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Did Rumsfeld Cost Republicans the Election?; The Democrats' Plan; Evangelicals and the Republican Party

Aired November 10, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Voters say they want a change on Iraq and change in Washington. The question is, will they get it, and does Washington get it?


ANNOUNCER: Bipartisan handshakes at the White House, but will it be hand-to-hand combat in Congress?

Democrat on Democrat? Democrats getting ready to slug it out over their leadership and what to do about Iraq.

The Rummy factor.

RICHARD VIGUERIE, AUTHOR, "CONSERVATIVES BETRAYED": They were waiting to hear something from the president that he would not stay the course.

ANNOUNCER: Republicans blaming the president for not firing Rumsfeld sooner, and losing them the election.

And who outed Congressman Mark Foley?

LANE HUDSON, STOP SEX PREDATORS: Everyone knew there was something going on there.

ANNOUNCER: Why he blew the whistle that brought down a congressman.


Aaron, 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: And we want to welcome our viewers in America and watching around the world tonight.

Americans voted for change on Election Day. They crossed party lines to do it. Voters said they wanted less corruption, more accountability, and especially a new Iraq policy.

Well, now Democrats and Republicans will share the burden of it, along with the responsibility. In theory, that means no more finger- pointing, no more blame game. That is the theory. And, for a second straight day, that was the picture at the White House.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My attitude about this is that there is a great opportunity for us to show the country that Republicans and Democrats are equally as patriotic and equally concerned about the future, and that we can work together.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: It's been an excellent discussion. It's -- we talked about issues that are important to our country. Election is over. The only way to move forward is with bipartisanship ship and openness, and to get some results. And we have made a commitment, the four of us here today. That's what we're going to do.


COOPER: Now, whether or Senator Reid can get along with President Bush and Vice President Cheney is one question, but we begin tonight with a bigger one. Can he and other Democrats unite on Iraq? And what do voters want them to do?

CNN's Bill Schneider reports.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Iraq got the Democrats their new majority.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Nowhere was the call for a new direction more clear from the American people than in the war in Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: To most Democrats, a new direction in Iraq means one thing: out.

HOWARD DEAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Strategic redeployment which gets us out of Iraq over a reasonable period of time, but keeps troops in the region, not in Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: But what exactly is a reasonable period of time?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It's time to say to the Iraqis, we're giving you to this period of time. Get your act together. We're coming home.


SCHNEIDER: When the Senate debated the issue back in June, most Democrats agreed on when to begin withdrawing troops, not when to complete it.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I hope that the timeline is that we will have everybody out by the end of '07. SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA: I do not believe that it is a wise policy to set a specific date for a withdrawal from Iraq. I do believe it makes sense to begin to redeploy our forces some time this year.

SCHNEIDER: Now Democrats have to pull together those diverse views into a clear exit strategy. Their first step comes next week, when House Democrats meet to choose a new majority leader. They can choose to make a bold statement about Iraq or not. The bold choice would be John Murtha.

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: The president kept talking about the last election being a mandate for him to go forward in Iraq. Well, this election was the opposite. This election was for -- to re -- redeploy the troops and my plan, which is the opposite of his plan, as soon as practicable out of Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: The cautious choice would be Steny Hoyer, who is now the number-two House Democrat.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MINORITY WHIP: We will work together, we being Republicans and Democrats, the president and the Congress, to solve the problems.

Many freshmen Democrats are deeply imprinted with the force that got them elected. More than anything else, that means Iraq.

PATRICK MURPHY (D), PENNSYLVANIA CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: We absolutely need the change of direction in Iraq. And I will fight every single day down in Washington, D.C., to make that happen.

SCHNEIDER: But Democratic leaders are keenly aware that there's a limit what they can do, even with majorities in both houses of Congress.

DEAN: We're not going to be able to change the policy overnight. That's going to require a new president.

SCHNEIDER: The best Democrats say they can do is put some restraint on the current president.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, already, it's showing. Senate Democrats have all but declared John Bolton's nomination as U.N. ambassador dead on arrival.

He's been serving as a recess appointment, which doesn't require Senate confirmation, but expires in January. So, he's likely to be gone. More notably, of course, Donald Rumsfeld is definitely gone, but too late, say a growing number of top Republicans. They're saying that. And they're saying more.

As CNN's Brian Todd reports, they're saying it lost them the Senate.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): GOP candidates were still in post-election trauma when they had to absorb this:

BUSH: Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.

TODD: But was the timing right for his party? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says to "The New York Times" -- quote -- "If the president had replaced Rumsfeld two weeks ago, the Republicans would still control the Senate, and they would probably have 10 more House members."

A spokeswoman for longtime Republican Congressman Clay Shaw of Florida, who lost on Tuesday, tells CNN his first impression when he heard of Rumsfeld's departure was that the votes he needed would have been there if Rumsfeld had left earlier. But she says White House political adviser Karl Rove gave Shaw the same explanation Mr. Bush gave to reporters on Wednesday.

BUSH: I think it sends a bad signal to our troops, if they think the commander in chief is constantly adjusting tactics and decisions based upon politics.

TODD: But, according to Republican strategist Richard Viguerie, a pre-election Rumsfeld exit could have made the difference in the two closest Senate races.

Look at these CNN election-night tracking graphics from Montana and Virginia. The deeper the red or blue, the more heavily these districts lean Republican or Democrat. The faded colors show how close those races were throughout the two states.

And, in Virginia, Iraq was a key issue.

RICHARD VIGUERIE, AUTHOR, "CONSERVATIVES BETRAYED": They were waiting to hear something from the president that he would not stay the course, that he would change course. And if the president had communicated weeks before the election, instead of the day after, that he would change course in Iraq, George Allen would be the new senator- elect.

TODD: But others believe Senators Allen and Conrad Burns would not have been helped by that.

KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": With George Allen, we saw the most accident-prone Senate campaign in modern history, and Conrad Burns was really being pulled down by his association with Jack Abramoff.

TODD (on camera): Two top Republican strategists told me, the only way a pre-election Rumsfeld removal could have helped GOP candidates if it was done back in July or August.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: More now on the what-ifs and the what is. It is a new Congress, but is it really a new Washington?

Joining us tonight, CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein and "TIME" magazine congressional correspondent Perry Bacon.

Guys, thanks for being was.

Ron, what about it? Would it have made a difference if the president has said, look, I'm going to get rid of Rumsfeld after the elections?


Friday before the election, I was in Saint Joseph, Missouri, talking to three guys who had voted for Bush in 2000. Two of them voted for him again in 2004. And all said they were voting for the Democrat, Claire McCaskill, for Senate, because they felt Bush was insulated from reality, refusing to make adjustments, and basically too dug into his own position.

Yes, I think it would have helped. Whether it would have saved actual Senate races, I don't know. But there's no question that this election was an overwhelming statement, especially by the middle of the country, the center of the country, center of the electorate, that they were dissatisfied with the president's direction in Iraq.

And that would have been a powerful signal to send that the president got that message. I also agree with what Brian said, though. Right before the election , it might not have looked as good as it would have several months earlier.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Perry, if he had done it right before the election, in that week, isn't it possible Democrats would have just jumped all over it, and say, look, indecision; this is -- you know, he's going wobbly; he's -- he's admitting he's made mistakes?

PERRY BACON, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Yes, I think the last week before -- last week the election, definitely, it would have been a problem for him to explain why he hadn't done it earlier, and it would have become a -- sort of a cascading story about why things are bad in Iraq.

But I talked to some Republicans this week, who said, had he done it three months ago, they think they really could have -- it really could have helped a lot. And they were very frustrated by that.

COOPER: Is there a new Washington, Ron? And, if so, how long is it going last? I mean, after 9/11, everyone talked about working together, you know, not caring about Democrat, Republican. That didn't last very long.

BROWNSTEIN: No. This has been an intensely polarized political period, really going back to the Clinton -- most of the Clinton administration as well. And I think it's unlikely that one election is going to change that fundamentally.

I think what we will see, though, is, Democrats understand that one of the reasons they have a majority now is that voters have been exhausted by the unrelenting partisanship of the last few years. And they will, I think, try to make some process adjustments that reach out to Republicans, for example, in the way the conference committees between the House and Senate are run. It would be easy to make those more inclusive than they have been in the last few years.

The bigger question, Anderson, is whether the agenda that Democrats are now going to be putting on to the national table attracts some support across party lines. And there may be some areas where it does. But, as you get deeper down the road, especially on Iraq, there could be a lot of conflict.

COOPER: What -- what about it? I mean, it -- it's easy for -- for Democrats to criticize, though. Are they actually going to be able to make differences? Are they actually going to be able work with Republicans on Iraq, Mr. Bacon?

BACON: I think, on Iraq, it's very difficult, just because there's very little you can do from Congress to say -- to change foreign policy in Iraq.

I mean, the Democrats themselves aren't necessarily -- can't necessarily agree on what they should do either. Some want to withdraw tomorrow. Some want to withdraw in a year. Some want to say, we shouldn't have a timetable at all.

So, in Iraq, it's very difficult. They have committed to not withdrawing money from the troops. Otherwise, they -- otherwise, there's not a whole lot they can do on Iraq.

There are other issues, I think, like immigration reform, where they may actually work with President Bush better than the Republicans did, however.

COOPER: But, Ron, I mean...



BROWNSTEIN: Oh, I'm sorry. .

COOPER: Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: I was going to disagree a little bit, Anderson.

I think that there's a continuum of congressional pressure on Iraq that's possible. I mean, the -- the first steps are the most obvious. They're going to be holding more oversight. And they're also going to be talking -- oversight hearings -- they're also going to be talking about alternatives. Harry Reid, for example, the new Senate majority leader, is talking about encouraging the president to personally convene a regional conference, including Syria, as well as Jordan and Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to talk about alternative -- political alternatives there.

And, then, as you sort of move along, the critical question, the momentous questions Democrats would face is, if this Baker-Hamilton commission does not move the president toward a more rapid disengagement from Iraq, do they, as Perry suggested, try to legislate on it? That's a much more politically dicey proposition, but one, importantly, that they have not ruled out at the beginning.

COOPER: Also, with '08 coming up, I mean, all eyes are going to be on the Democrats to lose whatever they have already gained this time around.

So, they're going to have to, in -- in some ways, be policing themselves, maybe even more than the Republicans are policing them.

BACON: I think, in some ways, that's exactly right.

And, in some ways, the Democrats winning will be good for President Bush, because the Democrats have been, as you know, attacking him in a lot of ways. And now they want to prove that they're a -- they're a governing party that can govern effectively. And they want to find some ways, you know, on education, or on immigration, or on -- on -- on welfare reform, on -- on other issues like that, to show that they can work with President Bush, and get things done, to suggest that they should get the prize, you know, the ultimate prize, which is the presidency, in 2008.

COOPER: Ron, you agree with that?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think there's a -- there's a tension here, that, on the one hand, voters -- one of the reasons, as I said, Democrats are now in the majority is the sense that Washington has been too polarized, too partisan, and not getting enough done.

On the other hand, this was a pretty clear national -- nationalized election. It was a referendum on the president's performance, especially in Iraq. And the center of the electorate said no. Democrats won independent voters by nearly 20 points.

So, there is a coalition that elected the Democrats that are expecting them to move national policy in a different direction, especially on Iraq. So, you know, there's a balance there between, on the one hand , too much confrontation doesn't look good, and -- and goes against what the voters are hoping for. On the other hand, they were elected to change national policy. And there is going to be some scrapes and bruises along that way, inevitably.

COOPER: There certainly is.

Ron Brownstein, Perry Bacon, appreciate you joining us, guys. Thanks very much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

BACON: Thanks for having us.

COOPER: Good to have you on the program.

The man behind the fall of Mark Foley finally speaking up. Up next, we will tell you why he says he came forward about Foley, and whether or not politics had anything to do with his timing.

Also ahead tonight: faith and politics -- why the Christian right is putting the Republican Party on notice for 2008.

And, later: a new al Qaeda warning -- it is coming from Iraq, but the threat is going straight to the White House. We will tell you all about it when 360 continues.



REP. MARK FOLEY (R), FLORIDA: Above all, cherish your families. Let them know how much you appreciate them giving you this chance. And let them know how much you appreciate their love to make you the people you are.


COOPER: That was Mark Foley's tearful message to a group of congressional pages in 2002, well before his humiliating resignation over the explicit e-mails that he sent.

The first hints of the Foley scandal surfaced on the Internet, where a blogger was making sure it spread like wildfire. Tonight, that blogger is speaking out on how and why he helped topple the congressman.

CNN's Joe Johns reports.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of the big mysteries of campaign 2006, who exposed Congressman Mark Foley, is a mystery no more. Meet Lane Hudson, Democrat, political operative, gay activist.

FOLEY: Mr. Speaker, I raise...

JOHNS: To hear him tell it, Foley's behavior was an open secret, and Washington was letting him get away with it.

LANE HUDSON, STOP SEX PREDATORS: Everyone knew there was something going on there. And it's just part of this Washington culture, where people look the other way. They would rather not rock the boat, rather not really know what's going on. And that's just not the way things should work.

JOHNS: What Hudson did was set up a blog called Stop Sex Predators, posting a few Foley e-mails. He wouldn't say how he got them. ABC News picked up on the story and acquired some Foley electronic messages on its own, just in time for voters to get disgusted before heading to the polls, leading many to speculate that the whole thing was nothing more than a cynical, but effective effort to influence the election.

The way Hudson tells it, this didn't start in September, when the Foley story actually broke, but the whole thing actually got started in July, when he first got some Foley e-mails, and approached a major national newspaper, trying to get the story out.

HUDSON: So, really as soon as I got the e-mails, I met with a reporter. That was the first thing I did. And that was back in July.

JOHNS: About the same time, Hudson says he came up with the idea for the blog.

HUDSON: That was kind of a backup plan. And, in retrospect, it was really exactly what I should have done, because, you know, the blogosphere is not subject to the same pressures as the mainstream media.

FOLEY: But I will tell, you this Internet guide that's available...

JOHNS: Law enforcement authorities knew about some of the e- mails in July, too, because a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said it told the FBI.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are the kind of e-mail exchanges that a sexual predator might use to engage a young boy.

JOHNS: Foley's attorney says his client admits to the e-mails, but denies sexual contact. It's not like this was a secret, or that Hudson was sitting on evidence of an alleged crime.

Still, Hudson wasn't exactly your average Joe citizen crying out in the blogosphere. He says he actually met Foley a few years ago. He's been active in Democratic politics. And he worked for the Human Rights Campaign, a huge gay activist group. And, when they found out that Hudson had been using one of their computers to send unauthorized messages about the Foley matter, they fired him.

HUDSON: I don't fault them for their actions at all. If I were in the same position, I probably would have done the same thing.

JOHNS: Now, back to that question of motivation, Hudson insists he was just trying to stop Foley.

HUDSON: If anyone wants to question motivations, or if it was the right thing or not, then, all they're doing is suggesting that this behavior should have continued. And that's the bottom line. And I sleep well at night, because it was the right thing to do. And... JOHNS: The right thing, yet another boost for Democrats in an election year.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, as you will recall, Mark Foley was expected to win reelection in his Florida district before the congressional page scandal broke.

And, under election rules, Foley's name remained on the ballot, even after he resigned. Here's the "Raw Data" on how the race played out there.

Democrat Timothy McVeigh, a political newcomer, won 49 percent of the vote and the seat. Foley's replacement in the race, Republican Joe Negron, got 48 percent of the vote, even though his name wasn't on the ballot. Poll workers were allowed to post notices explaining that a vote for Foley meant a vote for Negron. Independent candidate Emmie Ross captured just 3 percent of the vote.

Well, morals and ethics likely played a big deal in that defeat. Of course, the other issues on the minds of voters was Iraq -- today, a haunting message from the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, speaking out against President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and more. We will have a live report from Baghdad.

And Veterans Day, a time to salute the troops, but some are hard to track down when they have to place to call home -- that and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: The evangelical vote, did Republicans lose it on Tuesday? And can they count on it in 2008?

360 next.


COOPER: Well, for more than two decades evangelical Christians have been a major part of the Republican Party's voter base.

But, in new survey by, 60 percent of evangelicals polled said their views of the Republican Party had become less positive in recent years. They still voted overwhelmingly for Republicans this election, but some evangelical leaders are now warning the GOP: Don't take us for granted the next time around.



COOPER (voice-over): The army of the faithful turned out in force this Election Day -- white evangelicals casting roughly a quarter of all ballots, theirs overwhelmingly for Republicans.

But, this year, many evangelicals voted with a heavy heart.

STAN ROCKEY, EVANGELICAL VOTER: I will still be loyal, but probably not as enthusiastic and excited as I was before.

COOPER: Now a man widely considered the nation's most politically powerful evangelical leader, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, is taking it a step further, accusing Washington Republicans of ignoring the social issues so important to the party's base.


DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: In 2004 conservative voters handed them a 10-seat majority in the Senate and a 29-seat edge in the House. And what did they do with that power? Very little that values voters care about.


COOPER: Next Election Day, Dobson warns, evangelicals might just stay home. It wouldn't be the first time they have taken a break from politics.

JOHN GREEN, SENIOR FELLOW IN RELIGION AND AMERICAN POLITICS, PEW FORUM ON RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE: We have these moments of great activism, but then these moments where the activism pauses, and there's a bit of a -- of a retreat.


RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We haven't improved, by one iota, on the Ten Commandments.


COOPER: In 1980, Ronald Reagan welcomed evangelicals into the Republican tent, seeing enormous potential in a group newly energized by the battle against legalized abortion and the expansion of equal rights for gays.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ronald Reagan stands for the traditional American family.


COOPER: Christian conservatives began to emerge as a true political force. But their movement was soon rocked by scandal.

JIMMY SWAGGART, TELEVANGELIST: I have sinned against you, my lord.

GREEN: That sort of led to a pause. Many evangelicals wondered if this was such a good idea, after all, to be involved in politics. COOPER: Evangelicals retreated from political life. Then, in 2000, they discovered another presidential candidate who spoke their language.


BUSH: When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as the savior, it changes your heart and changes your life.


COOPER: George W. Bush and Karl Rove saw evangelicals as the foundation of a resurgent Republican Party, and worked hard to win their hearts, promoting a constitutional marriage amendment...



COOPER: ... pledging to tighten restrictions on abortion.

But much of that agenda fell by the wayside, leaving people like James Dobson to wonder whether the time to retreat is again at hand.


COOPER: So, what will socially conservative voters do to make sure the GOP addresses their issues?

Up next, two evangelical leaders will join us to discuss the future of the Republican Party and the evangelicals.

Plus: What is this baby laughing out? And why are so many people trying to find out?

That and more on 360 next.


COOPER: Well, before the break, we told you that many evangelical voters felt their concerns were ignored by the Bush administration leading up to the midterm elections.

Joining me now for more on this, from Washington, are Charmaine Yoest, the vice president of the Family Research Council, and David Kuo, former deputy director of the Bush White House Office of Faith -- Faith-Based Initiatives. He's also the author of the book "Tempting Faith."

Both of you, appreciate you for joining us.

David, James Dobson is talking about the idea of, you know, if -- if -- if his concerns, if his followers' concerns are not addressed in this next administration, the idea of sitting out the elections come '08. Is that the right way to get your message across? DAVID KUO, AUTHOR, "TEMPTING FAITH: AN INSIDE STORY OF POLITICAL SEDUCTION": You know, I think one of the things that Dr. Dobson is realizing is, frankly, when you whore yourself to politics, you shouldn't be surprised if you're treated like a whore.

COOPER: Yikes. Well, what...


COOPER: What do you mean by that?

KUO: Well, I mean by that I think too many evangelicals have been worshiping at the altar of politics above the altar of God and confusing the two.

And I think at the end of the day there is this deep concern. And the concern is this: that the name of Jesus is being sullied by a political agenda.

And the words, obviously, I say are tough, but they're tough because really, if you look back at what's happened in the last four or five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years, what you're seeing is that the name of Jesus is becoming more associated with a political agenda than with the good news that he came to preach.

COOPER: But David, if you feel strongly about something, you have strong beliefs, what's wrong with entering the political arena to try to get those beliefs across?

KUO: Well, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. But I think you also have to recognize what impact it has spiritually.

You know, it used to be when you mentioned the name of Jesus a lot of people would worry about being converted. More and more when you're mentioning the name of Jesus, people worry that you're going to lobby them on a particular set of issues.

And the problem that I think Dr. Dobson and so many people are running into is when you declare loyalty to a single party, you have nowhere else to go. And so the idea of sitting back for a period of time I talk about maybe taking a fast from politics to focus on more spiritual things. I think that it's an important thing to do because you can declare your independence.

COOPER: Let me bring in Charmaine. I mean, I think a lot of evangelicals are saying I'm a values voter. I'm not necessarily a Republican voter or Democrat voter.

CHARMAINE YOEST, V.P., FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: That's precisely -- gosh, David those are awfully strong words to be throwing around.

You know, this country has an amazing history, a wonderful history. It was religious people who were at the forefront of the fight against slavery, religious people at the forefront of fighting to bring universal suffrage to this country. So now to come to a point of saying that religious people need to back out of the public square is just really shocking and surprising to me.

I think if anything we need more people involved in politics. That's the beauty of the American system, is that it's robust enough to handle all kinds of voices. We need to get out there...

COOPER: To David's point, is getting involved in the world of politics, does one sully itself? I mean, it's a dirty business. It's a tough game. Is it the place for people of faith?

YOEST: Sure, it's rough and tumble. You know, the old saying. Politics ain't beanbag. You've got to understand that. You've got to know that. But that's one thing.

The other thing is to say that politics is more than just a game. It's about governance. It's about our corporate life. It's about what we're going to do together as we live together.

And you know, people of faith are out there saying we believe in defending the unborn. We believe in defending marriage. These are really, really critical issues for us as a corporate body.

And so to say that somehow, because your beliefs are motivated by faith that that's not legitimate and that that's not something that you should bring to the public square, I think that really impoverishes our public discourse to say that.

COOPER: David, you're shaking your head.

KUO: No, because that -- I mean, it's a wonderful line but that's not what anybody's talking about. No one's saying that Christians don't have a right to be involved in politics.

YOEST: That's what you -- you were pursuing that, David, by using words...

KUO: No.

YOEST: Some pretty vulgar language there.

KUO: Charmaine, I'm making a spiritual point. And the spiritual point is -- the spiritual point is this. If you look at the impact that politics has made on the name of Jesus in the last few decades, it's been ugly. It's been really ugly. And especially if you look at what has been accomplished politically.

I mean, think about just the last eight years or so.

YOEST: David, there's been a lot accomplished.

KUO: There's hundreds of millions of -- Charmaine, let me just finish. There have been hundreds of millions of dollars spent on nasty, vulgar campaigns. And you really can't tell a Christian candidate any different than you can from a non-Christian candidate. YOEST: You know, nobody -- you know...

KUO: And what's the spiritual impact, then, at the end of the day?

YOEST: No one is out there identifying candidates, you know, as a Christian candidate, per se. What we emphasize when was talk about these campaigns is issues. How do you stand on tissues?

Let me just go back to this election and what has actually just happened is we've been say for years that if the Democrat Party wanted to be a ruling party that they needed to look very carefully at their radical leftist agenda, their support for abortion on demand throughout all nine months.

And now what you see is the Democrats picking a -- part of their success in this last election was due to several of the pro-life candidates that they put in office. They have three -- they picked up three or four moderate pro-life candidates as part of their new ruling majority.

COOPER: And yet if you look at the percentage of evangelical voters who voted for Democrats versus who voted for the Republicans this time around, I mean, it's pretty much close to what it was back in 2004, maybe a slight uptick for the Democrats this time around.

So David, I mean, I guess the point is do evangelical voters have the power that perhaps they were once perceived to have? I mean, if -- if they say they were discontented this time around, they still went out and voted pretty much the same way they voted last time.

KUO: Yes, Anderson, you're exactly right. There's been some hoopla about some big shift in evangelical votes. There hasn't been a big shift. And nearly 70 percent of evangelicals still went for Republicans. And I'm not saying that...

YOEST: Yes, but that doesn't get to the issue.

KUO: Please, if I could just finish.

COOPER: Final point for both of you, David.

KUO: My point here is for evangelical voters, the question is how much has the political -- how much has political involvement cost spiritually. And I think more and more what's become clear is it's had a tremendous spiritual cost to take a step back.

COOPER: OK, Charmaine.

YOEST: I think it's really important to focus on the fact that there is a difference between what the church does and what church people and people of faith do in the political arena.

I believe it's a responsibility for all of us to be involved, a spiritual responsibility for all of us to be involved in our corporate governance of how we're going to live our lives together. And that is a really, really important heritage of the American people that we've always had religious people at the forefront of social movement for change, for justice for people.

COOPER: Charmaine Yoest and David Kuo, appreciate you joining us.

YOEST: Thank you.

COOPER: David's book, again, is "Tempting Faith".

While Americans were voting, insurgents were watching. Tonight we are hearing from the top terrorist in Iraq. He's released a new and very disturbing message. We'll talk to our correspondent, Michael Ware, about that from Baghdad.

And later, honoring our heroes on Veterans Day from the front lines to coming home. This is 360.


COOPER: Sad to say since the elections at least five U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, bringing the number of U.S. casualties for November to 26.

And today we've heard from the insurgency. In a message, al Qaeda's leader in Iraq mocked the president and the defense secretary while declaring victory and threatening even more attacks, both in Iraq and here at home.

CNN's Michael Ware is in Baghdad. He joins us now live.

Michael, this new al Qaeda in Iraq tape was posted on the Internet. Let's listen to a clip that was recorded by the group's leader, this guy Abu Hamza al-Muhajer. Let's listen.


ABU HAMZA AL-MUHAJER, AL QAEDA IN IRAQ LEADER (through translator): I say to the lame talk, don't rush to run away as your lame defense secretary ran away. We haven't had enough of your blood yet. Come down to the battlefield, you coward.


COOPER: Abu Hamza also claimed they're winning in war in Iraq and threatened to blow up -- blow up the White House.

What's remarkable about these tapes is these guys have such a finely honed sense of propaganda, when to release things and what to say for maximum impact.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Anderson. I mean, we've seen the insurgency as a whole throughout the course of the war developing sophistication. Not just in terms of the battlefield, but also in terms of the information campaign, the propaganda war. We've seen them increase their -- their degree of polish in their propaganda videos and tapes and also their timing, their attention to detail.

What we've had now from al Qaeda in Iraq is a further rising tide of triumphalism (ph), from militias and insurgent groups in Iraq. We saw a politician connected to the militia of anti-American rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr today that Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation is a defeat for America.

The Islamic Army of Iraq said it was a victory for the insurgency, and now we have al Qaeda in Iraq saying it's a victory for them and that the administration should not run away. We have not yet had enough of your blood.

So they're capitalizing on the political turmoil and upheaval in Washington.

COOPER: Going to play you another quick excerpt from this audio tape. Let's listen.


AL-MUHAJER (through translator): In the name of the Mujahideen Council (ph) and under the command of the Islamic nation of Iraq, I pledge to put at your disposal in your direct command 12,000 fighters. They are the al Qaeda army. All of them pledge allegiance to die in the name of God and more than 10,000 others await to be ready and can't wait to join you.


COOPER: So he's claiming 12,000 active al Qaeda fighters and another 10,000 kind of waiting in the wings. Is there any way to know the accuracy of -- I mean, how big is al Qaeda in Iraq?

WARE: Well, that's something that's obviously very, very difficult to calculate. Now, while I suggest that those numbers are most likely inflated or exaggerated, they may not be so inflated by the degree that you might at first think.

Certainly in terms of the insurgency, it's been bandied about that there's as many as 20,000 fighters in the field on any given day. Of which al Qaeda itself is between 3 and 5 percent.

However, what you need to take into account is that al Qaeda brings around it other groups that are following it. So in that regard, yes, al Qaeda definitely has thousands here.

Remember, this is a group that started as a handful of Jordanians in a training camp in Iraq and Afghanistan. They became Taweed al- Jihad (ph) under Zarqawi. Then they became the Mujahideen Shira Council (ph). Now they've created the Islamic State of Iraq, as they say.

He's committing these troops to that Islamic state. The heartland of the caliphate Osama bin Laden wants to see spread across the world, Anderson.

COOPER: Michael Ware, appreciate your expertise. Thank you, Michael. Michael Ware, live from Baghdad.

For the troops in Iraq, their job, of course, is to complete the mission. Their hope is to come home. For some, the journey back is full of setbacks and unwelcome surprises. For some, they wind up homeless.

A small number of Iraq -- Iraq and Afghanistan jets are turning up homeless these days. They're veterans just returned back. Maybe they live even near you, living on the streets. Tonight you're going to meet one of them.


COOPER (voice-over): There are two things National Guard Corporal Joe Raicaldo never dreamed he'd see: the sun setting over Iraq and the sun setting over his '98 Plymouth, the car he now calls home.

JOE RAICALDO, HOMELESS IRAQ VET: I never thought, like, after the ball was dropped, you're out here in this parking lot. I never thought I'd be here.

COOPER: The long road to get here, a parking lot in Jones Beach, New York, began two years ago in Iraq.

(on camera) So you were in this lane here?

RAICALDO: Yes, in that top piece in the front turret.

COOPER (voice-over): Joe was the gunner in this Humvee when his vehicle took a sharp turn and flipped. His body was nearly crushed underneath

RAICALDO: I just remember I couldn't move anything. I couldn't breathe. I was bleeding. You know, I just felt blood all over me, my face. And I squeezed out the words, "Get a medevac fast," because I thought that was it.

COOPER: Joe suffered traumatic brain injury, broke his back, all his ribs and shattered his left arm. He was unconscious for days.

RAICALDO: Told my sister they're going to fly her out there; I wasn't going to make it.

COOPER: To the surprise of his own doctors, he survived. Over many months doctors pieced him back together, using metal rods and screws to fuse his spine and metal plates to hold his shattered arm together.

(on camera) You have a lot of metal?

RAICALDO: A lot of metal. Probably built a small Eiffel Tower over there in hardware. COOPER (voice-over): Today every step hurts, but Joe remembers when he could run on this beach for miles.

RAICALDO: Me and my friend, we used to go eight miles that way.

COOPER: Joe can't lift more than ten pounds, so he couldn't go back to being an auto mechanic. Instead, he took a job with the National Guard, patrolling Penn Station in New York.

He says he lasted six months before landing in the hospital again with back pain and a bone infection.

RAICALDO: At that point I gave up. I simply gave up. I know I can't work. I have no income coming in. I'm finished.

COOPER: What he had coming in was $218 a month from a disability check. So it wasn't long before Joe, at age 50, ended up homeless.

RAICALDO: This is my clothes closet here.

COOPER (on camera): The trunk is your closet?

RAICALDO: Yes, forgive me. The maid didn't show up this morning. I'm going to fire her when I get home.

COOPER (voice-over): Joe says he's looked for part time work with no luck.




COOPER: He has one sister and a few friends who've offered to help, but he's too proud to accept it and too proud to stay in a shelter.

So he spends most days alone, a stranger in his hometown of Hicksville, New York, on Long Island. One possible reason for his withdrawal, Joe was recently diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

RAICALDO: I just don't belong. I don't feel I belong anywhere.

COOPER: Joe is one of an estimated 600 homeless veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. That's not many, compared with the 200,000 or so from all wars who are currently homeless.

But these vets are showing up even more quickly than after Vietnam, a war that left nearly 70,000 homeless, an even greater number than died in combat.

CHERYL BEVERSDORF, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL COALITION FOR HOMELESS VETS: If the experience with Vietnam is any predictor, I am very worried about the numbers of homeless veterans where people at risk of being homeless who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

COOPER: The Department of Veterans Affairs is working to avoid a repeat of what happened after Vietnam.

JIM NICHOLSON, SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: There was a delayed effect with a lot of veterans after Vietnam. We know that. We've studied it. We've learned from that. And so that's why we're trying to intervene now right away.

COOPER: The V.A. spent more than a billion dollars on homeless programs last year, but some veterans still fall through the cracks. Misclassified, as the V.A. now says Joe was, unable to receive full compensation.

(on camera) You feel sort of like you got lost in the system?

RAICALDO: Absolutely. Lost -- I'm still lost. I'm still dizzy from what happened.

COOPER (voice-over): And sick and tired of fighting for benefits. Last month, though, Joe's persistence began to pay off. His disability status was raised from 20 percent to 60 percent, or $873 a month.

But as Joe puts it, in New York, that is just enough to either afford an apartment or eat, not both.

RAICALDO: I'm disgusted. And it's not because I'm a veteran or a soldier or somebody who served. That means nothing. You know, we choose to go. No one forced us to go.

I'm just saying you should be treated like a human being, for God's sake. That's all I want. And I think about the other veterans from other wars and they're still fighting to this day. And it's just -- it's horrible. And I had to live it.

COOPER: It was only after CNN made repeated inquiries about this case that the V.A. called to inform us that Joe would finally be granted full 100 percent disability status, retroactive to March and worth $2,600 a month. Meaning he may actually get to sleep in a real bed very soon.

When we called Joe with the news, he said he'll believe it when he gets the first check.

The war in Iraq may have broken his body, but it's the fight here at home that's come close to breaking his spirit.


COOPER: On Monday we'll have more stories from veterans to tell in our special edition of 360, "Coming Home".

Up next, another soldier story you will not forget. Insightful, intelligent and just doing his job. A young American in Iraq and forever a hero. And ahead, Lou Dobbs salutes all the heroes in uniform. The special edition of "LOU DOBBS" tonight. That's in the next hour of 360 at 11 p.m. Eastern.


COOPER: On the eve of Veterans Day, the White House said today it will give the Medal of Honor to Marine Corporal Jason Dunham, who was killed in Iraq. Corporal Dunham would have been 25 today.

He died protecting his buddies, throwing himself on a grenade during an insurgent ambush last April.

Tonight we want to share with you the story of another American hero, a 23-year-old sergeant from Kansas. He spoke at length to CNN's Arwa Damon. His views are thoughtful, insightful, and he's the kind of soldier we are so proud to honor for Veterans Day.

Here's Arwa Damon's report.


SPECIALIST WILL MOCK, U.S. ARMY: I'm Specialist Will Mock from Harper, Kansas, with 22 Infantry here in Fallujah. Mission accomplished.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was during the fight for Fallujah in November 2004 when we really got to know the soldier everyone simply called Mock.

MOCK: Just like every other man, stressed, a little scared. But you know, this is what we do. And I thought about telling my family about it but, no way. I didn't want them to worry.

When I describe Fallujah to someone else that had never been there, the first I would say you might want to rethink about going. And say make your peace with God, because you might not come back.

It's a living hell. It was a living hell. Some moments lasted a lifetime.

DAMON: No pretenses with Mock, not about the mission, not about his love for being a soldier, despite all the emotional turmoil of his experiences.

MOCK: I think not only me has changed. I think everybody that was there, enemy, friendly, everybody walked away changed. The ways that we changed? You have a different outlook on life. Don't take nearly as much for granted. When you tell your girlfriend or your mother or father, "Hey, I love you," you really mean it.

DAMON: His family now remembers those words.

MOCK: This right here is my family.

DAMON: He was afraid then of going back home to Kansas, worried he had changed too much. His motto, tattooed on both arms: strength and honor.

A tough soldier, apologizing for us for being rough around the edges. He wasn't; in many ways still the gentleman his family brought him up to be.

MOCK: There's no reason to me saying, "Hey, ma, you know, I got shot at a lot today," or, "Hey, ma, we had to -- had to fight the enemy and some people didn't make it out, friendly and foe." Just something better left untalked about.

DAMON: His first one-year tour of duty finally ended in February 2005.

MOCK: A big relief. Overwhelming joy. We got a deep feeling of our part is completed here.

Nobody wants to die out here. Even though the soldiers would for our country, any of them would. It's not a question. I had heard my grandfather once say, "Somebody's got to do it." I guess I'm that somebody.

Every time we lose soldiers and we have our ceremonies here for the fallen comrades, and they play the "Taps" for those men, that's probably the moments that will stay in my mind more than ever.

From now until the day that I die, every Memorial Day and Veterans Day when I go to the local cemetery in Hartford, Kansas, and they play the "Taps," I'm sure I'll -- it will hit me pretty hard then.

DAMON: This Veterans Day, they will be playing "Taps" for him. Mock redeployed to Iraq in August of 2006. The last time we saw him was on a rooftop in eastern Baghdad.

Twenty days later, on October 22, Mock was killed by a roadside bomb, one of 11 killed in Iraq that weekend. At his memorial, his commanders and his men echoed his motto, "Strength and honor, Sergeant Mock."

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.


COOPER: Sergeant Mock was buried a last week. He was one of at 664 U.S. troops to die in Iraq this year. Since the war began 2,444 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice. We'll be right back.


COOPER: "The Shot of the Day" is coming up. It's a surprise for Erica Hill. But first, she joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, we begin with reports out of London tonight that authorities are tracking almost 30 possible terrorist plots. A British intelligence agency says that it's monitoring 200 cells who may be planning or helping with attacks in Britain or abroad.

The agency says so far, it has stopped five major attacks since the July 2005 London transit bombings.

And we all see the impact YouTube has had on political campaigns. Well, now some are saying it could help keep police honest. A clip on the post-it-yourself video web site has triggered a police brutality investigation by the FBI.

The video shows an L.A. police officer punching an alleged gang member repeatedly in the face before handcuffing him. The LAPD is also investigating the August incident. The police chief calls the video disturbing but says it's just 20 seconds and doesn't show everything that happened during the arrest.

On Wall Street, the stock market ending the day on an up note after a rather erratic week following the midterm elections. The Dow gained 5, the NASDAQ rose almost 14, and the S&P added two.

And just in time for the holidays, Sony unveiling its Playstation 3 in Tokyo today. Production of the new gaming machine had been plagued with problems. And if you are waiting for one here in the U.S., Anderson, it goes on sale next Friday.

COOPER: Ah, yes, I already have it marked on my calendar.

You know, Erica, in honor of this being your last day on the program, due to you going on maternity leave, which we're very sad about but we're very happy for you, we have a special shot. This is what you have to look forward to. It's our favorite video from YouTube of the week, the ha-ha baby. Let's listen.


HILL: He has a very grown-up laugh, the little one.

COOPER: He's got the greatest grown-up laugh, and it just goes on and on.

HILL: I hope mine is that happy.

COOPER: We hope so, too. Or you can have the -- this is a baby actually from Kazakhstan.

The other YouTube video that we saw, which is the mom with four times the fun, loving quadruples.

HILL: Oh no, no.

COOPER: Watch.

HILL: That woman is a saint right there.

COOPER: So that's what you have to look forward to, we hope. Erica, we wish you all the best.

HILL: Thank you. I'll miss you guys. But I look forward to seeing you when I get back.

COOPER: Well, hurry back.

That's all for this Friday edition of "360." Up next, Lou Dobbs salutes the men and women in uniform, America's heroes. Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday.


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