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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Ambush; Saying Goodbye; War in Iraq; Death of a Dictator; Rudy's Play Book; Oprah's Promise; One Year Later;
Aired January 2, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Also next to his grandfather, Jonathan Bowling who was 23. He lies beneath the words at peace in heaven. Jonathan wrote those words in an extraordinary detailed letter of instructions covering every aspect of his own funeral to save his parents the pain and worry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mom and dad, if you're reading this letter, then the worst must have happened. I want both of you to know that I love you very much.
FOREMAN: But Jonathan could not have anticipated the crowd. Five thousand people turned out in his rural county to pay respects. Signs appeared on every roadway.
DARRELL BOWLING, JONATHAN BOWLING'S FATHER: You know, he told us that in the letter. Try not to cry. Know that I'm at peace.
And there are days when, I try not to cry and it works. And there are days when I try not to cry and it don't work. His death will forever be with me. And everyone that knew him.
FOREMAN: Jonathan wanted to be a state trooper like his father, an honor he received posthumously. His grave is in a small family plot, his dad comes every day.
Chris Weaver, who was 24, is buried at Quantico, amid thousands of other servicemen and women who passed into history before him.
His study of history taught him to see the big picture in life and death.
DANELL WEAVER, CHRISTOPHER WEAVER'S FIANCE: History is made up, he told me one time, of millions of lives. And a lot of times we focus on one. Excuse me. It's just, sometimes it's hard not to focus on that one.
FOREMAN: What should history know of these Marines?
STAFF SGT. BUTCH DREANY, CHARLIE COMPANY: You know, I don't know what their political beliefs were. And I don't know how they felt about, you know, why we were there. But it really didn't matter. All that mattered was they were serving their country, they were serving their corps, and they were serving their brothers. And -- they will forever be heroes, not just because they died but because of how they lived.
FOREMAN: Not a day goes by that members of Charlie Company don't think of how those men lived.
SGT. BILL MEYERS, CHARLIE MEMBERS: These guys were brave. They -- they loved what they did. There's not one person in that group that will ever be the same.
FOREMAN: Then Corporal, now Sergeant Andy Gentry, keeps a shadow box of Linn, Weaver, Bowling and Strong's chevrons and honors by his front door as a reminder.
SGT. ANDY GENTRY, CHARLIE COMPANY: You know, live it to the fullest and do good because I didn't get a chance.
FOREMAN: Staff Sergeants Mike Sprano and Butch Dreany, who both have young families, remember the integrity of their men and hope to see glimpses of it in their own children.
DREANY: Any of the four are the type of person that I want my daughter to bring home.
STAFF SGT. MIKE SPRANO, CHARLIE COMPANY: These are really the -- the best this country has to offer. These are young people who have decided that they want to do more, that being a good citizen isn't enough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, 40 years from now, what will this -- this turn out to be? Maybe Iraq will be a prosperous, free country.
We, just looking at the now, but I'm looking way ahead years from now. I'm looking at the point when someday an Iraqi person will come up and shake my hand and say thank you. Thank you, that you gave your son. And I'll say it was a privilege. And I don't regret it.
FOREMAN: There is not enough time in the world to say all that should be said about these four young men. Or the tens of thousands of others who have died or served in Iraq.
The future will judge the rights and wrongs of this war. What we know is this, these young Americans did willingly what their country, what we asked of them, with faith and courage.
In honor and remembrance of all those who have served, and all who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You are looking at a live picture of the casket, bearing the 38th president of the United States in Grand Rapids, Michigan, tonight. Gerald Ford's hometown and tomorrow his final resting place. People still streaming in at this late hour to pay their respects.
Earlier today, official Washington paid its tribute to a man one of the speakers, the first President Bush called a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.
That story now from CNN's John King.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was by his own design that Gerald Ford's last day in Washington began in the rotunda of the House. To remember a man is to retrace his steps in history. And the gentleman from Michigan served here for a quarter century.
GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I watched from the back bench, I watched this good man, to political ally and adversary alike, Jerry Ford's word was always good. To know Jerry, was to know a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.
KING: Across the Capital to the Senate, vice presidents also serve as president of the Senate. It was not a job he wanted.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And when President Nixon needed to replace a vice president who had resigned in scandal, he naturally turned to a man whose name was a synonym for integrity, Gerald R. Ford.
KING: He was vice president just eight short months.
Son, Steve, wiping a tear before retracing his father's most important steps, down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
HENRY KISSINGER, FORD'S SECRETARY OF STATE: Propelled into the presidency by a sequence of unpredictable events, he had an impact so profound as rightly to be considered providential.
KING: In Washington's majestic National Cathedral, they gathered to remember the unassuming son of a broken family who held a nation together after its president resigned in disgrace.
G. W. BUSH: And when he thought that the nation needed to put Watergate behind us, he made the tough and decent decision to pardon President Nixon, even though that decision probably cost him the presidential election.
KING: The only man to serve as vice president and president without being elected to either job. Just two and a half years in the oval office, yet days of considerable consequence. Surviving the stain of Watergate and the humiliation of defeat in Vietnam.
G. BUSH SR.: For this and for so much more, his presidency will be remembered as a time of healing in our land. History has a way of matching man and moment.
KING: Mr. Ford's impact hardly ended when he left the White House. Vice President Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are among the many old Ford hands who have had major roles in the current administration. Humor was one of Mr. Ford's favorite political tools. And this self- deprecating man would have enjoyed one more laugh at his expense.
G. BUSH SR.: I know I am playing better golf, President Ford once reported to friends, because I am hitting fewer spectators.
KING: And after a few last steps, and hail to the chief in a blustery breeze, what he would have cherished most. His beloved Betty looking on, making sure he was settled in comfortably for the final trip home.
KING (on camera): And striking to listen to the ceremonies today, Anderson, the term civility used over and over again at the cathedral in Washington in recent days as the final tributes were paid to the 38th president of the United States. Civility, not often a term often heard in Washington politics these days, but on this day, Democrats and Republicans pausing to remember leaders of both parties held fondly in their hearts and thoughts today -- Anderson.
COOPER: John, stay right where you are. We want to get back to you shortly. Want to bring in CNN's Jeanne Meserve, who is in Grand Rapids right now -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it is quite an incredible scene. There is a very, very long line snaking back and forth across the bridges that span the Grand River here in this part of Grand Rapids.
People getting in line now are being told they can expect a wait of four hours or more. Some of these people are very young, too young to remember Gerald Ford as president, much less as the local member of Congress, but they say that are here because they want to be part of history. They don't think they will see anything like this in Grand Rapids again in their lifetime.
They want to express their gratitude to a man who stepped up to the presidency, they say, and who in their opinion, did a very good job. And they want to express their pride. That came up over and over again in conversations with people and also in the service that was held today in the Ford Museum here in Grand Rapids.
You're going to hear an excerpt now from the Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, GOVERNOR OF MICHIGAN: We were proud to see, Mr. President, the down to earth spirit you brought to the White House. And we are proud now that we will lay you down in our Michigan earth right here. Welcome home, Mr. President. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: This trip home, back to Grand Rapids, was very definitely a sentimental journey.
The aircraft carrying the casket and the family flew over the University of Michigan stadium before coming here. That, of course, is where Mr. Ford played football -- and very well, I might add. And the University of Michigan band was on hand when he arrived at the Grand Rapids Airport, to play the Michigan fight song for the arrival ceremony.
As the motorcade drove here to the museum, there were scouts lining the roadway, saluting Mr. Ford being the only Eagle Scout who ever ascended to the Oval Office. All of them want to say, welcome home and rest well -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jeanne, probably a lot of people don't even remember that Gerald Ford was actually offered professional football slots after graduating from college. Instead, he chose to go to Yale and ultimately to law school.
I understand some of his old football teammates came today?
MESERVE: Yes. You will remember when he was in high school, he was part of the state high school championship team in 1930. There were 30 members of the team. They called themselves the 30-30 Club. Only three of them survived, and they were here at the museum here today.
I spoke to one of them earlier today, Leon Joslin (ph). He is 94 years old. He remembers Mr. Ford very fondly. Says he was a friend for life, and talked about how when Ford was president, he invited these members of the team to come to the White House.
Mr. Joslin (ph) said he got to sit next to Betty Ford and light a cigarette. He clearly liked her quite a bit. He said he held onto that matchbook for years -- Anderson.
COOPER: That is a great -- a great story.
Jeanne, I want to bring in CNN's John King, also.
John, what do you think might be President Ford's most enduring legacy?
KING: Well, obviously, the talk in Washington, the political legacy will be Watergate and his decision, quite controversial, even now 40 years later, to pardon Richard Nixon.
But that was an interesting subject, an interesting question on the minds of this town today. As you look, you saw Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and Paul O'Neill, Alan Greenspan, the young men of the Ford Administration who are still so active and have made such an imprint on Washington and the country in the years after the Ford administration. And also, Anderson, in one of the front rows at the National Cathedral, John Paul Stevens. He is the only choice Mr. Bush (sic) got to make in his short presidency for the Supreme Court, but what an influential voice he has been. A quiet voice, but a liberal to moderate voice on the court on issues like abortion rights. And just in the last term, a key voice on the Guantanamo Bay ruling on detainee rights. And a key voice on gay rights in the Supreme Court now.
So President Ford's legacy, you could say, is still being shaped.
COOPER: Jeanne, what happens tomorrow? What ceremonies take place?
MESERVE: Well, they will close the museum in the morning and then take the body over to Grace Episcopal Church, which is the church which the Ford family attended and where Betty and Gerald Ford were married. And then the body will be brought back here and there will be an intermittent ceremony. The body will be buried behind this museum. There's a wall there already inscribed with the words, Committed to God, Country and Love. Betty Ford will be buried there also when she dies. Back to you.
COOPER: And John, as you pointed out today earlier, it is pretty remarkable that a man who attained the highest level, the highest political office in this land, can still be described and remembered by people on all sides of the political aisle as a man of decency, a man of integrity, and also sort of a quiet man, self-effacing in many ways.
KING: And perhaps, Anderson, a lesson as Washington is about to go through another changing of the guard. The Democrats about to take power in the House of Representatives in the United States Senate. And President Bush, a Republican, who has polarized this town, just as his predecessor, the Democrat Bill Clinton did. Mr. Bush now with two years left in office. Perhaps a lesson in that even after Watergate, even in the painful days after Vietnam, there was a president of the United States who came to office under such controversial circumstances, who at the end of the day, who could have his fights with Democrats and duke it out with the Democrats, but at the end of the day, could laugh with them, joke with them, play golf with them, maybe invite them over for a drink. Perhaps 40 years later, there's a lesson today's Washington could learn from the civility of that day gone by.
COOPER: That certainly seems so.
John King, Jeanne Meserve, thank you very much for your reporting.
By law, all presidents, former presidents and presidents elect, are entitled to a state funeral, though not all families choose to have one. It is a tradition that actually began back in the mid- 1800s. Here's the raw data.
William Harrison, the first president to die in office, was also the first to have a state funeral. That was in 1841. Gerald Ford is the 11th president to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
Presidents and former presidents are also entitled to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, but only two actually are buried there -- John F. Kennedy and William Taft.
We're following several other stories tonight.
At the White House, President Bush is closer to outlining a new strategy for the war in Iraq. It could involve more troops. We'll get a live update from Washington and find out how much of a new strategy it really is.
And in parts of Iraq, the outrage continues over the execution of Saddam Hussein. New developments tonight concerning that graphic cell phone video of the hanging.
Also, Oprah Winfrey making good on a promise. A look at her new multimillion dollar school for girls in South Africa that opened today, when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, another day of bloody violence in Iraq -- 45 bullet-riddled bodies were found across Baghdad, including 15 behind a mosque.
Also in the capitol, a roadside bomb exploded, killing three civilians.
The violence continuing as word comes now that President Bush may reveal what they're calling a new strategy in Iraq within days.
"NBC News" is reporting that many -- or that the strategy may actually include an extra 20,000 U.S. troops.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on the story, learning more information tonight -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the National Security Council Spokesman Gordon Johndroe, who I spoke with, insists that the president has not signed off on anything. He hasn't made any decisions yet. But he says the president himself has talked about considering adding troops. And we do know from other sources -- we've reported this last month -- that the administration has seriously been considering sending anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 additional forces.
Now, as for the timing of the president's announcement, in a commentary written by the president himself in Wednesday's "Wall Street Journal," he says -- and I'm quoting here, "In the days ahead, I will be addressing our nation about a new strategy to help the Iraqi people gain control of the security situation and hasten the day when the Iraqi government gains full control over its affairs." Anderson?
COOPER: Do we know what the president needs to do or wants to do before he actually makes this announcement?
MALVEAUX: Well, he has promised to consult with Congress, as well as the Iraqi government, before making this announcement public. And tomorrow President Bush is going to be meeting with his cabinet in the morning. In the evening, he's hosting a reception for the Democratic-Republican leadership in the House and the Senate, for what they are calling informal discussions about the year ahead, but also including deliberations on Iraq.
And a senior administration official says that members of Congress will be getting courtesy calls from the White House once the president comes up with his final plan within a couple of days before the president addresses the nation.
So we could get a sense of what's percolating fairly soon. I am told that the president is also going to reach out to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to brief him before he makes his public address.
And administration officials tell me to expect the president to address the nation early next week.
While he hasn't signed off on anything yet, sources familiar with the president's deliberations, say he is driving toward a conclusion -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, we'll see how new the strategy really is in the days ahead.
Meanwhile, three days after the execution of former Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein, and the angry protests continue in Sunni communities throughout Iraq, now there's word the Iraqi government has launched an investigation to find out who secretly videotaped Hussein's hanging. We will be showing you part of that videotape.
Here's CNN's Arwa Damon.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chilling, uncensored images first appeared on the Internet. Fully portraying Saddam's final moments at the gallows and the last words that Saddam heard as he was taunted right before falling to his death.
A reference to Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric who's Mehdi militia is believed to be behind much of the sectarian violence.
The video continues as the trap door opens and Saddam is executed. The video sanctioned by the Iraqi government ends as the noose is placed around Saddam's neck and has no audio.
The day of the execution, Iraq's national security adviser, who was present as Saddam tumbled, to his death told CNN --
VOICE OF MAWAFFAK AL-ISTRABADI:-RUBAIE, IRAQI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: There was absolutely no humiliation to Saddam Hussein when he was alive and after he was executed.
DAMON: But these images showed a different scene and confirmed Sunni fears that the execution of Saddam by Iraq's Shia-led government was a sectarian affair.
A U.S. warning to Iraq's government that it avoid giving the perception of a rush to judgment fell on deaf ears. With an aide to Iraq's prime minister saying that Nouri al-Maliki was determined to put Saddam to death before the end of the year.
The government said it has launched an investigation as to how the cell phones were snuck into the gallows and footage was shot, obviously in plain view of the authorities who were present.
Munqith Faroon, perplexed and disturbed by what happened, was one of the 14 people present in that room.
MUNQITH FAROON, IRAQI CHIEF PROSECUTOR (through translator): We were searched, one by one, before going into the room. They had a box to place phones in. How these phones were snuck in, I don't know.
DAMON: A mistake the government is already paying for. At the modest gravesite of Iraq's once terrifying leader, tears flow freely. Grief, which turned into outrage with the all too familiar chants of -- with our blood and our souls we will sacrifice for you, Saddam.
In front of the glistening golden dome of the al-Askari Mosque in Samara, one of the holiest Shia shrines, the image of Saddam Hussein displayed by angry Sunni demonstrators, the way his supporters want to remember him, rather than the images now broadcast around the world, capturing the final seconds of his life.
(On camera): With Shia chants defining Saddam Hussein's last moments, turning his execution into an act of Shia revenge, Saddam's death risks driving even moderate Sunnis farther away from a Shia-led government that they already had little faith in. And rather than uniting Iraqis, it seems to be only further dividing them.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.
COOPER: Well, up next and back in this country, the documents that Rudy Giuliani never thought you'd see. His top secret campaign strategy leaked to the media. What it reveals about America's mayor as he mulls a run for the White House.
Plus, Oprah's promise. The talk show queen's new plan to change the world, one young girl at a time.
And one year after the Sago Mine disaster, what hasn't changed inside America's mines. And why hasn't it? We're keeping them honest, when 360 continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, he hasn't officially announced his candidacy for president, but tonight we're getting a detailed look inside Rudy Giuliani's potential campaign.
An internal document obtained by the "New York Daily News," details just about everything, from Giuliani's fundraising plans to worries about his personal life that could derail the former New York mayor's political future.
CNN's Mary Snow reports.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a Rudy Giuliani for president campaign strategy meant to stay behind the scenes. But the 140-page document, outlining everything from budgets to political baggage, made it into the hands of "New York Daily News" Reporter Ben Smith.
BEN SMITH, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS" REPORTER: The most striking thing was that there was the sort of explicit worries about some of these issues with his campaign, his mentioning his ex-wife, Donna Hanover, his current wife, his business -- social issues was last among the worries.
SNOW: Republican strategists say it's not surprising these concerns would be listed. Giuliani supports abortion and gay rights, which clash with Republican Party ideals.
While he was mayor, his divorce from his second wife, Donna Hanover, turned ugly, with an alleged affair making tabloid headlines.
And his former aid and Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik has become a source of embarrassment. Kerik, for one, withdrew his name as a choice to head the Department of Homeland Security over the hiring of a nanny with questionable immigration and tax status.
Kerik also pled guilty to misdemeanor charges for receiving gifts from a construction firm. Regulators have long contended that firm has mafia ties, though Kerik was not accused of having mafia ties himself.
Some strategists say riding out political baggage does come as a surprise.
JONATHAN GRELLA, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It would seem that these are not the kind of things that you would want to put down on paper. That's an old political maxim, not to ever put pen to paper on situations like this.
SNOW: Giuliani's camp calls it dirty tricks, claiming the document was taken in the fall while Giuliani was on the 2006 campaign trail, stumping for Republicans. A spokeswoman claims the document was in a staffer's luggage, which was not returned during a plane transfer. She claims the document was removed and photocopied. Giuliani's communications director said, as for the document itself, quote, "this is simply someone's ideas which were committed to paper over three months ago."
SMITH: I got it from a source who was sympathetic to one of Giuliani's opponents and who -- and the source said it had been left behind during his kind of pre-election campaign swing.
SNOW: Smith declined to show us the entire document, saying he was keeping it in a safe place. But one page he provided shows that Giuliani camp aims to raise at least $100 million in 2007 alone. Smith says the strategy shows Giuliani is planning to run, but says there are also concerns expressed among staff that he may drop out.
Giuliani has not yet formally announced he is seeking Republican nomination for president, but he has formed an exploratory committee to test the waters.
Mary Snow, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, ahead on 360, a dream come true for 152 young girls and the world's most famous talk show host. The opening of Oprah Winfrey's new school opening in South Africa. Why she spent $40 million of her own money building it and why she believes it could change the world.
Plus, 12 months after the worst mining disaster of 2006, new safety measures are still not being widely used. The question is why not? We are keeping them honest, tonight when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, SCHOOL FOUNDER: I brought you all here today to tell you that you will be a part of the very first class of the Oprah Winfrey School.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that was the reaction months ago when Oprah Winfrey told 152 young girls that they had been chosen to attend her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls in South Africa. They were and they were selected from more than 3,500 applicants, a 4 percent acceptance rate, which is tougher than Harvard's. Tuition and board at the school are free. And it is an investment that Oprah believes could literally change the world.
Today, when the school opened its doors, CNN's Jeff Koinange and a crowd of celebrities were there. Take a look.
OPRAH WINFREY, SCHOOL FOUNDER: Everybody, these are my girls. JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dream come true for 152 very lucky girls and also for one very famous talk show host.
Oprah Winfrey cut the ribbon and helped to raise the flag of her very own leadership academy for girls just outside of Johannesburg.
And she brought with her a host of Hollywood's finest in both the movie and music industries. From Mariah Carey to Tina Turner, from Chris Rock to Chris Tucker, and from Spike Lee to Sidney Poitier.
Originally, Oprah committed $10 million, but as her vision grew, so did her contribution -- to $40 million. And there's no school like it here. A library with a fireplace, a dining room with marble tabletops, an audio-video center, a gym, a wellness center, dormitories, and tennis courts -- and just 15 girls to a classroom.
That, in a country in which more than a third of the children don't get a chance even to go to high school. And those who do, often go to schools with few books, facilities or even bathrooms.
Winfrey aimed to help the poorest here, only children from homes that earn less than $800 a month are eligible.
Winfrey has worked to improve education in the U.S. She says she decided to build in South Africa because she found children here hungrier to learn. "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools," she said, "that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there. If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."
Oprah promised former President Nelson Mandela that she would build the academy six years ago after she visited some of South Africa's poorest schools.
NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICA PRESIDENT: This is unprecedented in South Africa. And we shall thank her for providing these young girls with not only specialized education, but life skills that will ensure that they become the best.
KOINANGE: In this once racially divided country, it's not surprising that most of the students are black. But Oprah insists her school is open to everyone as long as they qualify.
WINFREY: This school is open to all girls who are disadvantaged, all girls, all races, who are disadvantaged.
KOINANGE: And from the girls, themselves...
ZAIDA LAWRENCE, STUDENT: I feel excited and happy and...
WINFREY: A little nervous?
LAWRENCE: A bit nervous.
WINFREY: A bit nervous.
MICHELLE CONRADIE, STUDENT: I feel happy and I feel like crying, and but crying of happiness. I'm a bit nervous, but not that much.
NOXOLO BUTHELEZI, STUDENT: More than a dream come true. I don't know, it's like...
KOINANGE: Jeff Koinange, CNN, South Africa.
COOPER: Well, you can see the excitement in their faces. On Monday, don't miss a special edition of 360, "Oprah's Promise: Building Hope in South Africa." I'll talk to Oprah about her plans for the new school and ask her more about that decision to not invest millions in schools here in the United States.
Plus, see what life is like for a girl who was not chosen to attend the academy. And we'll follow a girl who was picked on her first day of school. We'll show you what life is like for many young kids in South Africa today. That's Monday on 360.
Just ahead tonight, the tragedy that began with an underground explosion one year ago today. Remember the Sago Mine disaster? We'll look back at one of the most unforgettable stories of 2006 and a look at why, 12 months later, new safety measures for miners still are not being used. We're keeping them honest, ahead on 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just come out of the mines. They said we got 12 alive. That's good news.
COOPER: Where did you -- who told you that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just come of the mines and sent an official down, said we got 12 alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, those dramatic words were, of course, an incredible turning point, not the final turning point in one of the most unforgettable stories of 2006, the Sago Mine disaster. He, of course, was wrong.
It was a year ago today that an explosion trapped 12 coal miners underground in West Virginia. Today their community marked the loss.
Visiting the mine and a nearby memorial to the victims, Randal McCloy, the sole survivor, paid his respects near the church, where last year friends and relatives held an excruciating vigil, a vigil that ended with what at first seemed like a miracle.
CNN's Joe Johns looks back. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After an excruciating 40 hours of searching, shouting and praying, exhausted rescuers down deep in the shafts of the Sago Mine near Buckhannon, West Virginia, say they've located a dozen coal miners trapped by an explosion. And the garbled message that comes from 260 feet underground is that the trapped miners are alive. Church bells ring, cheers erupt, tears of happiness.
VOICE OF RANDI KAYE: What can you confirm for us at this hour? We're being told 12 miners alive.
REP. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R) WEST VIRGINIA: 12 miners alive.
JOHNS: It was in fact too good to be true. It was a terrible disaster followed by a cruel accident. The news was wrong. Sago was not a miracle. Slowly, painfully the story. What they really found deep in the mine emerged.
COOPER: Wait, wait. Come here. What's happening?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's only one -- there's only one made it out alive.
JOHNS: All dead, except for one, lone survivor Randal McCloy, a father, the youngest of the men trapped.
For most of the rest of 2006, West Virginia investigators sift through the evidence. And it would be months before we finally learned from one of the rescue team members how the confusion underground got started.
BILL TUCKER, MINE RESCUER: I started screaming for help then and saying, they're over here, they're over here. I don't recall the exact words that I used, but I -- I -- and I didn't have a radio. I was just screaming out for help. I think I said, they're alive.
JOHNS: And an apology from the men who risked their own lives to save their brothers in the mine.
RONALD HIXSON, MINE RESCUER: We apologize for any of the problems or heartaches that the miscommunications caused. That was not meant to be.
JOHNS (on camera): Maps and mockups suggest that when the explosion occurred January 2, the miners were underground somewhere near here.
On the surface is West Virginia woodlands, sparsely populated, rolling hills.
(Voice-over): 26 stories down into the earth, the miners were struggling to survive, which was perhaps the biggest curiosity of all, that a society so advanced that it could map the human genome, but not after so many years devise a way to locate and rescue miners trapped in the earth before their air ran out.
What sparked it? Probably a freak lightning strike, said authorities, though that conclusion prompted extreme skepticism from some quarters because the mine company and investigators were at a loss to show conclusively how such an electrical spark could travel miles from its impact point on the surface, and then down into the mine. And even then, a spark needs fuel to start an explosion.
What was the fuel? Best official guess, methane gas, allowed to reach dangerous levels in a sealed-off part of the mine. And, oh, the seals in the closed-off part failed.
Any great tragedy is closely followed by legislation; and there was some, including a bill passed by the Congress to make coal mining safer. But federal regulators said they would not recommend changing many of the relevant rules on mine safety until after they issue their own report next spring.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, out of 13 miners originally trapped, only one survived. Sago was the deadliest mining disaster in 2006. It led to a new push for better safety measures for miners. Remember that? Congress passed a law filled with new protections, protections that, well frankly, aren't being used. The question is why not and who is responsible. We're keeping them honest, next on 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The miracle is we had men and women who had the knowledge and wisdom to be able to drill through that mountain and find our men and be able to bring them home. That's a miracle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that miracle tragically turned out to be a mistake. Out of the 13 miners who were originally down in that mine, only one survived. A miscommunication that added immeasurable pain to an already tragic day.
The explosion at the Sago Mine a year ago today was really just the beginning of an extraordinarily deadly year for coal miners. Forty-seven were killed, more than twice as many as in 2005. And it was a 10-year high.
In the wake of the Sago disaster, Congress passed new safety measures. The trouble is, few have actually taken effect. We were at Sago the night the trapped miners were found. And a year later, we wanted to know why so little is being done to prevent another tragedy.
CNN's Randi Kaye, tonight, keeping them honest.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six months after 12 miners suffocated to death deep in the Sago Mine, we were told this.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to sign into law the most sweeping overhaul of federal mine safety law in nearly three decades.
KAYE: But what has really changed since Sago? Last year, 47 coal miners died -- twice as many as the year before. Have improvements outlined in the Miner Act of 2006 made mines safer?
DENNIS O'DELL, UNITED MINE WORKERS: We haven't moved any closer to giving better technology to miners, to give them better protection for their health and safety. And what we have, it's just appalling when you stop and think about it.
KAYE: United Mine Workers Dennis O'Dell says today, thousands of miners are still using the same self-rescue air packs he did back in 1977. Many, at Sago didn't even work. The new Miner Act requires improved air packs with an extra hour of oxygen. So why haven't they been delivered yet? And why do federal mine regulators accept this?
O'DELL: What operators are doing is they're showing a slip to the agency saying here is a purchase order. And the agency is looking at the purchase order and they're considering that to be in compliance with the Miner Act, when in reality, it is nothing more than a piece of paper.
KAYE: The new act also requires wireless tracking systems within three years so rescuers can find trapped miners underground.
Inside Sago, miners had no way to contact rescuers. But mine owners say tracking systems are not easy to install.
BRUCE WATZMAN, NATIONAL MINING ASSOCIATION: I think people expected too much in terms of how quickly we could get new technology underground to increase the chances of survivability for miners in the event of an emergency.
KAYE: And remember the so-called safe room the Sago miners used to seal themselves off after the explosion? The Miner Act also recommends more rescue chambers like that one. Mine operators have asked the government to study the idea first.
WATZMAN: You have to make sure that they are designed properly in the event that there is a secondary explosion.
KAYE (on camera): And, after all this time, where are the newly required two-man rescue crews that are supposed to be able to respond within an hour? Watzman says don't expect those until 2008. And the new mine safety inspectors, why are they getting just eight months training if safety is to be improved, instead of the usual 18 months?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They haven't even received the instructions on ventilation. KAYE: No one from the Federal Mining Safety and Health Administration, which enforces mining regulations, was available for comment.
U.S. mines produced a record amount of coal in 2006, as prices on world markets rose. Former officials say that as pressure grows to get the black stuff out of the ground, years of neglect continue to endanger the lives of miners.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, hard to believe it has an entire year.
A big win at a football game ends with a big surprise. What one college running back did on live national television. It is our shot of the day, when 360 continues.
COOPER: Coming up, a college football shocker. A gutsy move by one player after he scored the winning point. We'll explain. It's our shot of the day.
But first, Randi Kaye joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Randi.
KAYE: Hi Anderson. The search continues tonight for a plane that disappeared over central Indonesia Monday. Despite earlier reports, the wreckage had been found along with survivors. One hundred two people, including three Americans, were on the flight when it went down in stormy weather. The NTSB says it is sending a team to Indonesia to help with the investigation.
In New Orleans, a big show of support for the seven police officers indicted in the shooting deaths of two men in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. About 250 fellow police officers turned out as the men surrendered to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Department today. Four of them face first-degree murder charges, three are charged with attempted murder. An autopsy found that one of the victims who was mentally ill was shot in the back.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts have voted to allow a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Massachusetts is the only state where gay marriage is legal. The proposal still needs the approval of the next legislative session before it can appear on the 2008 ballot.
And in the new year, Starbucks is looking out for your health. Beginning tomorrow, the coffee retailer will sell food items with zero trans fats in 10 U.S. cities. That's about half its locations. Starbucks says total compliance by all its company-owned stores is still years away.
And Anderson, I'll tell you, if they can get all that trans fat out of those mocha frappuccinos, I will be impressed. COOPER: Well, we'll see, Randi. Thanks.
Time now for the shot of the day. Check this out. It is also the play of the day, maybe the play of a lifetime. It happened at the Fiesta Bowl. If you don't recognize the play, that's because it was run -- I don't know, I'm told back in the late 14th century, or maybe in your backyard when you were a kid -- the old Statue of Liberty play. Sophomore Running Back Ian Johnson of Boise State fooled them all, scoring the winning points. And then look, he gets down on his knees and proposes to his girlfriend. And she says yes. His girlfriend's name is Chrissy. He popped the question right there on television. They call that, I think, the extra point.
Ah, there you go.
And the happy couple will talk about the wedding proposal tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern time.
And finally tonight, I want to tell you about a way you can be a part of 360, a way to help us in what we consider one of our missions, keeping them honest. If there is a wrong that needs to be righted in your community, go online and tell us about it. Logon to CNN.com/360.
"LARRY KING" is coming up next with more on the funeral of former President Gerald Ford.
See you tomorrow.
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