women psychologically unfit for combat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEBB: This was a brutal campaign, and, in -- in many ways, an unnecessarily brutal campaign. And I think it's hurting the country.
MESERVE: Webb said a George Allen campaign quoting salacious passages from Webb's novels helped his campaign, rather than hurt it.
WEBB: They were so negative on these, you know, excerpts out of my novels, and that sort of thing, and it actually seemed to have backfired on them, to the point that I -- I had communications from a lot of fundamentalist Christians, who were -- who were saying they thought they had gone too far. And, at that point, I -- I felt very strongly that we were going to win.
MESERVE (on camera): Though Democrats are not blameless, Webb called today for an end to what he characterized as the politics of character assassination, divisiveness and distraction. WEBB: I would like to also, today, call on our president to publicly denounce the campaign tactics that have divided us, rather than brought us together.
MESERVE (voice-over): The president, too, HAS called for an end to partisanship. But, in Washington, asking it and accomplishing it are two very different things.
Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Arlington, Virginia.
COOPER: Well, I talked to Jim Webb a few minutes ago.
COOPER: Senator-elect Webb, congratulations, first of all.
How are you feeling?
WEBB: Well, it's been nine months, literally to the day that we have been doing this every day. We did three years of work in -- in nine months. And I'm feeling really good. And we -- you know, we're -- we're ready to go in and do the work that the people of Virginia want us to do.
COOPER: What happens now? I mean, what -- what is your top priority?
WEBB: We have to get a transition going, so that we can have a smooth process from the George Allen people into ours.
Part of that is constituent work that sort of thing. And we will be meeting with the Senate Democratic leadership next week to do committee assignments and that sort of thing. And then I want to be able to hit the ground running in January.
I ran on three basic themes. One was reorienting our national defense structure. It wasn't simply Iraq. I have been doing this all my life. The first book that I wrote, which wasn't quoted from in the campaign...
WEBB: ... was a book on national strategy.
The second theme is economic fairness, with the breakdown of our society in a way that we probably haven't seen the 1880s, in the age of globalization. And I want to focus on those. And a third is the accountability of this administration.
And I think the American people pretty well have spoken on that, when you look at the vote counts that came in. So, we are going to have a much more activist Congress, but in the right sense of the word, I think. And that's just in terms of -- of accountability of the executive branch. COOPER: What can the Democrats do about Iraq? I mean, clearly, people seem to have voted for some sort of change. It's a tall order, though.
WEBB: Well, you know, that's -- that's one of the things that we saw during the campaign, was that it was the principal concern of voters, but they were looking for some sort of solution.
And I have been saying for two-and-a-half years -- as you may know, I think I wrote the first piece in a major newspaper six months before we went into Iraq, warning that this was a strategic blunder, wrote it in "The Washington Post."
And I have been saying two-and-a-half years that we need to do is have a clear statement from this administration that we do not want permanent bases in Iraq, and then to force a diplomatic solution, to get the countries in that region that have cultural and historic with ties with Iraq to the table, in an overt way to assume diplomatic ownership of a solution.
Then, we can get our combat troops out, still be able to address the issue of international terrorism and increase stability in the region. As I said, I have been saying that for more than two years. That's not dissimilar to what you have been hearing from people like former Secretary of State Jim Baker over the past four or five weeks. And that's the direction we need to go.
COOPER: Do you think the administration, the Bush White House, is willing to compromise, is willing to work with Democrats on Iraq?
WEBB: Well, I think we have reached the point here where most of the people in this country will -- want -- want a positive solution, want an answer.
People are in the situation where many of them don't believe there is an answer, the thing has gotten so bogged down. But I do believe there is an answer. And, so, the administration is going to have -- you know, what I would say at the very beginning of this, by the way, is that you don't have a strategy, if you can't articulate the end point.
And this administration has never clearly done that. So, it's time for people in the Congress and also people like this Iraq Study Group that is going to report to the administration to start helping the country move toward a solution. This isn't a political issue, so much as it is an American issue and an issue for the stability in the region.
COOPER: Senator-elect Webb, congratulations. Thanks for joining us.
WEBB: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, the last time the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, "Forrest Gump" was in the theaters, and the Internet was still in its infancy. They're back in the driver's seat now.
CNN's Dana Bash on how they plan to shift gears.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Giddy Democratic leaders took a victory lap.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: The election's over. It's time for a change.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BASH: Soon-to-be Majority Leader Harry Reid promised bipartisan bipartisanship, but not before taking a swipe at Republicans.
REID: They have set a very bad example in not working with us. We're not following that example.
BASH: And, at the White House, the presumptive speaker of the House promised to work with the president, up to a point.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We have our differences. And we will debate them. And that what is our founders intended. But we will do so in a way that gets results for the American people.
BASH: The shift in power means Democrats, not Republicans, will set the agenda across Capitol Hill and take top posts.
Liberal Congressman Charlie Rangel is likely to chair the tax- writing Ways and Means Committee.
Senator Robert Byrd, who says the White House spends money on the wrong things, will head Appropriations. Joe Biden, who wants to partition Iraq, will lead the Senate Foreign Relation Committee.
Democrat promise to make good on broad campaign pledges, first and foremost, changing course in Iraq.
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: American soldiers are losing their lives. I don't think we can wait. I don't think we can ask them to wait.
BASH: For now, Democrats want a bipartisan summit to discuss the war. And, besides Iraq, they have other plans.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: We have to have results in doing something to make health care more affordable and more available. We have to do something to create energy independence.
BASH: One irony, a guest-worker program for illegal immigrants, a top Bush priority his own party blocked, will likely pass with a Democratic
(on camera): But the Democrats are taking control of the Senate by a razor-thin margin, 51-49. And, because of the Senate rules, it takes 60 votes to get most legislation through the Senate.
(voice-over): So, Republicans can block anything they don't like.
SEN. JOHN SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: If we're talking about raising taxes, the answer is no. If we're talking about spending more money in areas where we have already spent a tremendous amount of money, without result, the answer is going to be no.
BASH: Controlling the Senate means Democrats get to pass judgment on the president's picks for government jobs, and they're already warning the White House to think twice, especially when nominating judges.
DURBIN: Don't send us political extremists. There was a time when the president was successful doing that, but I think that time has passed.
BASH: Yet, the party thrilled about having power again is well aware it must use that power carefully, not lurch too far left, govern from the middle.
Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.
COOPER: Well, we are -- have a -- a much better idea tonight of how many voters went to the polls on Tuesday. Here is the "Raw Data."
According to a new study released today by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, an estimated 83 million people, or 40.4 percent of eligible voters, went to the polls in -- in the 2006 elections. That is a modest increase over the last midterm elections, when 39.7 percent voted.
When the dust starts to settle after an election, politicians generally start throwing around phrases like working together, finding common ground. Sound familiar? Well, this time is no different. We will have columnist Joe Klein on in a moment to discuss whether it's more hot air or the beginning of a new way of doing business.
How optimistic are you?
And CNN's John King looks at the new breed of Democrat.
We're also going to examine what's the options in Iraq.
And the video you are seeing, hidden camera video -- getting men and women to serve in the armed forces, not an easy job at all -- some recruiters using questionable tactics. They're accused of coaching people on how to pass a drug test. You might be surprised by what you're about to hear. We're "Keeping Them Honest" ahead.
And remembering a pioneer, "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley, who has died today from leukemia -- we will have a look back at his life, including the secret he kept from almost everybody -- when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I look forward to working in a confidence-building way with the president, recognizing that we have our differences, and we will debate them. And that is what our founders intended. But we will do so in a way that gets results for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That, of course, is Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the most likely bet to become speaker of the House, at the White House today,talking about working with the president and his party.
There's another bunch of people that she's going to have to work with, however, the more conservative new members of her own party, who, on paper, kind of don't look that much different from the Republicans they put out of a job.
CNN's chief national correspondent, John King, takes a look at that.
BRAD ELLSWORTH (D), INDIANA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: Well, thank you very much. I will work hard for you.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brad Ellsworth is anti-abortion, opposes same-sex marriage, and is an Indiana sheriff who very much believes in the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
ELLSWORTH: We're a pretty -- pretty conservative bunch. And I think I fit right in with those values of the people here.
KING: Ellsworth is coming to Congress as a Democrat, just one reminder President Bush isn't the only conservative Nancy Pelosi has to deal with, if she wants to get things done once she becomes speaker of the House in January.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: We have made history. And now we have to make progress.
KING: The incoming freshman class includes a number of Democrats at odds with positions backed by more liberal congressional leaders, Ellsworth and Joe Donnelly from Indiana, Timothy McVeigh from Florida, Ed Perlmutter from Colorado, John Yarmuth from Kentucky, and Heath Shuler of North Carolina among them -- a different breed of Democratic in the new Senate class, too, including anti-abortion Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and pro-gun conservative Jon Tester of Montana.
JON TESTER (D), MONTANA SENATOR-ELECT: Now is the time, really, though, to -- to come together. It really is a time to -- to put politics aside. HEATH SHULER (D), NORTH CAROLINA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: How are you, sir?
KING: Shuler is a devout Christian who shies away from alcohol and caffeine, and who moved quickly in the campaign when Republicans tried to link him to the liberal Pelosi.
SHULER: That's why we have to do a good job of being in the district like this, where they can talk, and they can spread the word, and say, you know, he's not like some of the national Democrats. You know, he's one of us.
KING: Some friction between the new members and the more liberal Democrats in line to run most of the committees is inevitable.
DICK GEPHARDT (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: It won't be easy, because there is a lot of disagreement, even in the Democratic caucus. But they all know the test is, what can we get done and what can we get done that is important to the American people?
KING: The differences are likely to be less evident, though, in the new term, as the new Democratic majority deals first with shared campaign promises.
JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: They have -- really came in on -- on -- on two basic premises. One is, we need a new course in Iraq. And, second, we need to strengthen the middle class in America again.
KING: And former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta predicts, the new members will help the party heading into the 2008 presidential cycle.
PODESTA: What you are going to see, I think, is the ability of the -- particularly the more conservative members to say, let's make sure that the face we're showing on security is one that I can go back at home and run on.
KING: Running again comes in two years. First, they have to prove they can get along.
COOPER: So, John, what is the key to keeping peace between them?
KING: The most important thing is to avoid what conservative Democrats call the three G's, guns, God, and gays. If they can avoid debates on those social issues, the Democratic caucus can probably stay united.
It is the Republicans, Anderson, remember, last year, that wanted votes on flag-burning, wanted votes on same-sex marriage. The Democrats say they won't go anywhere near those issues, because it is on those issues you see the strain between the liberals and the conservatives within the Democratic caucus. And, on those issues, if liberals like Nancy Pelosi are out front talking about them, that hurt the party out in places like Indiana, Kentucky and across the South.
COOPER: John, I want to bring in "TIME" magazine columnist Joe Klein into the discussion.
How difficult is it going to be for Pelosi to hold this party together?
JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": Well, Democrats are traditionally a riotous bunch. But I -- and I think...
COOPER: Someone described it as like trying to herd cats, I think.
KLEIN: Well, you know, but I think that Republicans are -- are now in a position where they are in more disarray than the Democrats.
You have three wings of that party who don't like each other very much, the low-tax supply-siders, the religious conservatives, and the neoconservatives. And they have been sniping at each other viciously over the last few months.
COOPER: John, both the president and the Democratic leaders are saying all the right things about cooperating with each other. But, if -- if Democrats and Republicans couldn't unite for long after 9/11, why should it be any different now?
KING: There is such a burden on both to produce.
The Democrats need to prove the country, especially the middle of the country, that they can govern, without lurching too far to the left, as Dana Bush just put it. The president needs to prove, for his own legacy, and probably for his own self-esteem, that he can get some things done, after this very punishing election.
So, there are some domestic issues they can deal with. But, on the big questions, the big domestic questions, will his tax cuts be permanent, can they ever deal with Social Security or Medicare, those are much more difficult. And to get anything done, Anderson, there is a big question.
Sure, they can agree on the minimum wage. Sure, they can agree on some health care access, probably. But if the debate over Iraq that is about to intensify now in an official capacity, not a campaign capacity, if that gets out of hand, these -- this -- all this goodwill may disappear quite quickly.
COOPER: Yes, Joe, what are you hearing? Is there room for compromise on Iraq?
KLEIN: Well, there are big changes coming down the pike on Iraq.
I think that naming Bob Gates is -- is just the -- the tip of the iceberg. What I am hearing from military and intelligence people is that there is -- that there is a desire to move away from democracy, from emphasizing democracy, to emphasizing stability.
One very high-ranking Bush administration official in the national security area said to me today, it's a Mick Jagger moment. You can't always get what you want. The question is whether we can get what we need.
Now, we don't -- we don't need...
COOPER: Did he actually put it in those terms?
KLEIN: This is a very hip administration, Anderson...
COOPER: I was going to say. Wow.
KLEIN: ... under the surface.
KLEIN: Or maybe he was just trying to impress me. But...
COOPER: But what does it mean, move away from democracy, move towards stability?
KLEIN: Well, I think that, you know, the -- the current government in -- in Iraq is next thing to a joke.
I mean, right now, Maliki's main source of support is the radical cleric...
COOPER: Right, Muqtada al-Sadr.
KLEIN: ... Muqtada al-Sadr.
And the big question our government has to face now in Iraq is whether we want Muqtada al-Sadr to be the de facto leader of Arab Iraq, non-Kurdish Iraq, or do we want to have someone more amenable to our point of view, someone who might unite the -- the -- the Iraqi military? There is some talk of bringing back a lot of the Baathists who we dispersed -- you know, who we dispersed, when we dispersed the army. That was the...
COOPER: Sort of re-Baathify the country.
KLEIN: Right. Right.
That was the -- you know, it's generally regarded as the stupidest decision that was made by the United States, after the initial military victory, was to disband the army.
The question is, where are those people? Will they come back? About one-third of Muqtada al-Sadr's high-ranking military people were former Shiite Baathist military officers.
COOPER: John, what do you -- what are you hearing in Washington about -- I mean, how do the Democrats, not that they are unified on one plan for Iraq. But how do they try to influence what happens in -- in Iraq? I mean, President Bush is still commander in chief. What -- how -- what is the next step? How does this work together?
KING: Well, you are -- you're seeing the next step, which is to say publicly that they will deal with Iraq, first and foremost, when they take power, in the middle to the end of next January, when the new Congress convenes.
But what they are hoping, Anderson, is that the president deals with much of this for them, that he gets the message of the election, as Joe just talked about it. The Baker report, the Iraq Study Group -- the president will meet with former Secretary Baker next week.
Bob Gates, the next Pentagon chief, was part of that study. What the Democrats are hoping is that they don't have to get into a very huge fight with this president, because he already gets the message. He will get it from Secretary Baker. He is already getting it from Republicans, who have been thrown out of power, that he needs to have dramatic changes on the ground in Iraq.
So, the Democrats will push and push. They understand their powers are limited. They are hoping -- hoping that the message of the election, the message of Secretary Baker, and the message of other Republicans convince the president to make the changes on his own.
KLEIN: You know, what I was saying to you before is coming out of the military and the intelligence community. The president hasn't signed off to this yet.
And there is a major question out there of whether he's willing to give up the dream of Iraqi democracy. He's been touting it ever since the invasion.
COOPER: John, you -- you look at Ronald Reagan. He was able to work with Tip O'Neill and a Democratic Congress back in 1996. Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, they were able to found common ground on welfare reform in the '90s.
What -- what were the keys to that success?
KING: Necessity. Necessity. They needed to prove their viability.
They needed to prove -- Bill Clinton had this fabulous news conference once where he said, "I'm still relevant."
They -- they need to prove that they can -- Mr. Bush wants to prove he's not a lame duck. The Democrats want to prove, after 12 years in the wilderness, that they deserve the support and the trust of the American people, not only for the next two years, but in the -- in the 2008 presidential election, when the Republicans will be looking to knock them out, and the Democrats will be looking to build a bigger majority, especially on the Senate side.
So, they have a shared reason right now to get along. Can they deal with really big issues? Probably not. Can they get some modest things done, though, in the middle? Probably so, at least for the first six months or so.
COOPER: Is it in the DNA of this administration to -- to compromise? I mean...
KLEIN: Well, it's in the DNA of this country.
I'm a huge fan of divided government, I guess, because I'm a flaming moderate.
KLEIN: But I think that -- that, if you look back, this country is best governed from the center. Big decisions have to be made by consensus.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said to me, big ideas pass through the Senate by 75-25, or they don't pass at all.
Bill Clinton was liberated when he finally had to deal with a Republican Congress.
COOPER: Liberated because it protected him from the more liberal elements of the Democratic Party?
I mean, he was a natural moderate. And -- and his agenda -- welfare reform was something that he ran on, and he wasn't able to enact until the Republicans came in.
KLEIN: And -- and I think that I don't know whether George Bush can learn to live with a Democratic Congress.
COOPER: Ken Mehlman is stepping down, John, as head of the Republican Party. Why is he stepping down? Do we know where he's going and who is replacing him? And -- and is he the last one to go?
KING: He's not the last one to go. He's stepping down, we're told, simply because he's tired, because he wants to get out into the private sector, after being involved in both Bush presidential campaigns, and now the RNC.
Everyone says they don't blame him for the losses in the elections. He -- he is going to leave at the end of the year, though, we are told.
Is he the last one? No. There will be number of other officials who leave. And that is inevitable. It happens at this time in any administration. They asked everyone about halfway through last year -- this year -- if you are going to leave, leave now, before the election. People made those decisions.
Now that the election is over, others will get out. And, as those others get out, Anderson, look for one or two people we saw in this last campaign to come in, including Michael Steele, the lieutenant governor of Maryland, who just ran that unsuccessful for Senate, who is well-acclaimed as a candidate. They're trying to find a good job for him.
COOPER: Joe, do you think Karl Rove will last?
KLEIN: I think he will -- he will probably last, although the big question about Rove is whether he's going to play in -- in 2008.
One other little bit of news today, that -- I was talking to Harry Reid. And he announced -- he said that both he and Nancy Pelosi are now going to take those conference committees, where the House and the Senate get together to compromise on a final bill, which have been very secretive in the past, and they're going to open them up to the press, which is -- which is a really dramatic move, and a good one.
COOPER: Joe Klein, appreciate it.
John King, as well, thanks.
The Democratic jockeying for president has officially begun, in case you hadn't noticed. Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is the first prominent Democrat to announce he will be a candidate for the 2008 presidential race. Vilsack, who will be 56 next month, is ending his second term as Iowa's governor in January. He has got a long way to go, barely registering in last month's CNN poll that asked Democrats for their preferred candidate.
Take a look -- Senator Hillary Clinton, of course, at the top of the list with 28 percent. Vilsack got 1 percent.
Well, he was the man most credited with President Bush's and the Republican Party's previous victories, but, this time, Karl Rove, well, his luck, or something else, ran out -- a look at what went wrong coming up.
Plus, making the recruitment quota during a very difficult war -- a look at the questionable tactics, including accusations that some recruits are told how to pass the drug test by some recruiters. We're going to keep them honest ahead on 360.
COOPER: The reputation of the president's political adviser, the man some call Bush's brain, takes a beating. What went wrong for Karl Rove?
Find out next on 360.
COOPER: U.S. troops on the front lines in Iraq and in danger -- so far, more than 20,000 have been injured. And many of them end up at a Baghdad emergency room.
Coming up, we will take you inside the largest U.S. combat hospital in Iraq. You will get a behind-the-scenes look at what is being done to save U.S. and coalition troops, Iraqi civilians, and even insurgents who are injured. It is a dramatic look inside a Baghdad E.R., all of this happening at a place that -- a building that Saddam Hussein used for his own personal medical care. That's ahead on 360.
The war in Iraq was one of the big issues that cost Republicans the midterm elections, of course. Many in the GOP were hoping that political strategist Karl Rove could do what he had helped Republicans do many times in the past, win them an election. This time, Rove just couldn't deliver.
Brian Todd explains why.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two weeks before midterms, Karl Rove exudes the confidence of a man who's won three national elections for his party. When an NPR reporter presses him on polls showing Republican fortunes slipping...
KARL ROVE, BUSH ADVISOR: I add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House. You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math. I'm entitled to the math."
TODD: One day before midterms, on a noisy Florida tarmac, Rove reads a poll that's going his way.
ROVE: GOP's lead on national security jumped...
TODD: Now in the wreckage of a Democratic rout, deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino says there is no tension between Rove and President Bush. She says this comment the day after was a full-hearted joke.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I obviously was working harder on the campaign than he was. TODD: Perino says Rove, who declined our request for an interview, doesn't spend a lot of time, quote, "on the couch thinking about his personal role in these situations."
But others, even on the conservative side, have had it with the image of Karl Rove as political genius.
ANDREW SULLIVAN, AUTHOR, "THE CONSERVATIVE SOUL": He didn't get a majority popular vote in 2000. He skews the 51 percent victory in 2004. He's been teetering on the brink ever since, and the base strategy now shows him not to be a genius but to be a real failure.
TODD: One GOP strategist says Rove's political team could have done more to warn voters about a Nancy Pelosi-led House, but some analysts believe Rove played too much to the base.
JIM VANDEHEI, "WASHINGTON POST": The problem was it became such a sort of a hard edge, let's help conservatives, let's fire up conservatives, that they almost -- they almost tied their hands. That made it very difficult to get out of that strategy and then to try to reach to the center.
TODD: But a GOP activist who knows Rove says there were forces at work here that even the so-called architect couldn't control.
GROVER NORQUIST, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Karl Rove is in charge of the get out the vote effort, in charge of the political campaign. The decision to occupy Iraq was not Karl Rove's, and it's not exactly fair to blame him.
TODD (on camera): Another long-time Republican strategist told me, quote, "No one's going to tell you with a straight face that Karl could have saved this election." The next election, he says, will also depend on Iraq. And he says Rove and the Republicans cannot get themselves into another situation where they're all defending the warrant, and the Democrats are all opposing it.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, coming up, being an Army recruiter is a tough job. Now some evidence that some recruiters may be going too far to sign up soldiers. Hidden camera images that -- well, they're going to surprise you. Soldiers giving tips on how to pass the drug test? We're "Keeping Them Honest."
And remembering a television news legend. Taking a look at the life and career of the incomparable Ed Bradley. That and more when 360 continues.
COOPER: That's Vietnam War veteran Jim Webb today, holding up the boots of his son, who's fighting in Iraq. Today Webb is celebrating his victory in Virginia. The U.S. Army also has cause to celebrate. The Army's exceeding most recruiting goals for the fiscal year 2007, which began in October, something it says it says proves -- that it says proves it's overcome the difficulties enlisting fresh troops in the middle of this unpopular war.
As you're about to see, though, in this report from WABC some of its recruiting tactics in the New York area are being called into question. Here's Jim Hoffer, "Keeping Them Honest".
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not at war. The war ended a long time ago.
JOHN HOFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A recruiter tells our undercover student the war is over.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The news never said war. They are lying now. They never said war.
HOFFER: It appears some Army recruiters are willing to say just about anything to reel in a new soldier.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will I be going to war?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say your chance would be slim to none. That's what I say.
HOFFER: We sent students under cover to ten Army recruiting offices throughout the tri-state area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd almost welcome being shot at because it helps us identify where they were shooting from so we can kill them easier.
HOFFER: Some recruiters were up front about the dangers of enlisting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every job in the Army does include combat. It's plain and simple.
HOFFER: But nearly half of the recruiters suggested to our students they had as great a chance of being killed here at home...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a better chance of getting shot on Jamaica Avenue.
HOFFER: ... as in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like Subway sandwiches and Subway salads. And I watched the news yesterday; a guy got killed in Subway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 10 times greater chance of dying here on the roads than you do of dying in Iraq. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd rather get hit by a car instead of hit by a bomb. What's the difference? You not living. You are dead. That sucker is gone. It's a wrap.
HOFFER: And with the end of the war nowhere in sight, the general in charge suggesting more troops might be needed, some recruiters told our students if they enlisted there was little chance they'd go to Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aren't people still being shipped out>
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they're bringing people back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So nobody is going out to Iraq anymore?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we bringing people back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as you don't pick a job that falls right here, then you don't have to worry about, you know, going over there.
HOFFER (on camera): If you're signing up to the Army, these days, you have a pretty good chance of going to Iraq, don't you?
COL. ROBERT MANNING, U.S. ARMY RECRUITING NORTHEAST: I would not disagree with that. We are an Army and a nation at war still.
HOFFER (voice-over): Colonel Robert Manning is in charge of U.S. Army recruiting for the entire northeast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The news never said war.
HOFFER: He agreed to take a look at the undercover video of his recruiters.
MANNING: I find it hard to believe some of the things that they're telling prospective applicants. I still believe that this is the exception more than the norm.
HOFFER (on camera): What are you saying, then, that we just got wildly lucky to find recruiters more than half out of ten that we visited to be stretching the truth, or even worse, lying?
MANNING: I visited many stations myself, and I know that we have many wonderful American serving in uniform as recruiters.
HOFFER (voice-over): Yet we found one recruiter who even claimed if you don't like the Army, you could just quit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What it is, it's called a failure to adapt discharge. It is an entry level discharge, so it won't affect anything on your record. And it would just be like it never happened.
HOFFER (on camera): This recruiter makes it sound like it's pretty easy to get out if you change your mind. Is that true?
MANNING: It's -- I would believe that it's not as easy as he would lead to you believe that it is.
HOFFER: In fact it's probably pretty tough, isn't it?
MANNING: It's -- it's tough.
SUE NIEDERER, MOTHER: They need to do anything they possibly can to get recruits.
HOFFER (voice-over): Sue Niederer says she's all too familiar with recruiters' lies.
(on camera) He was told he wouldn't see combat?
NIEDERER: Absolutely. Absolutely.
HOFFER (voice-over): Her son joined the Army in 2002 and ended up in Iraq. His job? To find roadside bombs.
(on camera) How did he die?
NIEDERER: He was killed by an IED.
HOFFER: A bomb?
NIEDERER: A bomb.
HOFFER (voice-over): Two years later she says our investigation confirms her belief that there's a widespread recruiting problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to send some people over after they stop that because they'll start bringing people back.
HOFFER: In which another casualty appears to be the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can ask anybody who has been there, we have all had more close calls out here on the Long Island Expressway and southern states and stuff like that than over there.
HOFFER (on camera): This conduct does fly in the face of what the military stands for: honesty and honor.
MANNING: Yes. Obviously, there is training that needs to be done.
NIEDERER: Ninety percent going to be putting their lives on the line for our country. Tell them the truth. That's all. Just tell them the truth.
COOPER: Well, that's not all. Part two of Jim Hoffer's investigation is coming up. Allegations that some recruiters are actually coaching people on how to pass drug tests, when 360 continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: More now on an undercover investigation on the controversial methods used by some Army recruiters in the New York area just to meet their quotas. As we see in this report by WABC, some recruiters may even be allowing, and in some cases, coaching people with drug problems on how to join the service.
Once again here's Jim Hoffer, "Keeping Them Honest".
HOFFER (voice-over): When we sent undercover students into Army recruiting offices, we found some recruiters giving tips on how drug users can pass the drug test.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It usually takes between 20 to 30 days for marijuana to get out your system. All right? So just got to not smoke any more and drink a lot of water.
HOFFER: Our undercover students heard it again and again. It seems in the Army, failing the drug test is not an option.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You drug test, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you come up positive...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I come up positive?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You ain't the only one. This is New York. If you're hot, meaning that, you know, it's still in your system, just give you more time to keep on cleaning it out. And we work with you.
HOFFER: Our investigation has found, rather than screening out potential drug users, recruiters are repeatedly testing them until they come up clean.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens when you fail the drug test?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you go to the processing center. I'm going to give you one. If you fail here, and it's like, well, we wait until you clean up, your system cleans out. You know what I'm saying? And you come in like every week, every two weeks and I test you. And once you're good to go, then I send you up there so you can take your physical.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you keep taking the drug test until you pass it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you come up dirty, then we'll wait awhile.
HOFFER: Jerry Lewis is a former military recruiter.
JERRY LEWIS, FORMER RECRUITER: They're telling him, "Don't worry about the drug test, we'll get you past that." So they're defeating the purpose of the drug test.
HOFFER: We asked the colonel in charge of Army recruiting for the northeast about this approach.
MANNING: We should not be coaching and teaching potential applicants on how to get around the test. That is clearly wrong.
HOFFER (on camera): But nearly every single recruit that we visited said, "We keep testing you to make sure you're clean before you get the main test."
MANNING: And I clearly appreciate you bringing this to our attention, because that's something that we'll definitely have to look into and investigate.
HOFFER: We did some of our investigating, and what Eyewitness News has learned is that, as of 10 months ago, pre-drug testing at recruiting centers is now mandatory.
We've also learned that recruiters can still pretest new applicants as many times as they like. It is a policy that a former assistant secretary of defense says could put drug users on the front lines.
LAWRENCE KORB, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The real danger is that if we got a person who really hasn't given up drugs, who will just give it up temporarily to pass the test, when he or she gets in a very stressful environment, are they going to turn back to it again?
HOFFER (voice-over): It could be coincidental, but the Army changed its drug testing standards at the beginning of 2006. The previous year, the Army fell short of its recruiting goals for the first time in years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We give you a drug test here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then if you come up dirty, then we'll wait awhile.
COOPER: Well, the Army insists repeated pre-drug testing is a way to screen out those with addiction problems before taking the main drug test. But if you test positive for marijuana in the main drug test, you can come back 45 days later and try again.
WABC contacted all of the recruiters seen in Jim Hoffer's reports and spoke to all but one, who couldn't be tracked down because the Army wouldn't provide information on where to find the soldier, who is no longer a recruiter.
The rest refused to comment and told them to contact the Army's public affairs office. That office tells CNN it does have an investigation underway, and it cannot comment on the specifics of the investigation.
Coming up, we remember Ed Bradley of "60 Minutes", who died today at the age of 65.
But first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, you may want to check your medicine cabinet. A common pain reliever is being recalled. Millions of bottles of store brand acetaminophen caplets are affected. Some of those pills may contain small metal fragments. Actually, it's the generic brand of Tylenol.
Tylenol is not affected, we want to stress here. Some of those bottles were sold at Wal-Mart, CVS, Kroger, along with other stores.
In New York, more body parts found near the World Trade Center site. Two hundred three bone fragments were discovered under a service road. Other remains have been found in recent weeks, upsetting some families of 9/11 victims. And now several underground sites are being searched to find any possible remains.
In the Pacific Northwest, heavy rain and flooding has left three people dead, plus plenty of traffic trouble to go around. A major Oregon highway near Mt. Hood is now washed out. More than 60 miles of the North Cascades highway in Washington state is shut down.
And while we're on the topic of weather, El Nino apparently sticking around. That's according to forecasters who say the unusual warming of the Pacific Ocean will continue into the spring of 2007, meaning this winter will likely be warmer than normal over the western and northern U.S. and there could be more rain in the Gulf Coast and in Florida, along with dryer condition in the Ohio Valley and the Pacific Northwest.
With all that flooding in Oregon and Washington state right now, I'm sure that's exactly what they want to hear, Anderson.
COOPER: I'm sure it is. Thanks very much, Erica.
HILL: See you later.
COOPER: Well, the sudden death today of Ed Bradley, coming up. One of the most respected television journalists in the country. Came from humble beginnings and created a distinguished career, to say the least. Tonight, we look back and remember, next on 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON HEWITT, "60 MINUTES" CREATOR: There are very few reporters who go out of their way to make the world a better place. And Ed Bradley did that on almost every story he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is "60 Minutes" creator Don Hewitt on "LARRY KING LIVE" earlier tonight. "60 Minutes" correspondent Ed Bradley, as you probably know already, died today from leukemia. He was one of television's most influential and respected reporters, and his death certainly came as a shock. He kept the fact that he was critically ill a secret, so secret that even many of his friends didn't know.
ED BRADLEY, CBS NEWS: I'm Ed Bradley.
COOPER (voice-over): He was everything a good journalist should be. Honest and fair, dogged and determined. Whether it was a news story or a 50-year-old murder case, Ed Bradley was fearless in pursuit of the truth.
BRADLEY: I have some questions I'd like to ask about Emmett Till. Will she come out and talk to us?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did I just tell you?
BRADLEY: Tell me again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
COOPER: When he was on a story, his compassion couldn't help but show through. He trained to be a teacher and taught in Philadelphia's school system. But when riots erupted around the country in the 1960s, Bradley covered them for a local radio station. His career and his life would change forever.
He was signed by another radio station in New York, owned by CBS, the network that would become his home for the next 43 years. But it was his time spent covering the Vietnam War that brought Ed Bradley into the public eye.
BRADLEY: People were moved from Vietcong areas into...
COOPER: He trekked through the jungles with soldiers and was hit by a mortar round as the battle raged. But he was back in 1975 as Saigon was falling, and when he saw desperate South Vietnamese people cramming onto boats to escape, he put down his microphone and stepped in to help.
BRADLEY: I saw panic in Vietnam, as people were fleeing and were afraid and wanted to get out. I'd never seen that kind of panic before, that kind of fear. Within two days, it was all over, Saigon. We left on a helicopter.
COOPER: In 1981, Ed Bradley joined the team of reporters on the esteemed "60 Minutes", which topped television ratings for decades. There, he spoke to just about everybody, from entertainers...
BRADLEY: I read that you get $20 million a film now?
DENZEL WASHINGTON, ACTOR: I heard you make that kind of money, too. COOPER: ... to terrorists...
BRADLEY: You realize that most people in this country think you're responsible for the bombing, correct?
TIMOTHY MCVEIGH, OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBER: Correct.
BRADLEY: So if your perception is that you didn't get a fair trail, they're saying, so what?
COOPER: ... to national icons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to sort of...
COOPER: Despite a body of work any journalist would envy, 19 Emmy awards and closet full of accolades, Ed Bradley's colleagues say he never saw himself as anything except a storyteller.
BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: He could put people at ease. He could make them be themselves, and sometimes that was to their advantage. Sometimes it was to their disadvantage. He did these wonderful stories. He was a great observer of the American scene.
COOPER: Ed Bradley's last story ran on "60 Minutes" in October, an expose at safety problems at a Texas oil refinery that exploded last year, killing 15 workers.
He'll be remembered not just as a great newsman, but as a pioneer, a private man who loved his family and his jazz and who lived life with such style and oh, so much grace.
SCHIEFFER: One other thing, what I remember about Ed Bradley, he was the single coolest guy I ever knew.
COOPER: Well, we'll be right back.
COOPER: From Congress to the White House to the war in Iraq, what the change in Washington means for us all, next on 360.
COOPER: The Democrats take charge, and the Republican Party faces another shake-up.
ANNOUNCER: The ballot counting is over. The power shift is complete.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is Virginia that turned the Senate blue, folks. It's Virginia. ANNOUNCER: Democrats gain control of both houses of Congress. Will they work with the president? Or is a lame duck now living in the White House?
Inside a Baghdad E.R. The busiest U.S. combat hospital in Iraq. High stress, high hopes, in the fight to save lives.
And remembering a legend.
BRADLEY: Ed Bradley, CBS News, the White House.
ANNOUNCER: A look back at the life of TV journalist Ed Bradley.
Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Thanks for joining us this hour on 360.
For a dozen years, the Republicans owned Congress. They were the majority. They called the shots. This week, today, that all changed. The midterm elections handed the Democrats a stunning victory in the House, and today they capped it off with control of the Senate, officially.
And the Democrats have one man to thank for giving them the clean sweep, Jim Webb. Today he held onto his razor-thin lead in the Virginia Senate race over Republican incumbent George Allen. I spoke to Webb earlier.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com