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Grand Jury Indicts Democratic Congressman William Jefferson; God and Democrats; Republican Presidential Candidates Prepare For Debate

Aired June 4, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Tonight, everything moms and defense lawyers warn you about discussing in mixed company: God, politics, and hiding thousands of dollars of cash in the freezer. A congressman is indicted, and not just for the cold cash, racketeering, bribery, and money-laundering. It could land him in prison for the rest of his life.

We will have that story tonight.

Also ahead, God and Democrats: surprising answers from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards on what they pray over, also abortion, gay marriage, and religion's role in their lives.

And the battle on the border, the issue that's shaping up to be a battle among the Republican presidential candidates, one that may erupt into open warfare and tomorrow's CNN debate.

We begin tonight, though, with the historic charges against Congressman William Jefferson. It happened today. He's a Democrat from Louisiana, 16 of those charges, including corruption, fraud, obstruction of justice, and, for the first time, for any American official, bribing a foreign leader.

The alleged crime spanned two continents, and the sentence could -- could add up to more than two centuries. You probably remember, though, how all this began, with money in the freezer, tens of thousands of dollars worth.

CNN's Joe Johns now on where this all could lead.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like the game of "Clue," in the house, in the freezer, $90,000 hidden. Only, the bills were marked by the FBI in a sting. So, who was the suspect? Congressman Bill Jefferson.

From today's indictment, it sounds like being in Congress was the job Jefferson used to cover for how he really made money.

CHUCK ROSENBERG, U.S. ATTORNEY: Mr. Jefferson corruptly traded on his good office and on the Congress where he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives to enrich himself and his family through a pervasive pattern of fraud, bribery, and corruption. JOHNS: It sounds like a classic congressman on the take. He denies wrongdoing. By the way, for years, his nickname has been Dollar Bill.

Prosecutors say he solicited millions. If you tally up the stock, fees, retainers and other things of value they say he and his family's company's actually got, it adds up to between $400,000 and $500,000.

But Jefferson's lawyer says what the government did not allege is important.

ROBERT TROUT, ATTORNEY FOR CONGRESSMAN WILLIAM JEFFERSON: There's no suggestion that he promised anyone any appropriations. There were no earmarks. There were no government contracts.

JOHNS (on camera): Yes, but that's not all congressmen do. The government alleges that Jefferson performed a pattern of official acts, traveling to foreign countries, getting visas, writing letters to and meeting with foreign and U.S. officials, trying to get financing for business ventures, and not disclosing his family's business interests.

(voice-over): And where was all this stuff allegedly going on? Mostly West Africa. There were efforts to secure telecommunications deals in Nigeria and Ghana, oil concessions in Equatorial Guinea, satellite transmission contracts in Botswana and Republic of Congo.

You get the picture, big plans, big money, so big that this could be a case for the record books. Jefferson is the first congressman charged under a law that says Americans can't bribe foreign officials.

So, how did it work? One example starts in Louisville, where the feds say Jefferson accepted bribes from a telecommunications company looking to do business in Africa. So, in July of 2003, Jefferson travels to Nigeria, and ends up, the feds say, bargaining with the Nigerians for an estimated $1 million cut of a contract.

That deal falls through, but, back in Washington, the telecom company and Jefferson agree to try again. Jefferson promises to pay a Nigerian officials $100,000 from an investor who happens to be a cooperating witness for the FBI.

Prosecutors say Jefferson drove around with the money in his car for days before putting it in his freezer, where it was found minus 10 grand.

ROSENBERG: Mr. Jefferson secreted in his freezer at his Washington, D.C., residence $90,000 of the $100,000 in cash that the cooperating witness had given to him. The $90,000 was separated into $10,000 increments, wrapped in aluminum foil, and concealed inside various frozen food containers.

JOHNS: The great irony is that, while this guy was getting reelected, his party swept into control of Congress, running against a so-called culture of corruption among Republicans. TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT, JUDICIAL WATCH: Dollar Bill Jefferson had that nickname for a long time from his work in Louisiana politics. And my question for his colleagues on the Hill is, did they have any inkling that this sort of activity was going on?

JOHNS: Well, there was that incident right after Katrina when the National Guard was working 24/7 to save lives, when, suddenly, Jefferson got the Guard to escort him to his flooded home, so he could rescue some personal items. A lot of people at the time wondered, what could have been so valuable?

In the meantime, Jefferson's lawyer says he's innocent and has no plan to seek a plea deal.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, politics and alleged crime is raw material for a senior legal analyst who is in New Hampshire tonight covering tomorrow's presidential debate. In addition, as our regular viewers know, Jeffrey Toobin is a former federal prosecutor. He joins us from Manchester.

Jeffrey, good to see you.

How strong is...


COOPER: ... this case against Jefferson?

TOOBIN: You know, one of my favorite movies is "Prince" -- "Prince of the City." And one of the prosecutors in that movie says, we don't got you good. We got you beautiful.


TOOBIN: I think they got him beautiful.

I mean, this -- this is just an overwhelming case. And several of his colleagues in this scheme have already pleaded guilty and will testify. I don't know what the defense is going to be here.

COOPER: There's already two people who are going to jail.

TOOBIN: But it's going to have to be creative.


COOPER: There's already two people who work for him going to jail.

TOOBIN: And for a long time. The subordinate, I -- got, I think, eight years. So, I mean, Jefferson...

COOPER: The subordinate who says that he solicited bribes on behalf of the congressman.


TOOBIN: Right, who -- and Jefferson is charged with racketeering.

So, you know, usually, we would say, oh, well, you know, he's charged with crimes that could get him 200 years. He really could get 20 or 30 years in this crime. I mean, he is in -- looking at a disastrous legal situation.

COOPER: So, you think there's a high likelihood he will see jail time?

TOOBIN: Oh, I mean, if he's convicted, there's a 100 percent certainty he will see a lot of jail time.

COOPER: How important was this raid on his congressional office back in 2006? First of all, was it legal? And, if it's deemed that it wasn't, would the evidence -- whatever evidence was obtained in it, would that be dismissed?

TOOBIN: Well, that's -- that legal fight is still going on in the courts.

I mean, I -- I thought this was a great example of how out of touch members of Congress are, because a lot of members of Congress were very outraged that the FBI and the Justice Department would raid a member of Congress. They considered that a separation-of-powers problem.

This is a corruption problem. The government obviously -- the executive branch obviously had very good reason to raid his office. I mean, this is the definition of legitimate search.

And, so far, the executive branch has won all the legal fights about the search. And I expect they will continue to. And Congress will have no one on their side if they try to defend Jefferson in any way in this case.

COOPER: What I love about this -- what I love about this case is, you know, politicians like to talk about family values. This is a guy who certainly seemed to have family values, because he -- he got just about all his family members involved in this.

His -- I think his wife ran a company. He -- his brothers -- he had two brothers who he got involved in this. It really seemed to be a family affair, according to the charges.

TOOBIN: "Sopranos"-style, yes.


COOPER: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks.

Now, Democrats talking about vice and virtue tonight, prayer and politics.

Tonight, CNN gave the Democratic presidential candidates a chance to show voters where they stand on moral and political issues, as well as how their faith got them there. It's an appeal that experts say Democrats have to make, an issue they cannot avoid, especially to attract red-state voters.

Soledad O'Brien did the questioning tonight and filed this report.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are we our brother's keeper, our sister's keeper?

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Barack Obama, a chance to showcase his skill at weaving the spiritual and the political.

OBAMA: Faith can say, forgive someone who has treated us unjustly. Faith can say that, regardless of what's happened in the past, there's a brighter future ahead.

O'BRIEN: For Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, an opportunity to show that they, too, can speak the language of God.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a deep and abiding love for my lord, Jesus Christ.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Your -- your faith guides you every day. Certainly, mine does. But, at those moments in time when you're tested, it -- it is absolutely essential that you be grounded in your faith.

O'BRIEN: While Obama used his time to emphasize Christianity's demand for collective responsibility, Edwards and Clinton got more personal, talking about the role of religion in their own lives.

EDWARDS: ... Elizabeth and I lost our son, we were nonfunctional for some period of time. And it was the Lord that got me through that.

O'BRIEN: Clinton told the audience religion helped her deal with her husband's infidelity.

CLINTON: For me, because I have been tested in ways that are both publicly known and those that are not so well known or not known at all, my faith and the support of my extended faith family sustained me through a very difficult time.

But I -- I am very grateful that I had a grounding in faith that gave me the courage and the strength to do what I thought was right, regardless of what the world thought.

O'BRIEN: The three Democrats are highlighting their religious convictions at a time when more voters than ever seem ready to hear the message.

JOHN GREEN, PEW FORUM ON RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE: Most Americans are very comfortable with expressions of religion on the part of individual candidates. For many people, that's a shorthand for whether that person has good moral value.

O'BRIEN: All three candidates belong to mainline Protestant denominations, Obama to the United Church of Christ, Clinton and Edwards both United Methodists, though Edwards didn't mention that tonight, speaking instead of his upbringing as an evangelical Southern Baptist.

He admitted straying from his faith, only to return to it later in life, after his son Wade was killed in a car accident. Both he and Clinton say they now pray daily.

REVEREND SHARON WATKINS, CHRISTIAN CHURCH, DISCIPLES OF CHRIST: When you pray, how do you know if the voice that you are hearing is the voice of God or your own voice in disguise?


EDWARDS: The -- some would argue we sometimes have trouble telling the difference, right?

I can tell you that it is a part of my daily prayer to -- when I pray, to ask the Lord to give me the strength to see the difference between what I want to do and what he wants me to do, and to give me the strength to do his will, and not my will. And those things are in conflict on a regular basis in every human being on the planet.


O'BRIEN: All jokes aside, there's a lot at stake for the Democrats.

They have been criticized in the past for not embracing or talking about their faith. And that's been a problem. Voters want to hear from candidates, yes, about policy, yes, about their voting record, but also about who those candidates are, what they believe morally. Where do they stand?

As our host, the Reverend Jim Wallis of Sojourners said, it's a good start. The faith community wants to hear much more -- Anderson.

COOPER: It was a fascinating evening, Soledad, really well done. Thanks very much.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

COOPER: People may differ on -- on whether it's a good or a bad thing, but not on Ralph Reed's instrumental part in bringing faith into the political arena. He's a Republican strategist and a former executive director of the Christian Coalition.

Ralph, thanks for being with us. RALPH REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You bet, Anderson.

COOPER: I know you -- you watched this presidential forum by the Sojourners on faith and politics.

Who do you think did the best job of reaching out to voters who consider faith an important part of their lives?

REED: Well, I don't know that -- I don't know that I would score it as one doing better than the other.

I think that every one of them got a chance -- Obama, Edwards, and Senator Clinton got a chance to provide a narrative of their own faith journey, got an opportunity in front of a pretty friendly audience to speak about the connection between faith and values and public policy.

And I think, in that sense, it was -- everybody did well. My own take, though, is that, in the end, I think the Democrats, while I certainly applaud them for speaking eloquently about faith, I think, in a broad way, from 30,000 feet up, I think we all, as Americans, win when there's a transparency and a comfort level about our leaders talking about faith, because we are, after all, a nation in which 92 percent of the American people say they believe in God; 80 percent or more say they believe the Bible is the literal word of God.

We're a nation of very devout people. But I think, when we get down to the political tacks and nails, Anderson, next November of what this will mean at the ballot box, I'm not sure how much it will really mean.

COOPER: Why? Because the politics, the policies that these Democrats are backing, you're saying are not of enough appeal to conservative Christians?

REED: Yes, I would say, on an ideological level, I think that the problem is, you can't take the same tired, discredited liberal agenda of higher taxes, government-run health care, abortion on demand, cut-and-run in Iraq, retreat, rather than a forward strategy in the war on terrorism, and by putting a religious veneer on it, and maybe quoting some Scripture and having some -- some religious rhetoric, causing religious conservative voters to respond to that liberal agenda.

COOPER: But, wait. But, so, you don't -- you don't -- you don't...

REED: I don't -- I don't think they are going to do so.

COOPER: So, you clearly -- you don't even buy that there can be religious underpinnings to -- I mean, I -- I'm not sure that higher taxes or lower taxes is an issue that God weighs in on. But -- but you don't believe that there can be a religious underpinning to a different policy in Iraq, or a different policy on taxes, or a different policy on abortion rights?

REED: Oh, no, I didn't say that.

I'm -- I'm -- I'm not saying that people of good faith and goodwill, from their own faith and value system, can't come up with different answers on these questions. I mean, as Abraham Lincoln said in the second inaugural address -- and it's -- it's one of the cruel ironies of the human existence -- that we each pray to the same God, and invoke his assistance against each other.

So, sure, that was the case during the Civil War. It was the case, by the way, in the civil rights movement. Segregationists, pastors quoted Scripture, and so did Martin Luther King. So, I don't -- I don't mean to suggest that.

What I'm saying is probably a little bit of a different point. I'm not sure -- in fact, I'm quite confident that the roughly one out of every four voters who are religious and conservative are not going to respond to a liberal, big-government, abortion-on-demand agenda, regardless of how much somebody quotes Scripture or talks about their faith, because, in the end, what drives these voters -- and this is greatly misunderstood -- is not whether or not somebody worships God exactly the way they do or is a member of the same church they are.

What drives them is whether or not that person shares their values and their stands on the issues. If they don't share their values, and they don't share their stands on the issues, they won't vote for them.

COOPER: Just -- I should point out this Reverend Jim Wallis, the Sojourners founder, he said -- just to argue the opposite side of this point, he said -- quote -- "There won't be a two-issue religious agenda anymore, abortion and gay marriage. They are not the only issues that fire the passions of religious voters."

We will talk more about this, Ralph, down the road. Appreciate you being on the program tonight. Thank you very much.

REED: You bet. Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: A bit more now on the political dimension from GOP strategist Mike Murphy, and Arianna Huffington, editor in chief of They're both in New Hampshire for tomorrow's CNN Republican debate.

Arianna, what about that? Is there -- will this ignite the passion of religious voters to vote Democrat?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CO-FOUNDER, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: I think it should, because I completely disagree with Ralph Reed. After all, as Jim Wallis...

COOPER: That doesn't surprise me, by the way.


HUFFINGTON: As Jim Wallis regularly says, if you take the Bible and remove every reference in the Bible to poverty-fighting, you're going to have a very thin book, indeed.

There is nothing in the Bible about gay rights or abortion. It's all really about poverty-fighting and our responsibility to the least amongst us. That's what Jesus Christ said we are going to be judged by, by what we do for the least among us.

And I speak as a person of faith. And I was really delighted to see Democratic candidates addressing faith. And, really, as Jim Wallis says -- and that's really the whole purpose behind his call to renewal, putting the poverty agenda at the top of our domestic agenda, instead of allowing millions of people to live in poverty in the richest country in the world.

COOPER: Mike, there certainly are some -- some conservative Christians who are concerned about expanding the definition of what the religious agenda is, beyond just -- I mean, certainly Jerry Falwell was concerned before he died about expanding it beyond abortion rights and beyond, you know, the issues of gay marriage.


No, there's a very vibrant debate among people of faith and politics about all this. I think, sometimes, when we talk about religious people and evangelical voters, we -- we talk about two different groups -- the evangelical voters, excuse me, inside the larger rubric of -- of religious people in politics.

But -- but the fact is, if you take a poll, a scientific poll, the more frequently you go to church, that you really participate in some sort of organized religion, particularly, I would say, Christian conservatives, the more socially conservative you tend to be on policy issues when you're making a voting decision.

So, that's why I think the Christian right gets more attention on the Republican side than the Democrats, because, among those voters, who are a large group, motivated, as Ralph said earlier, they are interested in issues. And, on most of their issues, they tend to be more in line with the Republicans than the Democrats. It's just a matter of how they participate.

So, I think it's all a matter of how you define religious voters.

COOPER: I want to play something Hillary Clinton said during this Sojourners event tonight about -- about her faith.


CLINTON: I take my faith very seriously and very personally. And I come from a tradition that is perhaps a little too suspicious of people who wear their faith on their sleeves, so, that a lot of the...


CLINTON: ... a lot of the talk about and advertising about faith doesn't come naturally to me.


COOPER: Arianna, that was part of her answer responding to the question about infidelity, and how her faith played a role in how show dealt with her husband's infidelity.

Do -- do you buy her when she talks about faith and -- and the role of religion in her life? Do you think voters buy it?

HUFFINGTON: You know, there's no reason to doubt that faith was an incredibly -- played a very powerful role during the difficult times in her marriage and in her life, as it does during the difficult times of everybody.

I mean, John Edwards talked about going through the death of his son and the role that his faith played in that. I mean, that's a very natural, instinctive response.

Also, to counter what Mike said about people who go to church tending to vote Republican, you can be a very spiritual person, a very religious person, and not go to church. That's one of the things that we -- we need to be open to, that there are many ways to believe in God, and there isn't just one way that is the way to discuss it in politics.

The great sort of advance that tonight's forum demonstrated was that we can actually talk about moral values and religious values in terms of the minimum wage and poverty-fighting, and not just in terms of abortion and gay marriage, let alone what Ralph Reed was talking about, which is the way we fight and respond to terrorists.

COOPER: Mike Murphy, what about that?


COOPER: Folks who don't go to church, do they still come out and vote?

MURPHY: Yes, but people who define their religious practices in the center of their voting choice -- this is a fact, not an opinion; you can measure it in polling -- tend to be more Republican, because they are more pro-life and they're more -- more interested in some of those traditional -- quote -- "family value" issues.

So, it's not a question of who people are. It's a question of who decides to vote on these issues. And that's where the numbers are the numbers.


MURPHY: Now, there's always been a tradition on the Democratic side of trying to link social justice to religious values. There are a lot of very liberal Catholics, which is my faith.

But, fundamentally, the more people use kind of the religious prism to make a policy decision about what politicians ought to do, they tend to be more socially conservative and more Republican... (CROSSTALK)

MURPHY: ... which drives the Democrats crazy; hence, events like today. But I doubt they are going to move that needle very much.

COOPER: We are going to talk more to you, Mike Murphy, and to Arianna Huffington in our next hour of 360.

If you missed last night's Democratic debate, by the way, we are going to be replaying large chunks of it in the 11:00 hour of 360, the most dramatic moments, the most interesting moments, with some commentary as well.

Tomorrow, it will be the Republicans' turn -- coming up tonight, a look ahead at their debate and what the Democrats accomplished last night.


COOPER (voice-over): They sniped.

CLINTON: This is George Bush's war.

COOPER: They swiped.

OBAMA: So, you're about four-and-a-half years late on leadership on this issue.

COOPER: They got some laughs.

MIKE GRAVEL (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He could take his wife with him, who will still be in the Senate.


COOPER: Up next: Whose ideas really got the most traction?

Also: immigration and tomorrow's GOP debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a dumb question, but do you hear the anger in people's voices?

COOPER: People are angry, the GOP candidates divided, the battle on the border white-hot -- tonight on 360.



COOPER: We were up in New Hampshire, of course, last night for the Democratic presidential debate. CNN will be there tomorrow, as the Republicans square off.

Yesterday, we saw the Democrats on the offensive. The gloves were definitely off, with the candidates going on attack after attack. The president wasn't the only one taking a beating. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): The debate was dominated by a couple of four-letter words, Bush and Iraq. And the front-runner never missed a beat to link them.

CLINTON: This is George Bush's war. He is responsible for this war. He started the war. He mismanaged the war. He escalated the war. And he refuses to end the war.

COOPER: While Clinton was blaming the president, Senator Edwards took aim at her and Senator Obama for failing to take a leadership role in voting against the war spending bill.

EDWARDS: Others were quiet. They went quietly to the floor of the Senate, cast the right vote. But there is a difference between leadership and legislating.

COOPER: Obama quickly shot back.

EDWARDS: And I think, John -- the fact is, is that I opposed this war from the start. So, you're about four-and-a-half years late on leadership on this issue. And, you know, I think it's important not to play politics on something that is as critical and as difficult as this.

COOPER: When it was his time to sound off on Iraq, Congressman Kucinich said the fault lies squarely within his own party.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... that this war belongs to the Democratic Party because the Democrats were put in charge by the people in the last election with the thought that they were going to end the war. Well, they haven't.

COOPER: On illegal immigration, Governor Bill Richardson said he opposes building a barrier along the Mexican border.

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D-NM), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would not support legislation that divided families; I would not support legislation that builds a wall, a Berlin-type wall, between two countries, the way the bill in the Congress exists today.

COOPER: Some of the sharpest and loudest words came from Senator Joe Biden, who said the United States must act immediately to stop the genocide in Darfur.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the time all these guys talk, 50,000 more people are going to be dead. They're going to be dead. And I tell you, I guarantee you, we have the capacity, by setting up a no-fly zone, to shut down the janjaweed.

COOPER: Both Biden and Clinton said the time has come to end the don't-ask/don't-tell policy, and let gays serve openly in the military. BIDEN: I have been in these foxholes with these kids, literally in bunkers with them. Let me tell you something: Nobody asked anybody else whether they're gay in those holes, those foxholes, number one.

CLINTON: Barry Goldwater once said you don't have to be straight to shoot straight. And I think he was right.

COOPER: For the most part, Clinton stayed above the fray, perhaps a sign she's setting her sights on the general election. She was also the punchline for a memorable one-liner.

SCOTT SPRADLING, WMUR: Senator Gravel, if you are elected president, how, if at all, would you use former President Bill Clinton in your administration?


GRAVEL: How would I use him?

Well, I would send him as a roving ambassador around the world. He would be good. He could take his wife with him, who will still be in the Senate.



COOPER: Well, as I said, in our next hour, we are going to show you in-depth the best moments from last night's debate.

And, tomorrow, the Republicans face off right here on CNN. The debate starts at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Then join us for some raw politics, our post-debate analysis beginning at 9:00 p.m.

Erica Hill joins us right now with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, two of the men arrested in alleged plot to attack JFK Airport are fighting extradition to the U.S., the pair appearing today at a hearing in Trinidad.

Investigators say they were planning to blow up airport fuel tanks, pipelines and buildings. The men say they are innocent. Another suspect is in U.S. custody. A fourth is still at large.

The man who set off the international tuberculosis scare might not be as contagious as originally thought. The first two tests of Andrew Speakers's sputum turned up negative. If the 31-year-old lawyer passes a third test, he would be considered relatively non- contagious. And, if that happens, doctors then might allow him to leave his room and take brief escorted walks around hospital grounds.

And Paris Hilton -- or, as she's known on this show, she who must not be named -- calling a jail cell home for at least the next three weeks. The hotel heiress turned herself in last night to (AUDIO GAP) term for violating probation on a reckless driving rap. She could serve as little as 23 days of her 45-day sentence, if she behaves herself in jail, yes.


HILL: Did you like that, she who must not be named? That was just for you.

COOPER: I liked that. Yes, I did.

HILL: It was just for you.

COOPER: Yes. Yes.

HILL: It was just for you, because, Anderson Cooper...

COOPER: Yes, Erica Hill?

HILL: ... normally, at this point in the program, we ask, "What Were They Thinking?" But, tonight, we thought we would just shake things up a little, because I hear you had a little birthday yesterday -- not a little one -- the big 4-0, my friend.

COOPER: Right, yes. Yes, I did. I turned 40, yes.

HILL: Well, it turns out...


HILL: ... always a good excuse...

COOPER: That old chestnut.

HILL: .... to run shots from birthdays past, right?

COOPER: Uh-huh. Sure. Yes.


COOPER: There you go.

HILL: But the celebration this year is just beginning.

COOPER: Oh, yeah?

HILL: Not only are we not mentioning she who must not be named.


HILL: We have some very special birthday wishes from you tonight, the first someone very close to your heart, your mom.

COOPER: Oh, great.



GLORIA VANDERBILT, MOTHER OF ANDERSON COOPER: Anderson, it's your birthday. And I want to wish you a happy birthday and tell you that I love you, a lot, OK?

But you would really make me happy if you would do something in the next year.


COOPER: Oh, no.


VANDERBILT: I would like you to eat more, because you're very skinny and very handsome, but I would like to see...


COOPER: Oh, lord.



VANDERBILT: ... you eat more, sleep more, get more rest, because I worry about that, that you don't get enough rest and you don't get enough sleep, OK? Think about it.



HILL: I think she's got a point.

COOPER: Yeah. Wow. You dragged my mom in here, Erica Hill.


HILL: Me? I mean, I -- not personally, you know.


HILL: Next year, I will drag her in. This year, I think it was...


COOPER: I like that, my mom talking to my cardboard cutout.

HILL: It's because -- that's because she never gets to see you...


HILL: ... because you travel so much. And you're as thin as that cardboard cutout. You don't eat. You don't call. You don't write.

COOPER: She's been saying that to me for the last, you know, 35 years of my life.



HILL: Well, get on it. Now is your chance. Finally make your mother happy. Eat.

COOPER: Wow. Are we done?

HILL: For now.


COOPER: Erica, thanks.


COOPER: Now here's Kiran Chetry with what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" -- Kiran.


KIRAN CHETRY, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": We're on the front lines, Anderson, of the immigration divide. We've been talking about how a border agent allowed a man with tuberculosis into the U.S., despite knowing that he was wanted by health officials.

Well, tomorrow we're going to show you how easy it can be to cross the border in one small town. Even the buildings are divided, half in the U.S., half in Canada.

That's tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING", beginning 6 a.m. Eastern.

Anderson, back to you.


COOPER: Kiran, thanks.

Just ahead on the program, the immigration debate pitting top Republican presidential candidates against each other. You may be surprised by this straight talk.

Plus, an extreme survival course goes way over the limit, and tonight a young, experienced outdoorsman is dead. His parents say instructions could have easily helped him. He was begging for water. They had it. They didn't give it to him. How can it happen? We investigate when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Count on one thing tomorrow: during the Republican presidential debate right here on CNN, John McCain and Mitt Romney are going to square off. The temperature between the two has been rising over immigration.

CNN's Candy Crowley reports.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In truth, John McCain has to defend the immigration bill he helped put together, but today was about more than defense. The Arizona senator ripped into unnamed presidential candidates who read polls; take, quote, "cheap shots"; and offer no alternative.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pandering for votes on this issue while offering no solutions of the problem amounts to doing nothing, and doing nothing is silent amnesty.

CROWLEY: A source confirms McCain's target is Mitt Romney, who today called his criticism of the immigration bill a principled disagreement. Romney has repeatedly been critical of the bill, always careful to link McCain with the legislation's chief sponsor.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: McCain/Kennedy says people that are here illegally get a special pathway. They're not like all the over immigrants in the world that want to come to this great country.

MCCAIN: We impose fines, fees and other requirements as punishment. And if the path to citizenship we offer them is special, it's because it's harder, longer and more expensive than the path offered to those immigrants who come here legally.

CROWLEY: To understate the problem, McCain's immigration views are a bit of a barrier along the road to the White House.

DANTE SCALA, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE: It's a marker for a lot of -- or a flashpoint for a lot of Republican voters. I think it's just one more thing where conservatives say, "Aha, that's the real John McCain. That's the one we were worried about."

CROWLEY: The speech today was part of a full-court press. McCain has talked to reporters and taken his cause to conservative voters via bloggers and talk TV and talk radio.

MIKE GALLAGHER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is a dumb question. But do you hear the anger in people's voices around the country?

MCCAIN: Oh, yes. And my friend Jon Kyl and I, you know, are feeling that very intensely.

CROWLEY: Defense of the immigration bill is pretty much a solo mission for the senator. As one campaign source put it, "We knew we weren't going to get a substantial level of air cover, so we figured we'd do it ourselves." MCCAIN: I'm not running to do the easy things, so I defend with no reservation our proposal to offer the people who harvest our crops, tend our gardens, work in our restaurants, care for our children and clean our homes a chance to be legal citizens of this country.

CROWLEY: Say this for John McCain, if he goes down, it won't be without a fight.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


COOPER: Well, straight ahead tonight, if you were a campaign, what kind of song would you be? Sounds like kind of a Barbara Walters question, doesn't it? In fact, it's "Raw Politics".


COOPER (voice-over): Her husband had one.

FLEETWOOD MAC, MUSICIANS (singing): Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

COOPER: Now Hillary wants you to start thinking about a theme song and put it on YouTube.

That and the Republican who's moving up the charts before he even starts campaigning. The raw numbers in "Raw Politics".



COOPER: So what do you get when you combine John McCain, Hillary Clinton and "Hustler" magazine publisher Larry Flynt? Well, for starters, you get a pretty interesting night of "Raw Politics".

CNN's Tom Foreman brings it all together.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, all the big Republicans are prepping for tomorrow night's debates while the Democrats are back on the trail after mixing it up last night.

(voice-over) So who's leading at halftime?

For the GOP, Giuliani is down a bit but still up front. The latest compilation of polls shows he's followed by McCain. And watch Fred Thompson. He hasn't even announced, and yet he's running a respectable third.

For the Dems, Clinton is holding onto a steady lead, followed by Obama, but insiders note that his support is softening.

And Al Gore has said over and over he will not run. But he's also at a decent third.

Check this out. President Bush is in Prague but being hammered in the polls at home over the immigration plan. Reporters say it would allow millions of illegal immigrants to earn citizenship in a fair way that would supports the U.S. economy, but as the debate resumes in Congress, some former border agents are speaking out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a sellout in my view. It's a complete betrayal of the nation.

FOREMAN: A man who got rich and famous publishing pictures of naked women is offering $1 million for pictures of naked women with high-ranking government officials. "Hustler's" Larry Flynt bought a full-page ad in the "Washington Post" offering big money for proof of illicit affairs.

(on camera) Here, in Washington?

(voice-over) And Hillary Clinton asked YouTubers for a theme song, and they are obliging big time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Hillary Clinton is our candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Hillary Clinton is our candidate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Hillary Clinton is our candidate.

FOREMAN: Among the flattering suggestions, "I'm a Believer" by the Monkees or Smashmouth.

Among the not so nice, "You're as Cold as Ice" by Foreigner.

And speaking of cold foreigners, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent trip to Greenland apparently made her the highest-ranking U.S. official to ever visit that country, and even there she could not escape the prying eyes of the press.

(on camera) What do you have to say for yourself, Anderson?


COOPER: Yes, a bizarre coincidence. We happened to be on the same ice sheet as Nancy Pelosi. Who knew?

Just ahead on 360, as the Republicans prep for their first debate in New Hampshire tomorrow, who has the most at stake?

Plus, a grueling survival course designed to test human limits costs a young man his life. He died of thirst, surrounded by people and water. How could it happen? His family wants to know; 360 investigates.



PAT BUSCHOW, MOTHER OF DAVE BUSCHOW: It was just plain indifference to human suffering and just macho stupidity.


COOPER: That is how Pat Bouschow explains what killed her son, macho stupidity. Last summer 29-year-old Dave paid thousands of dollars to take a survival course in the Utah desert. He was an experienced outdoorsman, a SCUBA diver, a parachuter and a rock climber.

Nothing about the course was easy. Dave knew that going in. What he didn't know, and what his family say they cannot accept, is that when he got into trouble and desperately needed help, he couldn't get it. That moment would come during a grueling hike.

CNN's Rick Sanchez went to Utah to retrace his steps.


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was about a year ago, July 16, when Dave Bouschow and 11 others set out on an intense wilderness survival course offered by the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, BOSS for short.

(on camera) This survival experience was going to be like few others. They were to hike for miles at an elevation of 6,000 feet in the Utah desert. The temperature, over 100 degrees.

(voice-over) We sought out another Utah wilderness guide, Doyle Moss, who is not connected with the boss course. He says at the canyon floor, it was probably hotter.

(on camera) So a canyon becomes almost a furnace?

DOYLE MOSS, WILDERNESS GUIDE: Yes. Actually, sure. Any green foliage, I mean, those rocks will just radiate that heat, and it's just -- you know, it's probably 10, 20 degrees even warmer.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The group was led into the canyons to find water by digging into the red dirt. However, the dig turned up nothing.

(on camera) On the second day of their hike around sunrise the group came here to Deer Creek. They were allowed to dip their cups into the creek to get the water.

Dave Buschow took his water bottle and filled it from the creek, and as he was walking away two staff members told him, "You've got to pour it out." His family says it was that action that sealed his fate.

ROB BUSCHOW, VICTIM'S BROTHER: At that point when he dumped out that water, he put his life in their hands, that they were going to keep him safe.

P. BUSCHOW: When I heard that, I was just totally appalled, and I just felt like I had been punched in the stomach. SANCHEZ (voice-over): After leaving Deer Creek and hiking the canyons and bluffs for hours, the group tried but failed again to find water.

According to the sheriff's report, Buschow began showing signs of dehydration: first, leg cramps. Then, he became delusional, confusing a tree for a person and worse, as the family learned, from the report...

P. BUSCHOW: He couldn't see in color. He said, "I'm seeing in black and white. In other words, it's affecting his brain so that he couldn't see in color.

SANCHEZ (on camera): And you understand that he told people that?


SANCHEZ: And that is rough. If he's seeing in black and white and if he's hallucinating, that means he's...

R. BUSCHOW: His brain is literally frying, you know? It's affecting every part of his body at this point, and his speech, his balance, his vision. I mean, there's -- how much more does he have to show before he gets a drink of water?

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The BOSS survival school officials refused to answer our questions. The web site states the course "is not for the faint of heart" and that it will take students, quote, "past those false limits your mind has set for your body."

But on July 17, Dave Buschow's body reached its limit just 100 yards from water found in a cave: cramped, delusional and losing consciousness, he dropped to the ground.

P. BUSCHOW: He said to the instructor who was standing right there with him, "I can't go on. Can you bring me the water?"

SANCHEZ (on camera): What did the instructors do?

P. BUSCHOW: They just kept pushing and pushing and saying, "You can do it, you can do it, you can do it."

SANCHEZ (voice-over): The sheriff's report says that instructors, most who are CPR trained, were carrying water themselves. But even though Buschow said he need water, they didn't offer it to him.

To pass the course, students must only drink from natural sources, like a stream or spring.

R. BUSCHOW: I said, well, then fail him for that part of the course. At least he has water, and he would have survived.

SANCHEZ: Dave Buschow did not survive. He died with the instructor standing over him. P. BUSCHOW: It was just plain indifference to human suffering and just macho stupidity.

SANCHEZ: Because of the incident, BOSS' permit for using federal land has been partially suspended by the U.S. Forest Service. If they want it back, the Forest Service says they must change their course policy to include, among other things, that students carry water in a 32-ounce bottle.

(on camera) If they hadn't agreed to integrate these new changes, you wouldn't have allowed them to use the land?


SANCHEZ: CNN has learned from Forest Service officials that the BOSS Survival School will change its survival course policy on water, but that brings little comfort to the family of Dave Buschow.

P. BUSCHOW: My son died. My son died right there on the spot so close to water, and it's just a nightmare.

SANCHEZ: Rick Sanchez, CNN, in the Utah desert.


COOPER: Wow. Ahead on 360, disturbing claims by an insurgent group concerning two soldiers missing in Iraq. Erica Hill has that story and other headlines in a moment.


COOPER: Erica Hill from "Headline News" joins us once again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, an insurgent group has released a video showing what appears to be the I.D. cards of two missing American soldiers. Audio tracks saying soldiers Alex Jimenez and Byron Fouty were killed but provides no additional proof to back up that claim.

CNN cannot independently verify the video. Military commanders say the search continues, in any case.

Tension is building between the U.S. and Russia with whispers of cold war being heard again. This past weekend Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country may aim nuclear weapons at European targets unless the U.S. drops its plan to deploy missile defenses in Eastern Europe.

Today a top White House adviser called Mr. Putin's warnings not helpful. Mr. Putin plans to meet with President Bush on Wednesday at the G-8 summit.

And on Wall Street another day of records for the Dow and the S&P, though not exactly a banner record day. The Dow rose just eight points to close at 13,676, the S&P up 2. The NASDAQ was up 4. And in more business news -- show business to be a fact -- a big star in the morning, Kelly Ripa, has that special birthday message for our own star in the evening, Anderson Cooper.


KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC's "LIVE WITH REGIS & KELLY": You know, Anderson, when they told me it was your birthday, I thought he probably doesn't want to make a big deal about it. But I just had to sing you a song.

(singing) Anderson, Cooper, Anderson Cooper, you're 40 years old today. Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper, he's 40 years old? No way. Anderson Cooper, 360, uh-uh, I don't think so. Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper, we're going to call it 340 degrees, because you're 40.


HILL: That's good stuff.


HILL: She's clever, that Kelly Ripa.

COOPER: She is, and a songstress, as well. I didn't know that.

HILL: Her talents never end.

COOPER: It's incredible.

HILL: It is good stuff. I love it.

COOPER: That Regis is a lucky man.

HILL: Indeed he is. Indeed he is.

COOPER: Erica, thank you, I think.

HILL: Yes. We'll see you later, for more.

COOPER: Oh, no, there's more.

Just ahead, the race for the White House in full force. You've seen the Democrats debate. Tomorrow it is the Republicans' turn. We'll show you in depth what the Democratic debate was like in the next hour of 360.

Plus, charges pile up against a congressman accused of taking more than half a million dollars in bribes. Sixteen charges in all. The story, 360 next.



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