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Bhutto's Bloody Homecoming; Vanishing Islands Hint of 'Planet in Peril'; GOP Senators Smoke Hillary's Hippie Earmark

Aired October 18, 2007 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. We've got breaking news again tonight. A huge and blood-soaked bombing in Pakistan. They're still picking through the wreckage. The pictures tell the story, still identifying twisted bodies after a suicide bombing aimed at killing a former Pakistani leader. Signs our ally in the war against al Qaeda has its own problems with terrorists. And don't forget, Pakistan also has nuclear weapons. So instability there matters even more. We're on this story in depth tonight.
Also ahead, tornado terror. A pack of tornadoes touch down, with more possibly on the way. We're monitoring late developments.

Also tonight, word of new testimony that could torpedo O.J. Simpson's armed robbery defense, a co-defendant who is reportedly going to testify that O.J. told his posse to pack heat.

And a Nobel Prize-winning scientist stuns the world by saying black people are not as intelligent as whites. What is he thinking? Find out tonight.

We begin with the incredible carnage in Pakistan, more than 120 dead at this hour. This is what is going on in America's key ally in the war on terror. The attack caught on tape. There you see it, Pakistan, a very shaky ally. It's infiltrated by the Taliban and al Qaeda, dotted with terrorist training camps, gripped by fundamentalist fear, run by a dictator, and armed with nuclear weapons, our ally.

This suicide bombing in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, was aimed at assassinating former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who has just returned from exile. In a moment, the country she's returning to and the grave implications for America.

But, first, CNN's Dan Rivers on the ground in Karachi.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It appears that the blast was centered around this vehicle, which seemed to damage one of the police escort vehicles which was riding alongside Benazir Bhutto's campaign bus. The bus itself is over there. And you can see on the side, it sustained quite a bit of blast damage. Luckily, Benazir Bhutto herself was on the top and seems to have escaped most of the force of this blast.

But, at the moment now, there's still the smell of high explosives in the air, really caustic smell in the air, and all across this floor here, horrific scenes, with body parts and dead bodies still strewn all around the area.


COOPER: Dan Rivers is joining us now from Karachi, Pakistan's hotbed of radicalism and a very shaken city tonight.

Dan, given the pace of the motorcade, it appeared that Bhutto was really a sitting duck.

RIVERS: Oh, absolutely, Anderson. That motorcade was crawling along at slower than walking pace that only covered less than five kilometers in 10 hours. We had been following it for some of the way. And security was not that tight, it must be said. There were, yes, a couple of police cars going alongside.

But we were able to get right up alongside her bus with no one checking who we were. A vehicle could get very close to it as well without any checks on that. And the entire motorcade really was mobbed by thousands of people. The police were completely unable to control the crowd, to hold them back on the sidewalks and keep them off the road.

So, there will be questions today about why on earth she thought she could undertake this procession at such a slow pace through the city, when there were clear threats that had been announced against her before she arrived. The police were urging her to take a helicopter. She refused to do that and even rode on top of the bus, refusing to go down inside, behind the bulletproof glass.

COOPER: What was the purpose of the motorcade? And how is she doing? Where is she now?

RIVERS: Well, the purpose of the motorcade was to really show off this homecoming, after eight years in exile, to show off the number of supporters she had, and to really give them a chance to see her and to revel really in this homecoming.

We understand, at that moment, she's now in one of the family houses here, Bilawal House, just over to my right here, which is a fortress-like family home. She's there, I presume, getting some rest and just trying to come to terms with the awful, awful scenes that we saw down on the route today, after that explosion.

COOPER: How close was she to the actual blast, do we know?

RIVERS: Well, she was in the bus at the time. It has transpired that she was actually -- she had just popped down inside the bus for a moment to get some rest. And, luckily, she wasn't actually right at the front or on the side, because, if she had been, she could have been seriously injured or killed.

Luckily, she popped down below. That's where the police had been urging her to be all the way along this journey. And she had refused. For the last 10 hours before that, she had been right up at the front with no protection in front of her at all.

COOPER: Dan Rivers, a long day for you. Dan, we will continue to check in with you.

Before we talk about this, it bears another look at just how close the would-be assassins got and how massive this explosion was. Take a look. Again, Ms. Bhutto survived, but more than 120 people did not, a failed assassination attempt, but still mass murder.

Peter Bergen is with us, the author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know." Also, Nic Robertson has traveled extensively in Pakistan. He's in Baghdad tonight. And Reza Aslan, author of "No God But God," joins us as well.

It's good to see you all. Peter, Bhutto is obviously a very popular figure in Pakistan, but she has a lot of enemies. I mean, who could be behind this?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, unfortunately, the laundry list is quite long, Anderson. I mean, obviously, al Qaeda, somebody from al Qaeda. Ramzi Yousef, who bombed the World Trade Center the first time in '93, tried to assassinate Benazir back in the early '90s.

Also, bin Laden has expressed his dislike of Bhutto in the past. Of course, the Taliban have threatened her. And there are also -- Karachi is just awash in jihadi terrorist groups of various descriptions who wouldn't like a woman coming back. And, so, unfortunately, the potential candidates are -- there are quite a lot of them.

COOPER: Reza, why has she come back to Pakistan? For those who haven't been following this as closely, she wants to be prime minister.

REZA ASLAN, AUTHOR, "NO GOD BUT GOD ": Yes. This has been in the works for quite some time now.

Of course, she left about eight years ago in the self-imposed exile after these corruption charges were brought against her. And I think part of this, of course, has to do with the fact that this is what the United States wanted as well.

They really pushed Musharraf to put together some kind of reconciliation plan so that he could maintain his office as president, and perhaps allow Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party to gain a share of the votes in the parliament, and maybe there could be some sort of power-sharing agreement between them as a step towards more democracy.

The question, of course, is whether this is something that's going to be either viable for the Pakistani electorate or whether this is just going to continue the mess that Pakistan has become over the last few months in this political instability. No one really knows what is going on or how all of this is going to work itself out.

COOPER: Nic, let's talk about that. How unstable is Pakistan right now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's clearly much more unstable than it was when Benazir Bhutto went into self-imposed exile eight years ago. The radical Islamists in the country have become much stronger.

They have begun a campaign throughout the country of suicide bombings, killing innocent civilians, killing the police, killing the military, and now targeting Benazir Bhutto.

This is going to put a real crimp in her ability to campaign to be prime minister in the national elections early next year. Is it going to include targeting of all her party workers? This is something they are going to have to reconsider in fighting the election.

It's going to make her life incredibly difficult as a politician, and perhaps make her ineffective and really put a block in the road of this effort to bring greater democracy to Pakistan right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: And, Peter, this is obviously -- this is a country that has nuclear weapons. It's in the most volatile region in the world. What is the overall security situation?

BERGEN: Well, it's -- as Nic pointed out, it has declined rather rapidly since the beginning of this year. There has been something like 200 Pakistani military soldiers who have been killed in suicide attacks in the last couple of months.

COOPER: And suicide attacks were something that never really happened inside Pakistan.

BERGEN: They were pretty rare. Now they're rather frequent. And something like 1,000 people have died in political violence in the last several months. The tribal regions where al Qaeda and the Taliban are headquartered are up -- you know, it's a very messy situation there.

On the bright side, the coalition of Islamist parties are right now polling at 3.5 percent. These are the parties are allied with al Qaeda and the Taliban. So, in the upcoming election, these Islamist parties may do pretty well. As we can see from these pictures, the jihadis are -- they're very violent and they're very vocal in Pakistan. But they don't actually enjoy the support of a very large number of Pakistani people.

COOPER: Could, Peter, a bombing like this actually boost Benazir Bhutto's popularity?

BERGEN: I think it's not implausible.

COOPER: Reza, what happens if this instability that we're seeing in Pakistan's government continues and elections don't take place -- free elections don't take place?

ASLAN: I think that would be a disaster. Look, Peter brings up a really good point here. We in the West, we focus so much on the rise of jihadism and the radical forces and the pro-Taliban forces in Pakistan. And we're right to be concerned, considering that it's a nuclear state and it's an important ally in the war on terror and yet it is quite unstable at this moment.

But there's no reason to think that, were Pakistanis given an opportunity to hold free and fair elections and to truly, for the first time in many, many years, really dictate for themselves their political future, there's absolutely no reason to think that these violent forces, these pro-Taliban forces would emerge in any way victorious or empowered.

And I think and what we really need to understand is that a democratic Pakistan would make a far better ally in the war on terror than the autocratic Pakistan we have been supporting so far.

COOPER: So, Nic, just on background, obviously, there's longstanding animosity between Musharraf and Bhutto. They're planning to have, what, a power-sharing government?

ROBERTSON: Part of that power-sharing is based on that President Musharraf should step down as the army chief of staff. And that's something he has promised to do in the near future. He's promised to do it before. That hasn't happened.

And, if the country does enter a period of instability or if the president does decide that, by holding elections in the face of this sort of tide of Islamist violence, would be unhelpful, he could decide to declare a state of emergency.

United States pressuring President Musharraf to step down as army chief of staff to enhance this democracy, a state of emergency would just hold him in that extremely powerful position that many of his critics say is what has led to this rise in this small minority, but nevertheless very violent, radical Islamists -- Anderson.

COOPER: And we're seeing the violence right here, 120 dead today. Reza Aslan, Nic Robertson, thanks very much.

Peter Bergen recently sat down with Benazir Bhutto. We are going to dig deeper into who she is with Peter and why she matters, next.

Also tonight, we're tracking a new batch of dangerous storms here at home and surveying the damage from the last ones. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): Terror from the skies, horror on the ground. Tornadoes unleash a nightmare on Main Street. But stay tuned, it isn't over yet. We have got the latest watches and warnings.

Also tonight, new allegations against O.J., call it the old reverse Clemenza.


RICHARD S. CASTELLANO, ACTOR: Leave the gun. Take the cannoli. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: No, leave the cannoli, keep the gun. New claims that O.J. told a co-defendant, hey, just bring some firearms. We're not going off half-cocked, the full story tonight on 360.



COOPER: That was the movement of the explosion, more than 120 people now dead in a suicide bombing aimed at killing exiled former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto as she returned to the country.

Now, tonight, she nearly became a martyr to millions. That's the pictures of her just shortly after the incident. Her father already is a martyr. The last Pakistani dictator, who himself died in office under mysterious circumstances, had him executed. Pakistan, safe to say, does not have a great retirement plan for leaders. It is also safe to say that martyrs in Pakistan, or potential martyrs, aren't exactly saints. And that includes Ms. Bhutto.

More on that now from Peter Bergen, who recently spoke with her.


BERGEN (voice-over): Back from eight years in exile, back into the fury of Pakistani politics, Benazir Bhutto is a national icon here, loved by millions, despised by many.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer last month, Bhutto made it clear she knew the risks of returning, and she accepted them.

BENAZIR BHUTTO, FORMER PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: There's a lot of threats because under military dictatorship an anarchic situation has developed which the terrorists and Osama have exploited. They don't want democracy. They don't want me back.

BERGEN: She represents everything that the most militant elements of Pakistani society hate: pro-West, progressive, the first woman to lead a Muslim country in a place where many would rather women stay silent behind a veil.

BHUTTO: And they don't believe in women governing nations. So, they will try to plot against me. But these are risks that must be taken. I'm prepared to take them.

BERGEN: Her father was executed by a former military dictator. Her husband was jailed, two brothers killed. She herself has spent years in exile or under house arrest.

Educated at Oxford and Harvard, Bhutto is the natural heir to one of Pakistan's most prominent political families. Her term as prime minister, however, was marred at the end by scandal, she and her husband accused of stealing money from the treasury and stashing it overseas.

Bhutto is back, thanks to her enduring popularity and a deal struck with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. If she wins the upcoming election, they will likely share power, Musharraf staying on as president, Bhutto as prime minister. Musharraf had little choice. Bhutto is the most popular politician in Pakistan, twice as popular as he is.

Bob Grenier ran CIA operations in Pakistan after 9/11.

BOB GRENIER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, KROLL: An agreement between General Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto would be good for Pakistan. It would good for America. And it would be for the war on terrorism, much more broadly. At this point, the secular forces in Pakistan have to be reunited. And Benazir Bhutto is a critically important part of that effort.

BHUTTO: I know the past has been tragic. But I'm an optimist by nature. I put my faith in the people of Pakistan. I put my faith in God.

BERGEN: Huge crowds turned out to welcome Bhutto back today. And, also, unfortunately, so did her enemies.


COOPER: So, I guess the question is, what happens now? I mean, the campaign goes forward?

BERGEN: I think the campaign goes forward. Even the principal players don't really know what's going to happen, because Musharraf and Benazir do have this deal, perhaps. But they don't like each other. And things are very much in flux, as this bombing today shows.

So -- but, theoretically, there should be an election by January. Benazir is likely to do pretty well, and a power-sharing agreement between these two people is likely.

COOPER: And, if they don't like each other, how that is going to work was obviously very tricky.

BERGEN: Indeed.

COOPER: Tricky, indeed. Peter Bergen, appreciate it. Thank you.

So, the question tonight is, for you, do you trust Pakistan as an ally in the war on terror? Let us know what you think. Go to Link to the blog. Post your comments. We will read some of them coming up.

On now to the surge of dangerous and deadly weather slamming this country, two deaths in Missouri, a ton of destruction in the Florida Panhandle. CNN's Chad Myers is tracking the system right now. We will get an update from him shortly. But, first, the damage they did last night and today starting in Florida. With that, CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was shortly before noon when the familiar image of a terrifying funnel cloud descended on Pensacola. For the next 40 horrifying minutes, this powerful tornado cut a path of destruction across the city.

As bad as the damage is, the toll could have been far worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just give me my son. Just give me (INAUDIBLE)...

KAYE: A woman rushes to a daycare center that took a direct hit from the tornado. She is looking for her child. The building was ruined, the children unharmed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your baby is OK. Your baby is OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the children that were there were moved to a church that was close by. And it was severely damaged after the kids were there. The roof -- about 40 percent of the roof was taken off. But, fortunately, none of the kids were hurt.

KAYE: The severe weather is part of a massive storm system that continues to sweep over much of the Southeast. This afternoon, several tornadoes were reported in Missouri. A young couple took these images from their car, which was belted by hail the size of softballs. They were lucky.

But two other people in Missouri were not, victims of a tornado outbreak that battered the state. One survivor captured a twister on a viewfinder as it approached his home.

DAVE MARTIN, TORNADO EYEWITNESS: I see it starting heading towards my house. So, I just remember I had my video camera. So I started videoing the thing. And then I'm driving to my house, videoing it all the way up here.

KAYE: And in Oklahoma, police suspect another tornado injured about 30 people.

Elsewhere, high winds, heavy rains and lightning strikes have downed trees, flooded streets, and left tens of thousands without power. The force of this surprising spring-like storm...

ED FRONABERGER, TORNADO VICTIM: The lord has been good to us. He must have looking out over us tonight.

KAYE: ... a powerful reminder of how sudden weather can change lives in seconds.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, CNN's Chad Myers is in the Severe Weather Center. He just got another tornado watch. We are going to check with him right after this break. We will be right back.


COOPER: You're looking through the windshield at the tornado that tore a chunk out of Pensacola, Florida. And the guy in the car is driving straight toward it. Now, he's a police officer, so that might explain it. But how would you like to have that for the view? A rough 24 hours of weather, and there could be more to come. Let's turn now to Chad Myers, our severe weather expert.

Chad, how does it look?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, there is more to come, Anderson, and, in fact a brand new tornado watch. Now, that just means that the conditions are right for more tornadoes. That doesn't mean there's any on the ground right now. But there are 11, 11 warnings now. That means that there are storms out there that are rotating, and they have potential to having tornadoes on the ground.

We do know that there were many tornadoes on the ground today. Owensboro, Kentucky, was probably the hardest-hit area of all of them right now. But the watch that was just issued for Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, that goes until 5:00 a.m. So, you're going to go to sleep. You are not going to stay up until 5:00 a.m.

So, what do you need to do tonight? You need to go find that weather radio, and make sure it is on, so that you are prepared in case the alarm goes off, because you're not going to be watching TV all night long. Here's what one looks like. If you don't have one, you need to go buy one. Make this be your last night without one in your area.

A couple things I want to tell you about, I want to tell you about Owensboro, because we really -- this is an area that had three separate tornadoes move over the top of the area in about the past -- it started at about 6:00 Eastern time, so about four hours now.

That's how much time has passed from the storm. All those boxes you see, those are all the tornado watch boxes. That's where storms may occur. Now, there are other areas where storms are occurring, including in Michigan. Michigan, in the middle of fall, tornadoes on the ground, and one actually not that far from East Lansing, Michigan, where you know the Spartans actually play, tornado warning for you.

It's a setup that usually only happens in the springtime. Big red zone all the way from Chicago. Downtown Chicago had 70-mile-per- hour winds as one storm rolled through there earlier today. And the storms are still through that area. The biggest towns that were hit hard, Dixon, Sebree. And that's very close to Owensboro. That's in Davis County, West Louisville, also into Owensboro itself. Emergency managers are confirming many injuries. And they won't confirm fatalities, but they won't un-confirm them or -- un-confirm them.

Anyway, Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Hey, Chad, do we know how much warning the folks yesterday got? I mean, because you see these pictures from yesterday and you see the damage. And we saw that video of that woman running into her house.

Does this -- how much warning -- I mean, when they get the warning, how much time do people usually have?

MYERS: The one up there near Paris had about 12 minutes on it. And that's an excellent warning. Twelve minutes is a long time. Literally, if you can get five minutes, that's a good very warning.

It just depends on how the storm rotates, Anderson, and if it rotates very quickly and spins up, like we knew these would today, some of these storms went from sunny to hailing in less than about 30 minutes. So, a lot of these storms did have warnings on them. And they still do at this hour.

Let me confirm that 12, 12 tornado warnings going on right now, which means that there are storms out there that are spinning that may have tornadoes on the ground. It's dark. You can't see them. Don't go out and chase them. You can't be a storm chaser in the middle of the night. So, go inside, stay inside, and keep your family safe -- Anderson.

COOPER: We will continue to follow it throughout the hour. Chad, thanks.

Want to look at tonight's "Raw Data." And it's easy to see why many consider the U.S. the tornado capital of the world. Last year, there were more than 1,100 confirmed tornadoes across America. The most were in April, when 245 touched down. There were 76 in October of '06. And, last year, tornadoes claimed 67 lives.

Well, O.J. Simpson says he is innocent. Prosecutors beg to differ. Already, his co-defendants in the Las Vegas armed robbery case have agreed to plead guilty and testify against him.

And now one of them, Walter Alexander, told police that Simpson wanted his posse armed that night, claiming O.J. said him bring some firearms, so that people know, "we are here for business." Another interesting twist to talk about. Joining me now is COURT TV anchor Lisa Bloom.

If this is true, what this guy is saying, how serious is it?

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR: This is a very important piece of the puzzle, Anderson, for prosecutors. They needed this. They needed somebody to link O.J. to the guns. O.J. says there were no guns, he didn't ask for it, and, in fact, nobody brought any. But, otherwise this is...


COOPER: But he is still claiming there were no guns whatsoever? BLOOM: He is still claiming, through his attorneys, that no guns were there, they were not present at the scene, he didn't ask anybody to bring guns, that there were no guns at all.


BLOOM: By the way, who says, firearms? Who says, I want you to bring firearms? That's what Alexander claims O.J. said.

COOPER: So, you think Alexander, what, was trying to make a deal and trying to kind of sweeten the pot (ph)?

BLOOM: Well, I think Alexander is ripe for cross-examination. And O.J.'s attorneys are going to go after him. He has got a criminal history, allegedly, and now he's making this deal for a get-out-of- jail-free card.


BLOOM: I mean, he's cutting a nice deal for himself.

COOPER: And that's exactly what O.J.'s lawyer said, Yale Galanter. He said -- he was on, the testimony is untrustworthy, because he was, "negotiating for a get-out-of-jail-free card."

BLOOM: Yes, exactly. And that is what they're going to argue. And this is the kind of thing defense attorneys love. You get somebody on the stand, it's all about creditability. This is a he said-he said-he said case times eight guys.

COOPER: But you already have some of the co-defendants saying there were guns. And then, I mean, the guys who were on "LARRY KING" who were actually the alleged victims of this...


COOPER: This heist, they said there were guns as well.

BLOOM: I like the word caper, by the way.

COOPER: Caper is...




BLOOM: Yes. A lot of them say that there were guns there. But, you know, if you listen to the tape, which we have all listened to in great detail, the word gun, the word firearm is never mentioned. Nobody refers to a gun. Nobody says, put that thing down. It's never there on the tape. That's a good factor for O.J.

COOPER: Walter Alexander told police that -- or reportedly told police that the guns were already drawn when Simpson entered the room. Would that matter?

BLOOM: No. If O.J. is part of the conspiracy, if the jury believes that O.J. said, bring firearms, and firearms were brought into the equation, that's a criminal conspiracy, and O.J. is responsible for everything that happened.

Whether the guys came in first or last, that doesn't matter legally. What matters is, he was part of the agreement, part of the conspiracy. If so, he's responsible for everything that happened.

COOPER: No one in this case, though, comes out looking very good. I mean, this case stinks from the get-go.

BLOOM: It's not clear who is zooming who...

COOPER: Right.

BLOOM: ... in this story, OK?


BLOOM: These alleged victims are guys that also have checkered pasts.


BLOOM: One of them got picked up for a probation violation immediately.

COOPER: And one of those guys -- I mean, I forget his name, he set the whole thing up.

BLOOM: Yes. Well, right.

COOPER: I mean, got -- he...

BLOOM: And another key point is this case is this guy Riccio, who did the initial tape.

COOPER: Riccio, right.

BLOOM: Yes, which he released to immediately. We all have heard that tape. He has said all along that there are more tapes. We haven't heard these additional tapes. He has hinted that one of these tapes would be the criminal conspiracy conversation.

If he has got a tape where O.J. is saying, bring firearms, bring guns, then this is all over for O.J. He's going to prison.

COOPER: Now, would prosecutors already have that tape?

BLOOM: They should already have that tape, if Riccio has turned it over to them.

COOPER: Because, I mean, he...


COOPER: He was on "LARRY KING" hinting about that tape months ago.

BLOOM: That is correct. They should have it. They should have it from Riccio.

COOPER: All this should just be adjudicated by Larry King, because all these characters...

BLOOM: Larry King is doing great pre-trial depositions, by the way.

COOPER: All of these guys have been on "LARRY KING" talking about the case.

BLOOM: Well, everybody -- hey, more power to him. We encourage that here at CNN, right?

COOPER: I guess.

BLOOM: They should come on and talk about it. I mean, look, they're not getting paid to go on "LARRY KING." They're telling their stories. So technically, nothing wrong with that, but there's a transcript that can be used against them if they did for later.

COOPER: So if he does have -- if Riccio does have these tapes and the prosecutors still have them, is he still free to -- if he has copies of them -- is he free to release them and get paid by TMZ or anyone else?

BLOOM: Yes, this is America. Yes, you can sell evidence. It's going to look bad, I think, at trial, when he talks about...

COOPER: It can't look any worse than -- you can't look at him.

BLOOM: I mean, he's already claimed he got six figures for the first tape that he released to, the one of O.J. screaming and yelling as they went into the room. You know, apparently, he sold it before he turned it over to prosecutors.

So everybody here has a motive. A lot of financial motives. A lot of checkered pasts. That's why this is not a slam dunk.

COOPER: When does this thing go to trial?

BLOOM: November 8th we have a prelim. That's the preliminary hearing, where the prosecutors put on evidence. The defense can also puts on evidence, cross-examine witnesses. They've got enough to go to trial, though. They're going to get past the prelim.

COOPER: Lisa Bloom. Fascinating. COURT TV. Thank you.

BLOOM: It's a good caper.

COOPER: Yes. Up ahead, a GOP candidate drops out of the presidential race, and the real reason Democratic candidate Barack Obama says people don't think he has enough experience to win the White House. That's coming up in "Raw Politics".


COOPER: There's a big-name presidential candidate who's still asking for contributions, still looking for supporters, and still in the running, at least on his web site. But that is all about to change. Maybe the competition from Stephen Colbert was just too much to bear.

CNN's Tom Foreman has the story and more on tonight's "Raw Politics".


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And then there were eight. Sources tell CNN Republican presidential contender Sam Brownback is going back home, quitting the race. His poll numbers are awful. His money is down. He can't even raise eyebrows.

It's not a total loss. He'll get the "Oval Office" home game, first dibs on some great souvenirs and a chance to watch Tom Tancredo squirm as the new bottom of the GOP pack.

We've got new polls. We told you months ago here in "Raw Politics" that both parties would soon be squirming over the economy. Well, almost half of America now thinks we are in a recession.

(on camera): Problems in the mortgage business, gas prices, worries about health care are all fueling the problem. And the opinion of the economy is even lower among low income and minority voters.

(voice-over): Democrats in Congress tried to override the president's veto of that increase they wanted in the Children's Health Insurance Program. Could not get it done and not happy about it.

REP. PETE STARK (D), CALIFORNIA: The truth is that Bush just likes to blow things up, in Iraq, in the United States and in Congress.

FOREMAN: The president supports an increase in the program, just not as big as what the Dems want. The White House is talking compromise.

And Barack Obama is still being asked if he has enough experience to be president. But now he has an ideal why. "I think maybe it's just because I look young," he says. "I've got these big ears. I look like Opie."

RON HOWARD, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: Whatever you are doing, can I do it when I get older? FOREMAN: Careful, little Opie is not living in Mayberry anymore. He's now movie mogul Ron Howard and a contributor to the Obamarama's campaign -- Anderson.


COOPER: Thanks, Tom.

Sam Brownback may not be at our second YouTube debate on November 28th, but plenty of the other Republican candidates will. And if you want them to answer your questions, you've got to go to to find out how to post them.

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

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Anderson. Tomorrow, we bring you the most news in the morning, including a school board's decision to offer birth control pills to girls as young as 11. Why did they decide to do it and what are parents saying about it?

Also, you may have been to a wedding where a friend of the couple got ordained for the day so that he or she could perform the ceremony. Well, now there are questions over whether those marriages are legal.

Wake up to the most news in the morning. It all starts at 6 a.m. Eastern. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: We've been reporting on a killer bug that most antibiotics cannot kill. Coming up, it's spreading and we're going to tell you all about it.

Also, this.


COOPER (voice-over): Premiering Tuesday, October 23rd, at 9 p.m. Eastern, is our yearlong investigation, "Planet in Peril." Jeff Corwin, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I travel the world to see firsthand the threats to the planet. And we want to show you what we've seen and answer your questions.

So log on to to submit your video questions. What do you want to know about deforestation, species loss, overpopulation and climate change? October 25th, live during our program, a panel of experts are going to be here to answer your questions.

So log on now to get some answers.



COOPER: Thirteen countries, four continents, an eye-opening experience you won't want to mission. Our "Planet in Peril" special premieres next Thursday here on CNN at 9:00 Eastern.

We uncovered a lot about our changing world. And tonight, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside a crisis on the Carteret Islands of Papua, New Guinea. The people there are losing their homeland because it is literally sinking.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're flying back to the Carteret Islands in the South Pacific to try and solve the mystery, why the islands here are disappearing. Is it rising sea levels, harvesting of coral, or something else entirely?

After two days here, there was only one place left to explore: underwater. Chief Bernard (ph) takes us out by boat to the coral reef. He tells us we're the first journalists to dive the reef. With dive gear and tanks, we head down, 60 feet. What we see is startling: a gray landscape with little Marine life.

Healthy coral reefs act as protective barriers to islands, helping slow destructive storm surges while providing food and shelter for marine life. This reef is dying, which means less protection from storms and fewer fish to eat.

(on camera) So from the air we could look at the coral, and it certainly looked like a lot of it was dead. We actually just dove down, and when we got down there, we saw evidence of what seemed to be bleaching. We'd actually see entire sheets of coral that seemed to be completely dead and washed out.

Now, there was some evidence of live coral. But what was interesting is that some of that appeared to be dying -- in the process, as well.


COOPER: "Planet in Peril" airs next Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 p.m. Eastern. Now it's your chance to take part in the global discussion. We want you to send us a video, any of the questions you have about our changing planet. People from all over the world have been sending questions in, like this one from Panama. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Nina Durbin (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'm Ashley Kula (ph).

BOTH: And we were wondering...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With the ice caps melting...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and the sea levels rising...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... what can we expect to happen to, say, the functions of the Panama Canal... UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... and other structures like it...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... since they heavily rely on sea level.


COOPER: The experts are going to be answering your questions on the air next week, the day after "Planet in Peril" finishes. So you need to get them to us now. It's easier to do. Just go to our web site, Click on the "send a video" link. There's no limit to what you can ask. If you're concerned about our planet, don't be silent.

Now, breaking news: more tornado warnings and watches. Let's check in with Chad Myers, our severe weather expert.

Chad, what's happening?

MYERS: Officially, 13 tornado warnings. We also get the words confused, watch/warning, watch/warning. Warning means that a storm is out there, and it's rotating. And it literally could be putting down a tornado.

This was earlier. This was about an EF-1 tornado. Maybe 100, 125 miles per hour as it came onshore in Pensacola, Florida. There were other tornadoes that came on shore, too. Actually, they started out as water spouts and came on shore very, very close to Panama City Beach. From our affiliate there, WVUA. I believe this is Starkville in Mississippi. And even part of a country club was hurt there. One of the buildings injured there -- or hurt, I guess.

Anyway, back to the maps. All of this, these big red boxes, these are the areas that we're watching. That means something might happen. See all these purple boxes? That's what is happening. That's the storms are happening now. That's where we're going with this. Every place that you see a purple box, south of Louisville. One headed to Florence, Kentucky, right now. Another tornado warning just rolled over Kokomo in Indiana.

And look, I'm all the way up to Michigan here, and I have tornado warnings down in Mississippi. It's hard to get out of the way of the storms tonight. You need to be very careful.

If you have a weather radio and you've had it off because it's summertime, tonight is the night to turn it back on, because this will wake you up, where a radio or a TV obviously won't, if warnings come in. Some of you can't hear these sirens anyway, whether you're inside or you're outside of your house. And this weather radio could save your life.

Talk about it all of the time, Anderson. My mom and dad have one now.

COOPER: Yes. As we're looking at some of these I-Report videos that have come in of the tornadoes that we've been seeing, how does the weather radio work? It's just on all the time and -- what happens?

MYERS: Well, that's the way the old ones worked. Yes, the old ones worked where you turn it on. And if the radio signal would be picked up by a little tone that would come out from the weather service, your weather radio would go off. And it would go off for 50 counties. And by the time it got to your house -- the storm got to your house, you'd have to throw it out the window, because you were tired of hearing it.

The new ones don't do that. You set it for your county only, or maybe the one next to you, too, so that you know what's coming a little bit in advance. And then it goes off, and that alarm wakes you up. And it also -- they also have them for the hearing impaired, where they flash, as well.

They're an amazing thing, and they've saved many lives. And they will save many in the future.

COOPER: Makes a huge difference. Chad, thanks.

Up next, earmarks, hippies and Hillary Clinton.

And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for Britney Spears, there's a new twist in her custody battle.


COOPER: Ah, Woodstock. We made a bit of a business out of exposing politicians who are spending your tax money on their pet projects. Earmarks, they're called. And we're totally bipartisan about it. So today how Senate Republicans took aim and shot down an earmark championed by Hillary Clinton. Call this one Hillary and the hippies.

"Keeping Them Honest," man, CNN's Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Woodstock, an event and images that defined a generation. New York senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer want to spend 1 million taxpayer dollars to preserve these memories and others from the '60s in a museum. A million-dollar earmark tucked into a health spending bill.

But Republicans cried foul.

SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: I'm part of the hippie generation, but the question is, should this be a priority for this body over the priority of women and children?

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Gather your groovy beads and we'll see you on the lawn for a trip down memory lane. Well, a trip down memory lane would be maybe just fine for folks. I suggest, if they want to participate in that, they can pay the admission price. BASH: Republicans privately admit they made an issue of the Woodstock earmark to go after presidential contender Hillary Clinton, to slam her for misplaced priorities and link her to a liberal Mecca.

Clinton was in Washington but did not take the floor to defend her earmark, saying only through a spokesman: "Senators Schumer and Clinton have worked hard to promote economic development and tourism in Upstate New York."

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: It's the right type of earmark.

BASH: Clinton left the battle to her colleague from New York. Schumer adamantly defended the project, calling it a job generator for his state.

SCHUMER: I'm proud to do it. I spent some time doing it. I'm going to continue to do it. I think it's part of my job.

BASH: The museum is mostly funded with state and private dollars. Backers insist it's not just a monument to hippies but a place to learn about a tumultuous decade.

(on camera): But the Senate voted to kill the Woodstock earmark. It is highly unusual for senators to eliminate each other's pet projects, but the controversy over pork barrel spending is so red hot right now, Republican opponents say Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer's Woodstock museum was just too hard for other senators to defend back home.

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.


COOPER: Coming up, the "Shot of the Day." A fireworks display in Atlantic City like you rarely see. The whole thing collapses. Find out what happened next.

First, Erica Hill from Headline News has a 360 news and business bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, schools in at least a half dozen states are now reporting cases of drug-resistant staph infections. And many are sanitizing their locker rooms and classrooms, as well as other areas of the schools, all to kill traces of the so-called super bug. On Monday, a 17-year-old Virginia high school student died from this type of infection.

In L.A., singer Britney Spears losing visitation rights with her kids. A judge made that move because she hasn't complied with a court order. Britney's ex-husband, Kevin Federline, currently has custody of their two young boys. The couple will be back in court next Friday.

Oil prices surging to new record highs. Futures surpassed $90 a barrel tonight after closing at a record $89.47 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. AAA says prices at the pump gained nearly 2 cents today with the average for a regular gallon of unleaded nationally hitting $2.79. And that is up 4 cents from just Monday.

Call it the end of an era for the New York Yankees. Joe Torre rejecting a one-year $5 million offer to return as the team's manager. He led the Yanks for 12 seasons, winning four World Series titles but none since the year 2000 -- Anderson.

So all that speculation over the last few days now put to rest.

COOPER: There you go.

Time for "The Shot of the Day." Atlantic City, New Jersey, says good-bye to what's left of the Sands Casino Hotel with a big bang. Watch this.


COOPER: And again. Earlier tonight the 21-story building came crashing down less than 20 seconds after a rooftop fireworks show. The demotion of the 27 -- oh, let's show it again, why don't you?

The demolition of the 27-year-old building was planned to make way for a new mega casino set to open by 2012. A nearby hotel owner tried to stop tonight's implosion, citing asbestos concerns. But a judge say no. The Sands was the East Coast home for Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and the rest of the Rat Pack. Imagine what went on in those rooms. It was also the first Atlantic City casino to deal a hand of poker. Who knew?

We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some casinos collapsing, tell us about it: We'll put some of the clips on the air.

So back to our top story: the bomb blast in Pakistan. At least 124 people killed. We asked you, do you trust Pakistan as an ally in the war on terror?

"On the Radar" on the 360 Blog, Kashif writes: "I trust Pakistan as an ally in the war on terror, and by war on terror, I mean Pakistan's handling of al Qaeda. Pakistan has captured some well- known al Qaeda names. However, I'm not so sure about Pakistan's handling of the Taliban."

Adam in Tucson, Arizona, sees it differently. He says: "It is hard to trust any country as an ally in today's world, since it seems like allies these days only help if it benefits their country in some way."

And Lena writes: "How can we trust Pakistan? Look what has happened to Mrs. Bhutto today. Why is there such violence every day? Keep Pakistan as an ally, but keep one eye open and at arm's length. That's the best way to trust friends."

Well, to weigh in, go to Link to the blog or send us a v-mail, why don't you? We don't get enough of those through our Web site. We always like to see you.

More 360 in a moment, Stay with us.


COOPER: A quick programming note. We wanted to bring you this story tonight, but breaking news prevented us. It's going to air tomorrow instead.

The same day the Republican presidential candidates will be trying to win over Christian conservatives at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Mitt Romney will be there. He's hoping to be the first Mormon president, of course, tomorrow we're going to take a close look at how his faith has shaped his life.

Here's a preview from CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the summer of 1968, Mitt Romney put his future on hold and gave himself over to God. He became a full-time missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, leaving college to fulfill a uniquely Mormon calling, just like his father, George, and older brother, Scott.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He felt a responsibility to follow in everybody's footsteps. He felt a responsibility to do what he thought was best under our religious views.

TUCHMAN: The church hopes every young Mormon will answer the call to serve, but fewer than half, about 38 percent, of American Mormons actually do. Mitt Romney was one of them.


COOPER: In doing this, it is interesting, we learned about Romney's faith from people who knew him well and know him now. It's a fascinating report. That's tomorrow on 360.

For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is coming up next, here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up. I'll see you tomorrow night. Thanks for watching.