Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Bush Bill Victory; Dire Warning; Katrina Heartbreak; Faith and Politics; Christian Law School; Immigrants Welcome; Running Mates
Aired May 24, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That means sending him something that does not have a plan for troops to come home.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: And Dana, as all that played out, 435 potential votes in the House, 100 in the Senate. And yet this evening everybody was looking to see how two members of the Senate voted. Two Senators who happen to be running for president. Tell us about that.
BASH: That's right. Two Senators named Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It was really high drama because both of these Senators have made two promises -- one, that they would continue to fund the war, but also that they would do whatever possible to try to bring troops home from Iraq.
And these are two promises that were conflicting with this vote. They had to pick one and break another.
And what was most dramatic about it is that they wouldn't tell us how they would vote until the very, very end. In fact, they were among the last to vote. In the end, they both voted no.
And that is exactly, John, the way that staunchly anti-war Democratic primary voters wanted them to vote. They want to do whatever it takes to end the war and they want their candidates to do that, as well.
It was most interesting to see Hillary Clinton vote that way, John, because she has had the hardest time to try to convince these voters that she is sufficiently anti-war, if you will. She told our congressional producer minutes after the vote that she said it was a tough vote for her, but she also said quote, "enough is enough." She said at some point you have to draw the line -- John.
KING: Dana Bash, for us tonight on Capitol Hill. And those votes sure to play out on the campaign trail beginning tomorrow.
Dana, thank you very much.
KING: And even before the vote tonight, President Bush was taking what you might call a victory lap.
The question, though, remains, what kind of victory it was, given that the president also had a grim warning today about how bad things may get in Iraq before they get better.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KING (voice-over): Political wins are hard to come by these days. So, the president couldn't resist noting the Democrats had to back down in the Iraq war funding fight.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We removed the arbitrary timetables for withdrawal and the restrictions on our military commanders that some in Congress have supported.
KING: But his victory is likely to be short-lived.
One deadline still on the books is a September report from the president's top general in Iraq. And the expectation is, insurgents and terror groups there will do their best to sour that assessment.
BUSH: And so, yes, it could be a bloody -- it could be a very difficult August.
KING: On top of that, the administration's troop surge isn't even completed yet, but, already, there's talk of adjusting the strategy.
BUSH: You know, I would like to see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq.
KING: By that, Mr. Bush means less direct U.S. involvement in the sectarian violence in and around Baghdad, something the Iraq Study Group and other outside experts have long recommended.
RICHARD HAASS, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: A lower- level U.S. presence, essentially out of Baghdad, out of the day-to-day of the civil war, focusing mostly on training up Iraqis to give them the chance, if they're prepared to take it, to begin to move their country in a more normal direction.
KING: At his Rose Garden news conference, Mr. Bush bristled when asked to respond to critics who say his choice to wage war in Iraq has increased Iran's standing in the region, and proven a recruiting bonanza for al Qaeda and other extremist groups.
BUSH: Oh, so in other words, the option would have been just to let Saddam Hussein stay there?
KING: The president again repeatedly framed Iraq as critical to the broader war on terror. Between his Wednesday commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy and this news conference, Mr. Bush mentioned Osama bin Laden 14 times, and al Qaeda at least 60 times.
BUSH: Failure in Iraq will cause generations to suffer, in my judgment. Al Qaeda will be emboldened.
KING: Yet, despite of his view of the stakes, Mr. Bush said the United States would pack up and leave if the Iraqi government wanted the troops out.
BUSH: I would hope that they would recognize that the results would be catastrophic. But this is a sovereign nation, Martha. We are there at their request.
KING (voice-over): Now pork. Those little and sometimes not so little tidbits buried in larger spending bills that lawmakers set aside to keep the lobbyists and the folks back home happy.
Some of the items, or earmarks, show up without the name of the Senator or Congressman who put them there. Tonight, the House passed a bill tightening restrictions on lobbying, but earmark reform is stuck. And so the pork just keeps coming.
CNN's Drew Griffin is keeping them honest.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're on a treasure hunt, looking for your money. Let's start with 2 million bucks. Your tax dollars right here. Listen.
(on camera): This is the tiny airport in tiny and remote Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Pull up a chair, grab a magazine, a newspaper, because it's going to take a while to show you how your federal tax dollars were spent here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a pretty slow day today so. If we'd known you were coming, I'm sure we'd have been busier.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): We'll get back to how Congress spent your money in Rice Lake in a moment.
Meantime, here are more ways Congress has secretly spent your money.
Chances are you weren't a guest at the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, last summer. But taxpayers spent $96,000 to help renovate it.
Skiing more your style? You paid $250,000 last year to renovate a ski lift. In our treasure hunt it was tricky to find that one. The money came out of last year's massive transportation bill -- no mention of skiing. Instead...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the construction of the Alyeska Roundhouse in Girdwood, Alaska, $250,000.
GRIFFIN: In Congress, such treasure is called an earmark.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got no -- no name and oftentimes these earmarks are certainly a bit vague.
GRIFFIN: Annie Patnot (ph) watches Congress for a conservative economic watchdog group. She found two earmarks for the Alyeska Roundhouse, a total of $500,000 for the top of a ski lift.
Tim Phillips is president of the watchdog group. TIM PHILLIPS, AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: I mean, imagine this. You've got a blank credit card. That's the people's money. And you have the ability to spend that money in complete secrecy without ever having to be accountable for that. No wonder we're having abuses and waste and fraud and mismanagement. It's a recipe for it.
GRIFFIN: That recipe for pork was supposed to change this year. The new open Democratic party controlled Congress promised the earmark process would no longer be secret. All earmark requests would be made public with plenty of time for debate.
(on camera): But Dave Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and one of those Democrats bragging about the changes, has decided that earmarks, those generous gifts of your money, will be inserted into bills only after the bill has cleared the House floor. In other words, earmarks will still be done in secret. No public debate.
There was supposed to be some kind of change.
SENATOR TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: Well, they lied to the American public. It was a game.
GRIFFIN: Senator Coburn says it's the same over on the Senate side.
(voice-over): CNN obtained this e-mail written in February from the Senate Appropriations Committee asking Senators to submit all requests for earmarks by April 13th so the earmark request for this year, and there have been thousands in the past, have already been filed.
But not even other members of Congress can find out who asked for how much and for what.
COBURN: No, they are published. And they're not out there. I couldn't find them if I wanted to.
PHILLIPS: If you're a member of Congress and you're asking for tax dollars for a project, the least you can do is have the -- let's say the political courage, to put it up on your Web site in advance and to disclose it well before any vote takes place.
GRIFFIN: Sounds reasonable, but not to the Senator who gets final say on spending -- Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd. In an e-mail to CNN, the Senator's staff told us, allowing the public to actually see earmark requests in advance isn't a good idea. Apparently the public can't be trusted with that information.
"If all earmark requests are made public," the e-mail says, "this would almost certainly lead to an increase in requests, as members are pressured from home to compete for more projects."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
GRIFFIN: This behemoth of a bill is chock-full of one-line requests for your tax dollars.
We followed the clues back to where we started this treasure hunt.
(on camera): So this is the Rice Lake airport I asked you about?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure. Look for it on there.
GRIFFIN: And this is on page 1,384, and it's somewhere in this fine print, I'm taking it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look -- look for it.
GRIFFIN: That -- right down here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
GRIFFIN: So Rice Lake Regional Airport, Carl's Field, Wisconsin, various improvements, $2 million.
(voice-over): $2 million in federal funds without debate.
Back at Rice Lake, Wisconsin, we sat at the end of the runway and waited four hours. In all that time we counted one corporate jet, one twin engine plane and five single engine planes, a total of seven aircraft in four hours.
On a good day, we're told, 34 planes in and out, but no commercial flights. But this airport is vital for corporate executives who like to visit Rice Lake's manufacturing plants, but apparently don't like to stay the night.
JERRY STITES, AIRPORT MANAGER: Before we did the expansion on the runway, they couldn't land here. They had to drive an hour and a half to get to their plan because our airport wasn't large enough for that.
GRIFFIN: And which U.S. Congressman decided extending a runway for a few corporate jets was worth your money? Wisconsin Democrat David Obey, the very same person now in charge of appropriations and earmarks.
He said in a statement, Wisconsin doesn't get its fair share. "My only apology," he wrote, "is that I can't do more for Wisconsin."
In the next few months, in what Congressman Obey says is the most open earmark process ever, the bills will be drafted, the earmarks added. But only then, just before those bills are passed, will the public learn where the treasure is buried.
KING: And Drew Griffin joins us now live.
Drew, looks like a nice place to read the newspaper.
Chairman Obey has said this is the most honest and open earmark process ever. How is that so?
GRIFFIN (on camera): I guess, John, it depends on what you call open.
According to staffers, these earmarks are going to remain a secret all they way through the legislative process, except at the very end.
When those bills actually come out of conference committee and up for a vote, that's when the public can see what we're going to pay for.
Critics say that's way too late. As you know, John, the deal is already done by then. Any chance for analysis or debate, that's gone.
Well, Congressman Obey's office calls that full disclosure because they're going to actually take the step of telling us who asked for that pork.
KING: Well, Washington writes the laws and apparently rewrites the dictionary.
Drew Griffin for us tonight, keeping them honest.
And Drew, pack your books and newspapers, you're going to need them when the next budget passes.
And there's pork and there's red tape. In this case, it involves a program to help people rebuild from Hurricane Katrina.
The program is called, "The Road Home." People who've been down it say there's red tape at every turn.
Luckily, CNN's Susan Roesgen is keeping them honest.
ANTOINETTE PAGE, KATRINA VICTIM: And that's the bedroom, bathroom. This is the hall that we is in.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An empty lot is all that's left of Antoinette Page's New Orleans' home after Hurricane Katrina. But she's still paying the mortgage on this invisible house and getting deeper in debt.
Insurance paid just $2,400 and Page has been waiting almost a year to get help from a federally funded program called "The Road Home."
PAGE: And this is unbelievable. I never thought the day would come that this would happen to citizens in Louisiana and I know it's just not me. A lot of people I have spoken to are going through the same thing.
ROESGEN: She's one of nearly 140,000 people in Louisiana who have applied for "Road Home" assistance, and only 20,000 of those have actually gotten money.
And the private company hired by the state to run the program, ICF International, which also runs several other programs, just gave its top people big bonuses.
ICF's Chief Financial Officer Alan Stewart got a bonus of $650,000; Chief Operating Officer John Wasson (ph) got a bonus of $1 million; and ICF Chairman Sudhaka Kesavim (ph) got $1.7 million because ICF did pretty well last year.
(on camera): The company says those bonuses have nothing to do with the success or failure of "The Road Home" program. But still, the fat paychecks are galling to people like Antoinette Page, who doesn't have a dime to pay off the mortgage on her empty lot.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The check is a compensation check to homeowners with X amount of damage.
ROESGEN (voice-over): Now, the outcry from homeowners is loud enough to be heard all the way to Washington.
Senator Mary Landrieu is leading a Senate investigation into what's gone wrong with "The Road Home" program. The feds set aside $8 billion to fix houses like these, but ICF has given out just $1 billion. The rest of the money sits in a state account while house after house sits abandoned. And now ICF is already projecting a $3 billion shortage.
ICF International Senior Vice President Isabel Reiff defended the company at the Senate hearing.
ISABEL REIFF, ICF INTERNATIONAL: We are very concerned about the quality of our customer service and we continuously work to improve it.
ROESGEN: Reiff told the hearing that her company didn't get "The Road Home" contract until last June and didn't start processing applications until August, a full year after the hurricane, when thousands of people were already waiting in line.
The company promises to give money to 90,000 applicants by the end of this year.
But Antoinette Page was promised her money black in February and still hasn't got it. For her and thousands of others, "The Road Home" has been a road to nowhere.
Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.
KING: Stunning and depressing.
Up next, faith and politics collide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING (voice-over): She was grilled on Capitol Hill about the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, and her Christian education.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there a lot of an inordinate number of people from Regent University Law School that were hired by the Department of Justice while you were there?
MONICA GOODLING, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WHITE HOUSE LIAISON: I think we have a lot more people from Harvard and Yale.
KING: Pat Robertson's Regent University under fire. Many are asking, why are so many of its alumni working for the Bush administration? Are they even qualified?
Also, one of the running mates.
ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: I'm a little bit more defensive, I think, than Mitt might be and I -- I just get, like, you know, come on. This is -- he's a great guy. Let's just get past this.
KING: Ann Romney, on her family's Mormon faith. Plus, her views on politics and her fight against an often debilitating disease, ahead on 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... grand political theater.
I -- if Attorney General Gonzales has testified, his documents -- and I would hope the Senate and the Congress would move expeditiously to finish their hearings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING (on camera): That was President Bush today defending U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and urging Congress to wrap up its investigation into the firing of eight U.S. prosecutors.
Mr. Bush once again reaffirmed his support for Gonzales, who testified before Congress last month.
Meantime, Senate Democrats say they'll go ahead with plans to hold a no confidence vote on Gonzales next month. All of this, a day after a former top aide to Gonzales appeared before the same committee and contradicted some of her boss's testimony.
Until yesterday, that aide, Monica Goodling, was somewhat of a mystery. Now she and the so-called fourth tier law school she attended are adding fuel to this political fire.
Here's Joe Johns.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It' a stunning embarrassment to the Justice Department. One of their own lawyers in the humiliating position of taking the Fifth Amendment, getting immunity from prosecution and then fessing up under oath, no less, to admitting she crossed the line on government hiring laws by letting politics influence who got hired as federal prosecutors.
And the biggest shocker of all, Monica Goodling was one of the gatekeepers helping decide who gets to practice law there in the first place.
BRUCE FEIN, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: We're hiring on merit, where the only qualifications you're examining are pure ability to understand and master the law and articulate the theories needed to win in court.
Someone of that background is quite an alarming proposition.
JOHNS: Why is it so alarming? Because the Justice Department has always attracted some of the finest lawyers in the country.
The current chief justice of the Supreme Court and his two predecessors all worked at the Justice Department at one time during their careers.
Bruce Fein, who worked here in the Reagan administration, was one of the people who got to vet new hires. He thinks Goodling didn't have the credentials to pass judgment.
FEIN: She was a novice, at best. And I don't want to be disparaging or arrogant, but she did not come from a top flight law school with a top flight judicial clerkship. She came from politics, the Republican National Committee.
Now that isn't automatically disqualifying, but you want these people making the hiring decision for merit appointments?
JOHNS: Much has been made of Goodling's law school. Some say too much.
Regent University, a Christian school founded by Televangelist Pat Robertson.
Listen to this question she got at the hearing.
REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: The mission of the law school you attended, Regent, is to bring -- to bear upon legal education and the legal profession the will of Almighty God, our creator. What is the will of Almighty God, our creator, on the legal profession?
MONICA GOODLING, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WHITE HOUSE LIAISON: I'm not sure that I could define that question for you.
JOHNS: For the record, Goodling graduated with honors from Regent and did pass the bar exam on the first try.
And it's hard to make the case that there's anything wrong with coming from a school rooted in religious values.
REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: I would assume you're not terribly concerned about the tendency of a conservative president to hire graduates from conservative graduate schools...
GOODLING: Not at all.
PENCE: ... in this country?
JOHNS: So the issue really is Goodling's sense of legal ethics, which every accredited law school, including Regent, drills into students. Plus, anything else Goodling brought to the table.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She did not come with a background where she clerked for the United States Supreme Court. She was on law review at a prestigious law school or otherwise. It was a very pedestrian legal background.
How would she know whether someone she was interviewing had those legal skills that enabled them to perform proficiently at the department?
JOHNS: On the other hand, Goodling came to the Justice Department from the Republican National Committee, which until she resigned, was apparently good enough for somebody.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: So the issue of legal pedigrees now clearly part of this firestorm. To say that Regent University isn't in the same academic league as Harvard or Yale is well, putting it mildly. It's not even close.
For more on that, we turn to our Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Full disclosure -- a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was editor of "The Law Review."
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: An editor, not the editor.
KING: An editor. OK. Glad to make that clear. Make that clear. Be very specific. Full disclosure.
TOOBIN: Full disclosure.
KING: Let's begin by listening to something that came up during Monica Goodling's testimony yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it -- is it a fact -- are you aware of the fact that in your graduating class, 50 percent to 60 percent of the students failed the bar the first time? GOODLING: I'm not -- I don't remember the statistic, but I know it wasn't good. I was happy I passed the first time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: She passed the first time. Is this a silly debate? Is this an elitist debate, saying if you didn't go to Harvard or Yale, you shouldn't be at the Justice Department? Or is that a fair point?
TOOBIN: Well, it's not a fair point to say only Harvard or Yale. It is a fair point to say that Regent is a very unusual law school in that it's explicitly politically conservative in a way that law schools had never been until about 10 years ago.
You know, there are lots of conservative law students at Harvard and Yale and every other school in America. There is something called the Federalist Society, which is a distinguished group of conservative lawyers and scholars and practitioners at all these law schools. So it's not like there's any shortage of conservative lawyers.
What's different about Regent is that it's entirely conservative and that's something different.
KING: And let's go beyond just where she went to school to her bigger, larger resume.
How unusual is it, from your experience, for somebody with her limited experience? She didn't clerk for a big judge. She didn't have any prior experience as a prosecutor. She was involved mostly in politics beforehand and then she finds herself in a highly sensitive position at the Justice Department.
How rare is that, that she didn't have prior experience?
TOOBIN: Very rare. I mean, the people in those sorts of jobs, the people around the attorney general on his or her immediate staff tend to be people with very good academic backgrounds, with prestigious appellate court clerkships. And, you know, in conservative administrations before this one, they tended to have those qualifications, as well.
It's not like there aren't plenty of conservative judges out there that you can have clerkships for.
What's unusual about Goodling and several people in the Bush -- in this Bush administration is that their -- their qualifications are all in that conservative world.
KING: Well, you used the term extreme to describe how the administration does this, saying, of course, they're hiring conservatives, they're a conservative administration, a conservative president.
What do you mean by extreme? TOOBIN: Well, Regent is extreme. Ave Maria, another law school founded in this realm, is unusual. And the number of people, particularly from Regent is just -- is just disproportionate to what you would expect their influence to be in an administration that hires mostly on merit, even -- a conservative administration. They have every right to hire people in political appointees, not career jobs, but in political appointments, people who are ideologically in sync with them. But they should also have excellent qualifications. And I don't think Monica Goodling did.
KING: I want to read you something from the Regent Web site and ask you to comment on it. Let's take a look at it right here. It says, Regent University credits God for our great accomplishments and for providing the necessary leadership, direction and resources to fulfill our unique mission, Christian leadership to change the world.
In the last eight years at least four conservative Christian law schools have sprung up around the country with similar mission statements. Does that trouble you?
TOOBIN: Well, I don't know. It doesn't trouble me. I mean, people can study law any way they want and they certainly can be religious in any way they want.
The question is, are they getting the kind of legal education that allows them to function in a pluralistic society where the judges you appear in front of may not share your views, the other lawyers you're on the same side with or opposite side -- I mean, being a lawyer is a skill. It's not just ideological orientation. There are a lot of skills you have to learn.
And what I think those law schools have yet to prove, as their terrible bar passage rate suggests, is whether they're training people to be real lawyers, as well as political and religious activists.
KING: Suspect the debate about her degree and the school she attended will continue.
Jeff Toobin, thanks for joining us tonight.
For more on Regent University, let's check the raw data.
We were surprised to learn the average age of a student there is 35. The school says most of the students are there to further their career or to change professions. Regent has an endowment of more than $267 million and has a campus in South Korea.
Just ahead, the discovery of a new island found because the arctic is melting.
Anderson will join us for another look at our planet in peril.
Plus, she's Mitt Romney's biggest supporter. But what she's done with her money could undermine his chances of winning the Republican presidential primary. Our special series, "Running Mates," when 360 continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: As we mentioned earlier, the war funding bill passed today in the House and the Senate. For the White House, a victory. For the Democrats, a defeat. And for the presidential candidates, plenty of material to work with.
CNN's Tom Foreman has it all in tonight's "Raw Politics."
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton's campaign was supposed to sail into the Democratic nomination, like a great ocean liner. But it has sprung a leak, and she's not happy about it.
(voice-over): Iowa is the issue. A memo was leaked from a campaign manager suggesting Clinton should bail out of the Hawkeye State, where she is struggling a bit in the polls, and refocus on New Hampshire. The candidate says, no way. She will stay in Iowa until the cows come home, or something like that.
But the leak itself has political analysts sniffing for discontent in the Clinton camp.
When Republican candidate Ron Paul said in the last debate that decades of poor American policy in the Muslim world might be a cause of terrorism, Rudy Giuliani called it absurd to blame us, the victims. Now Ron is calling Rudy out with a list of books he says support his call for a new Middle East policy.
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Giving Mr. Giuliani a -- a reading assignment.
FOREMAN: Rudy's response? That's absurd, too.
Serious business about seat belts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT)
GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: I'm New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and I should be dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: The unbuckled leader nearly died in a wreck last month. Now he's in a commercial for public safety.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT)
CORZINE: I have to live with my mistake. You don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Listen to him, kids. Buckle up. And the "Law & Order" watch goes on. Fred Thompson makes another big speech to some Republicans tonight. Insiders say he's lining up all the right folks for a presidential bid. He will even appear on HBO playing President Ulysses Grant, who, by the way, really liked swimming. No kidding.
(on camera): But, for all of that, Thompson is still at the edge of the pool, not jumping in. So, we will ask the "Raw Politics" eight ball, will he run?
To be continued.
KING: You're going to have to wait a bit on Senator Thompson.
Up next, our warming world. Yet a chilling reality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): In the Arctic north, melting ice. A new island is discovered due to global warming. Anderson reports from Greenland on our "Planet in Peril."
Also, Immigrants wanted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this immigration bill goes through, we are doomed.
KING: A mayor's fight to save his city. Buildings need to be built, farmers need help. When 360 continues.
KING: Check this out. A breathtaking Arctic sunrise over Jeff Corwin's location on one side of Greenland. We'll be checking in with Jeff in just a moment.
(on camera): Anderson is on the other side, the latest stop in our "Planet in Peril" series.
We began in the rain forest of Brazil. Our next stop, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. Then it was on to Alaska. And now, to the top of the world -- Greenland, where we're finding dramatic signs of global warming.
Anderson is on the east coast of the ice sheet, at Constable Point. We talked a bit earlier by satellite phone.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on the phone): And John, yes, we're on Constable Point, which is on the east coast of Greenland. Jeff is much farther west than we are.
A lot of what he said is the same situation here. I mean, Greenland is a prime example, probably the best place to come, to really see the real impact of global warming so far. The average temperatures in Greenland have risen 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 30 years. That's more than double the global average. The ice sheet here is melting much faster, Jeff said, than anyone thought.
It's really caught a lot of scientists by surprise. The models they had to predict about what's going to happen to sea levels in the coming years, in the coming decades. It may not be that accurate. They're still trying to figure out exactly what may happen down the road.
But any melting of this icecap, any melting of the ice sheet here, which covers some 82 percent of Greenland, affects sea levels around the world, affects us all.
As Jeff said, already ice thickness in some place has decreased by as much as 40 percent in the last 40 years -- in the last 30 years, an area the size of Texas and a half has already melted.
And here, what's most fascinating about Greenland is that the map of Greenland is constantly changing. Literally, the maps are having to be redrawn as we speak.
We're in Constable Point on the east coast, with an explorer named Dennis Schmidt, who about two years ago, discovered an island right off the coast of Greenland which hadn't existed the year before when he had been here.
It previously had been thought to be a peninsula. It was attached to the mainland by a glacier, by a sheet of ice. It had been thought that it was actually part of Greenland. But because of the melting, the glacier has melted away. And now you can see it's a distinct island off the coast of Greenland. It's now called Warming Island.
But those maps are constantly being redrawn because as the ice melts, more land is being exposed. And the geography of this huge island is constantly changing -- John.
KING: Over now to the opposite side of Greenland. Researchers are collecting more evidence of global warming and that's where we go now, to Swisscamp, a research station where Wildlife Biologist Jeff Corwin is standing by in the frigid cold
JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST: And -- and you're absolutely right about that, John. It is so cold my lips have stopped working.
This is a most remarkable place. We're here 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. We're almost at the top of the world. And basically, the landscape takes on a meniscus-like shape. You can actually see the roundness of the horizon. But what's really remarkable about where we are now, is this is the first live broadcast ever from Swisscamp, probably the first live broadcast ever from the ice sheet on Greenland. And I can tell you why, because it's bloody cold. It's about minus 15 degrees Celsius and the wind is pushing at about 18 miles, 20 miles an hour.
But I tell you, it's incredibly well worth it because the research that they're exploring here, the discoveries they're making here, could very well help us understand how our planet is changing, especially when it comes to the climate.
KING: And Jeff, tell us specifically what kind of data they've collected. They've been there about 17 years now at that camp. Is that right?
CORWIN: Nearly two decades they've been conducting fascinating research experiments and investigations into both climate and the melting of the ice that makes up this ice sheet.
What you have to remember is that nearly 700,000 square miles of Greenland's 840,000 square miles of terra firma is made up of ice, 10 percent of the world's fresh water is locked up in this ice and now this ice is starting to melt to a tune of about 100 million tons -- 100 billion tons -- 100 billion tons every year. And that's been happening only for about a decade.
But they're doing all sorts of stuff. Basically, it's a great concept of research that connects everything from NASA, University of Colorado, all these various organizations coming together to study this place. They're looking at basically ice earthquakes, as this ice shifts and shakes and basically as it melts, it's actually being lubricated and sliding faster.
All sorts of fascinating stuff, but ultimately the results are devastating. It means our planet is changing and the ice up here in Greenland is melting.
KING: Fascinating and disturbing. Jeff Corwin, get out of the cold tonight and get warm. We look forward to checking back in with you and Anderson and hearing more about this in the days ahead. Thank you. Stay safe.
And coming up, a sign of the presidential campaign. Some of the candidates we'd like you to see more of -- their spouses. We'll profile another running mate just ahead.
Plus, a twist in the fight over illegal immigration. One Republican's battle -- not against illegals, but for them, 360 next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: You know, welcoming people here who want to work and realize the American dream renews our spirit and soul. It's been the case throughout generations. And we have an opportunity to put a good law in place now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: President Bush today sounding optimistic about that sweeping immigration bill now being debated on Capitol Hill.
At stake, the fate of an estimated 12 million people in this country illegally. To some the battle is simple. The sides clear cut.
Well, tonight we have a surprise for them.
CNN's Thelma Gutierrez has that story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this immigration bill goes through, we are doomed.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ed Murray listens to Rush Limbaugh every single day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are treating the illegals as though we are doing something wrong, as though...
GUTIERREZ: Murray is the Republican mayor of Lindsay, California.
MAYOR ED MURRAY, LINDSAY, CALIFORNIA: I'm a member of the NRA. I'm definitely very conservative.
GUTIERREZ: But Murray says he and Rush part ways on one big issue -- Immigration.
Lindsay is a rural farming community three hours north of L.A. A national group voted it an all-American city.
That doesn't sit well with some people because 80 percent of the people here are Latino. Some here legally, some here illegally.
(on camera): Unlike most of his fellow conservatives, Mayor Murray will tell you immigrants are welcome here.
MURRAY: They have made Lindsay's economy. They have made the economy that we have. They have made our city to be a robust city.
GUTIERREZ (voice-over): That's because Lindsay's economy is all about agriculture, mostly oranges and olives.
The mayor and growers say immigrant laborers are the city's lifeblood. MURRAY: We do need a large workforce, be it illegal or legal, that's irrelevant. We need a large workforce.
GUTIERREZ: Some say that's just breaking the law.
JOHN KEELEY, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: If the only way you can exist is on the backs of illegal labor, you don't deserve to do business in our country.
GUTIERREZ: John Keeley is with a Washington think tank. He says growers would attract Americans if they just paid more.
KEELEY: I would say that they never tried to recruit native workers, precisely because U.S. immigration policy has delivered a labor subsidy.
MURRAY: Someone in the city that never sees a tree hardly, they don't know what's going on here. You know, they don't know the issues we're facing.
GUTIERREZ: The mayor says ads like this, offering jobs with health and retirement plans, have brought no permanent takers.
The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) packing house flew in workers from Thailand two years ago, an experiment that failed.
MURRAY: Their performance was so abysmal that we canceled the whole program.
GUTIERREZ: Then came the devastating winter freeze this year that wiped out more than $400 million in orange crops in Taleri (ph) County alone.
(on camera): After the winter freeze, the city leaders worried the farm workers would leave the town of Lindsay, so they came up with city jobs to keep them employed through the next harvest.
(voice-over): Repairing alleys, building the new football field, and maintaining public land.
Albert Salaz is an orange picker who was able to stay, thanks to the extra work.
ALBERT SALAZ, FIELD WORKER (through translator): I wouldn't be able to pay my rent or bills so I would have to leave.
GUTIERREZ: Murray says state money pays for his public works program and immigration enforcement is up to the federal government.
Some of the people who work on your public works project may be illegal.
MURRAY: It's possible. When a person comes across and has the proper documentation, is it our responsibility to go back and say is this a legal card or not a legal card?
GUTIERREZ: Is it not your responsibility?
MURRAY: No, it's not.
GUTIERREZ: Murray says America's immigration policy is broken because it makes it hard for people to put in a good day's work.
MURRAY: These people don't want a free handout. They want to work. They want to get ahead.
GUTIERREZ: The mayor says hard work is a core conservative value he believes in, even if it takes him down a different road from his beloved party.
Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Lindsay, California.
KING: Up next, he calls her his sweetheart, but he'd like you to call her the first lady one day. Ann Romney. Hear what he says about her, what she says about him, and her hopes for the country.
Plus, a river of fire right here in America. Stunning images, when 360 continues.
KING: He wants to be president. His wife, the first lady. Tonight, our look at the wives of the presidential candidates continues, with a profile of Ann Romney, a woman who was met with both praise and a little controversy.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With the fine people of Michigan in front of me and with my sweetheart at my side, I declare my intention to run for president of the United States.
KING (voice-over): He calls her his sweetheart, but those who follow Romney's career and campaign, say Ann Romney is a political partner and asset.
SCOTT HELMAN, BOSTON GLOBE REPORTER: It's rare to see him at a big public event without her at his side. So she's clearly -- she is a major part of this campaign.
KING: Their romance began 40 years ago when they were high school sweethearts. Mitt Romney was a devout Mormon. Ann wasn't, but she converted to Mormonism while her then fiance was doing his missionary work in France. And she's adamant that their faith should never have become a political issue.
ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: I'm a little bit more defensive, I think, than Mitt might be. And I -- I just get like, you know, come on. This is -- he's a great guy. Let's just get past this.
KING: In 1988, Ann received some devastating news. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
A. ROMNEY: When I was first diagnosed -- and I'm not sure if it was the MS speaking or just the diagnosis speaking. I think more the diagnosis. I was extremely depressed and he really helped me get over that.
KING: Ann says facing that potentially debilitating disease hasn't altered her belief that creating new stem cell lines for research is wrong.
A. ROMNEY: If there is a cure for the disease, I hope that it comes through the alternative methods of stem cell research, not creating new life to experiment on that new life.
KING: That matches her husband's agenda, but other actions by Mrs. Romney are a source of campaign controversy.
In 1994, for example, she donated money to the decidedly pro- choice Planned Parenthood. Something cited now by social conservatives who are suspicious of candidate Romney's conservative conversion on abortion and other issues.
HELMAN: Most of the world ought to know that Mitt Romney has long been a supporter of abortion rights and only a few years ago changed to what he calls a firmly pro-life position.
KING: Before the campaign, Ann Romney spent much of her time working for charities. And in her one and only term as first lady of Massachusetts, she supported her husband's faith-based initiatives.
She openly admits she doesn't always agree with her husband's politics, though she hasn't said much about those disagreements.
The 56-year-old grandmother of 10 prefers to help her husband go after the Democrats.
A. ROMNEY: This is a great country with great people. It's been, to me, just an extraordinary experience. I've loved it. I love getting out and meeting the people. I loved that about being first lady of Massachusetts, as well. To see all the different communities, what people are dealing with, what their lives are like, what we can do to make their lives better. And I have such confidence in my husband that he would make an outstanding president.
KING (on camera): Coming up, it's a Web site that works wonders. And after you hear about it, you'll want to check it out. Those behind it are our CNN heroes, just ahead.
And they may look like special effects, but these volcano pictures are real. And they're from an eruption right here in the United States. The story, 360 next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We come across a lot of pretty amazing stories at 360. Tonight, we want to share one with you. It's about a couple who are changing the world with just a few dollars to work with. They are CNN heroes. And here's why.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm good. Are you good?
JESSICA FLANNERY, CO-FOUNDER, KIVA.ORG: My name is Jessica Flannery. I'm a co-founder of Kiva.org.
MATT FLANNERY, CO-FOUNDER, KIVA.ORG: I'm Matt Flannery, co- founder and CEO of Kiva.org.
J. FLANNERY: We connect people through lending for poverty alleviation.
M. FLANNERY: By facilitating loans from people in a developed world to those in a developing world.
Matt & Jessica Flannery
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our site, anybody in the world can browse profiles of entrepreneurs and then lend directly to those entrepreneurs.
M. FLANNERY: And get paid back over time.
Worldwide, more than 1 billion people currently live below the international poverty line...
Earning less than $1 per day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My mother started getting sick in 1989. We had to pay the rent. We had to eat. With my heart only I could not make it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had a savings account. It was sitting there, it wasn't doing anything. And then I saw this opportunity where I could do something useful with it, positive for other people.
The cool thing about Kiva is that it's not a donation. The money is actually yours. When the borrower is finished with their loan, you get it back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I took that loan I extended my business.
We eat from here. And we are able to pay the rent.
The way I was before is not the way I am today.
M. FLANNERY: I wasn't necessarily surprised intellectually by how $25 can really transform somebody's life in East Africa, but I was surprised in my heart.
Matt and Jessica's work has brokered more than $6.5 million to 9,000 businesses in 33 developing nations.
250 new Kiva lenders join daily
... and counting.
M. FLANNERY: People by nature are not selfish. And if you just give them an outlet for expressing their generosity, they will be generous.
J. FLANNERY: If someone out there is overwhelmed, thinking what can I do? I'm just one person. It's all you need to be. That's enough to get started.
KING: If you'd like to make a loan to Kiva or nominate someone you think deserves special recognition for a CNN hero award, you'll find all the details at CNN.com/heroes.
A remarkable story.
Time now for a 360 news bulletin with Erica Hill in Atlanta -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, the search continues south of Baghdad for two soldiers kidnapped more than a week and a half ago. Specialist Alex Jimenez and Private Byron Fouty were taken during an ambush that left four comrades dead. A third soldier, PFC Joseph Anzack, Jr., was also taken. His body was found at the Euphrates River and identified yesterday.
More atomic boasting from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying today his country's nuclear work is close to reaching its peak. Yesterday, U.N. monitors said Iran was flouting Western demands to stop refining uranium. Today, President Bush called for tougher sanctions on Iran.
The federal government says China needs to beef up safety measures when it comes to food exports. The Department of Health and Human Services, today, asking China to let U.S. safety inspectors into the country. They also want China to publish a registry of Chinese exporters to make tracking tainted food easier.
And take a look at this. Stunning video from the latest eruption of the Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's big island. Now the lava's actually been spewing for several days. The volcano, itself, has been erupting just about all the time for more than two decades now, John.
KING: Pretty amazing stuff. They sent Anderson to Greenland. Maybe they could send me to watch the volcano. What do you think?
HILL: I think that you would be getting a good assignment out of that. Do you need someone to carry the tapes?
KING: I would take it. Come along.
See you later.
KING: Erica Hill, thank you.
Now, don't miss today's headlines with a 360 daily podcast. And you don't need an iPod. You can catch it -- watch it on your computer at CNN.com/AC360podcast, or go to the iTunes store and download it there.
And a reminder, be sure to catch "AMERICAN MORNING" for the most news in the morning. That's tomorrow, beginning at 6 a.m, Eastern.
Thanks for joining us tonight.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com