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Race Issue Explodes in Clinton-Obama Battle; Michigan Prepares to Vote; Search Continues For Wanted Marine

Aired January 14, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: On the campaign trail, it is crunch time, tomorrow, as Larry said, the Michigan primary, contests in three states over the next six days. The pressure is on. And the gloves are off.
Exhibit A, in the Clinton-Obama battle, the issue of race explodes. The war of words turns nasty, and, tonight, perhaps a call for a truce. We're going to bring you the "Raw Politics."

Also tonight, new details in the case of the murdered pregnant Marine. A manhunt is still under way right now. But why didn't the sheriff know about a restraining order against the suspect? We will show you the document he wasn't told about.

Plus, actor Wesley Snipes heads to trial for tax fraud. He's accused of owing back taxes on $38 million. And wait until you hear his explanation -- all that ahead.

We start, though, with a major shakeup in the Republican race. In the latest poll of polls, it is McCain by a mile. Nationwide, he now has a 12-point lead over Mike Huckabee. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are tied and trailing with 14 percent each.

But we learned in New Hampshire how much polls can and can't really mean. So, none of the candidates is taking anything for granted. They're all working hard. Tonight, they're all on the trail.

Voting in Michigan's primary starts in a couple hours. It is a key race for Republicans, so most of the front-runners were there. There is John McCain working the crowd in Kalamazoo.

Romney, who is desperate for a win and may have the most riding on tomorrow's race, campaigning at the Detroit Auto Show. Huckabee was also looking for votes at the auto show. Like McCain, he is hoping to claim a second victory tomorrow. Meantime, Rudy Giuliani was sticking to his Florida strategy, looking for votes in Naples, Florida. That same poll of polls puts Hillary Clinton ahead of Barack Obama by 11 points nationwide, with John Edwards trailing at 11 percent.

Both were on the trail as well today. Senator Clinton was there in New York for a Martin Luther King celebration and a few other campaign stops. In Nevada, the new -- the next big battleground for Democrats, Senator Obama campaigning at a rally in Reno. So, that's what the campaign trail looked like today. The big story, though, tonight is what it sounded like. Over the last few days, the battle between Senators Clinton and Obama has turned unmistakably ugly. With South Carolina's Democratic primary less than two weeks away, the issue of race has exploded.

African-Americans, of course, make up 47 percent of voters in South Carolina's 2004 Democratic primary. Turnout is expected to be even higher this time. As we said, the gloves are off. Race may be the topic, but, make no mistake. "Raw Politics" is at the core of this fight.

CNN's Candy Crowley has the latest.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barack Obama says he wants it to end.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are all Democrats. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights.

CROWLEY: The Clinton campaign issued a written statement with similar sentiments. "There has been a lot of discussion and back and forth," she wrote, "much of which I know does not reflect what is in our hearts."

It began a week ago, when Bill Clinton seemed to belittle Barack Obama's experience, and Hillary Clinton made a remark criticized by some as downplaying the role of Martin Luther King in passing civil rights legislation.

By yesterday, she was accusing him of playing the race card.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is, you know, an unfortunate storyline that the Obama campaign has pushed very successfully.

CROWLEY: And he returned in kind.

OBAMA: For them, somehow, to suggest that we are interjecting race as a consequence of a statement she made that we haven't commented on is pretty hard to figure out.

CROWLEY: Surrogates stirred the pot. Introducing Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, the head of Black Entertainment Television attacked Obama for allegedly questioning the civil rights credentials of the Clintons.

BOB JOHNSON, FOUNDER, BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION: Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues...

(APPLAUSE) JOHNSON: ... when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say that what he was doing, but he said it in his book.

CROWLEY: Johnson says he was not talking about Obama's admitted drug use as a teen. But it is not the only thing he had to say.

JOHNSON: I mean, that kind of campaign behavior does not resonate with me for a guy who says I want to be a reasonable, likable, Sidney Poitier "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner."


CROWLEY: Hillary said nothing. Bill Clinton, doing damage control on black talk radio for his own remarks, washed his hands of it during an interview with Roland Martin.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bob Johnson said what he said yesterday. Nobody knew what he was going to say.


CROWLEY: Clintonites suggested the Obama campaign was stirring the pot to undermine her considerable support among blacks. Obama supporters suggested the Clintons were trying to draw him into a high- profile battle over race to drive down his support among white voters. Everyone thought the tit for tat was incredibly divisive.

Message received.

CLINTON: We may differ on minor matters, but, when it comes to what is really important, we are family.

OBAMA: I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues. I think that they care about the African-American community.


COOPER: Candy joins me now, along with CNN contributor Roland Martin, whose radio show actually became part of the story, as you heard, also CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen. Over the years, he has worked for Republicans and Democrats, including President Bill Clinton.

Candy, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, so they have declared sort of -- it seems like some sort of truce in this battle of racial campaigning, but is this a Pandora's box that's going to just keep on reverberating?

CROWLEY: Well, let me tell you two things.

At about the time they were declaring this truce, Charlie Rangel, congressman from New York, was going on local television, saying that Barack Obama said a stupid thing when he said that Hillary Clinton had injected race. He said that Barack Obama was responsible for bringing race up.

And, at about the time that Obama was saying, I want a truce, he also told NBC that he thought Hillary Clinton was bringing this up to try to knock him off-message.

What I think you are going to see is that the principles -- that is, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- will in fact dial it back. I am not sure you can stop some of the whispering, nor do I think you can probably stop the surrogates -- Anderson.

COOPER: Roland, President Clinton was a guest on your radio show. He's always been hugely popular among African-Americans. What was he trying to do by reaching out to your audience?

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think one of the things he was trying to do was, again, reaffirm her position.

And he came out very aggressive. Now, when I asked him about Bob Johnson's comments, he said: Look, I have a list of 80 examples where Obama has been negative and personal against Hillary over the last six months.

And, so, he wasn't trying to be humble. He wasn't trying to smooth things over. He was on -- he was on an offensive posture. And that's pretty much what he took throughout the interview.

COOPER: David, who has the most to gain, who has the most to lose from this?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hillary Clinton has the most to lose from it, in my judgment. I think both sides understand they need a truce.

Someone high up in the Clinton campaign told me this afternoon, we have got to call this off. This isn't in anybody's interests, especially not ours.

But, you know, it's one thing. You have to bring out the peace pipe, but then they have both got to inhale.


GERGEN: They can't leave it. And, so, they have got to get their surrogates to calm down as well.


COOPER: So, the former president has to inhale as well?

GERGEN: Absolutely.

COOPER: Uh-huh.

GERGEN: On this one, he does. (LAUGHTER)

GERGEN: Here's the danger.

In a place like New York City, we have seen this before in Democratic politics. You got a strong white candidate. You got a strong black candidate in a Democratic primary for mayor, for example. They run against each other. The white candidate wins, but at enormous cost in the black community, a lot of bruises in the black community.

The blacks then don't vote in the same numbers as the Latino community, and then the Republican candidate comes up and wins.

COOPER: So -- but in -- I mean, in South Carolina, David, you think it hurts Hillary Clinton. But, nationwide, in the larger picture, you think it still hurts? Or does it also...

GERGEN: I think it is not in her interest. You know, I think she has now reclaimed, very slightly, the leadership -- or the front- runner status, especially going into February 5. I think she could easily lose South Carolina over something like this.

She could -- I don't think it will hurt very much in Nevada. But it is divisive on February 5, and, very importantly, people then begin to -- there was a whisper in one of the major newspapers today that, somehow, those blue-collar voters in New Hampshire who voted for Hillary Clinton did so because -- out of racial motivations, as well as economic.

I think that is terribly poisonous. I don't think it is true, for starters, but I think it is also terribly poisonous among the Democrats.

COOPER: Candy, the debate is happening, obviously, in the shadow of the South Carolina, the Democratic primary, on January 26. Black voters dominate that contest. How is this debate playing out specifically in South Carolina?

CROWLEY: Well, we talked to some people down in South Carolina, black politicos, political studies professors, and they said, look, it is definitely getting play here on radio. People are talking about it. They're talking about the Johnson remarks.

How is it going to play? You know, the last time we polled in South Carolina was December. The black vote, at that point, was pretty much evenly split. But that pretty much doesn't matter anymore, what happened in December, because so much has happened since then.

The people that we talked to said, first of all, that you shouldn't discount John Edwards' draw among some of the black voters in South Carolina. They think, right now, it is sort of a triangle. So, I have to sort of agree with David on this, which is that this is the kind of thing that might be able to sway voters.

I will also tell you that most people we talked to said that they thought this sort of thing would increase turnout.

COOPER: Well...

MARTIN: Anderson?


MARTIN: And, look, I will give you three names, Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden, all national talk shows.

You now have guys who normally talk about music, and laughter, entertainment on their shows who are now very involved in this campaign. So, when African-Americans are listening to music stations, they are now hearing political talk, not just on stations like mine that are all talk.

And, so, when you begin to have those kind of voices involved in it, that is going to ratchet up the conversation and really get voters paying a lot more attention. And, so, that's what Bill Clinton was talking to on Friday, as well as today. And, so, that's expanding this dialogue. And that is significant.

COOPER: Well, we will see whether it expands or whether it just sort of turns people off.

Up next: the Republicans and the battle for votes.


COOPER (voice-over): It's possibly do-or-die-time for Mitt Romney, as he touts his Michigan roots.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have got Michigan in my DNA. I have got it in my heart and I have got cars in my bloodstream.

COOPER: But John McCain, who is ahead in the polls, doesn't see it that way.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's been gone since he was a kid.

COOPER: A GOP showdown -- the "Raw Politics" coming up.

Plus, a pregnant Marine murdered -- tonight, the manhunt continues for the accused killer, a man she accused of rape. And now investigators have learned this from the military.

ED BROWN, SHERIFF OF ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: The restraining order, or MPO, was issued in July.

COOPER: A stunning revelation. Why did the sheriff just find out about that?

We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- when 360 continues.




MCCAIN: People say, there is not the money there. We eliminate this wasteful, disgraceful, earmark pork-barrel spending in Washington, and there will be plenty of money to go around for the right things, and not the wrong things.



COOPER: That was John McCain campaigning today in Michigan, a state that he won back in 2004. He, of course, is hoping for another win tomorrow. So, is Mike Huckabee.

Meantime, Mitt Romney, who is zero for two, is praying for his first big victory and hoping his ties to the state will give him an edge there.

Voters have made it clear what they want; someone who can fix the state's battered economy and deliver jobs.

With tonight's "Raw Politics," here is CNN's Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Detroit Auto Show is a must-do pit stop on the road to the White House.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, that's got to be a new model.

BASH: On the eve of the Michigan primary, the backdrop is bright, shiny new cars of the future. But the real challenge is how much GOP candidates can reassure voters here that the slumping car industry has any real future at all.

ROMNEY: I will not rest until Michigan has come back.

BASH: Mitt Romney is promoting himself as a hometown favorite. He was raised here, and his father was governor. But that was 40 years ago, and Romney himself was governor of Massachusetts.

Listen to how he sells himself.

ROMNEY: See, I have got -- I have got Michigan in my DNA. I have got it in my heart and I have got cars in my bloodstream.

BASH: Romney blames Washington regulation for auto industry troubles, says his resume as a problem-solving CEO will help the economy here. ROMNEY: And, by the way, that's what I have done all my life. I have taken on complex situations, led tough negotiations, found solutions, and then gotten things back on track.

MCCAIN: Thank you, Cindy. Thank you very much.

BASH: Winning here is also crucial for John McCain. With his primary victory in New Hampshire, he could take command of the GOP race with a Michigan victory.

MCCAIN: As president of the United States, I will herald a new day for Michigan.

BASH: McCain actually won Michigan's primary when he ran for president eight years ago. But, today, he may have to convince voters living with the nation's highest unemployment rate that he can get them out of this jobs mess.

McCain says automotive jobs are gone; the answer is retraining workers here, and pay for it by cutting pork.

MCCAIN: This bill that the president just signed that had nearly 10,000 earmark pork-barrel projects on it, and take that money and give it to these education and training programs.


MCCAIN: Well, I must admit...

BASH: On board his bus, McCain says his years of Senate committee work includes the auto industry. And he scoffs at Romney's personal pitch.

MCCAIN: Governor Romney doesn't have that relationship with them. He's been gone since he was a kid.

BASH: Polls suggest a McCain-Romney battle for first. But Mike Huckabee is also competing here, a wild card courting evangelicals, preaching populism.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the reasons we have lost so many jobs starting here is because we have a system of taxation that penalizes productivity.

BASH (on camera): Only Michigan votes on Tuesday, but it is still a critical test, and not just for the candidates. It is a test for the economy as a campaign issue. It now tops voters' concerns nationally. So, how Michigan votes in its Republican primary could determine the GOP economic message going forward.

Dana Bash, CNN, Kalamazoo, Michigan.


COOPER: Now, joining me again, CNN's Candy Crowley, CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen, and CNN contributor Roland Martin.

David, John -- John McCain won the Michigan primary back in 2000, largely by drawing the support from Democrats and independents. Does he have that same level of support this time?

GERGEN: He has a high level of support. He's very competitive.

This is a -- a primary that ought to favor Mitt Romney. You know, the rising concern about the economy is an issue that plays directly to Romney's major strength. And that is, he was...

COOPER: It's -- close in the polls, though, right now.

GERGEN: It's close in the polls, but Romney has got a -- if you look at all the polls, Romney has got a modest lead. And, by the way, Huckabee is a close third, too. So, it's bunched, but Romney slightly ahead.

But I have to tell you, here's one of the issues, a problem. Just as race is being very divisive on the Democratic side, Romney is going after McCain for -- for putting higher CAFE standards, higher standards for gasoline usage on automobile companies and for going after climate change.

If that -- if Romney wins, and that becomes the message of the Republican Party, we are going to have two huge clashes in this country between needs on the economy vs. needs to deal with climate change. And it's a very dangerous place for the Republican Party to go.

COOPER: And, Candy, even if Romney doesn't win Michigan, I mean, there is no way he is going to be dropping out.

CROWLEY: Well, he certainly has the money to go on.

The question that always comes to these candidates, if he comes out of Michigan three for zero, without any momentum at all, he has to do a gut check here.

Does he have money to go on? He can write himself a check for whatever he wants to do. The question is, is it worth it? There are people outside the Romney campaign speculating that he might drop out. There is no one inside the Romney campaign at this point saying he will.

COOPER: Roland, it was interesting. Earlier, Mitt Romney was telling John Roberts that, if -- even if he comes in second in -- in -- in Michigan, if he wins among Republican voters, that -- he is going to take that as a victory.

MARTIN: I mean, look, this is, again, the message of the silver medalist, which he has been riding.

Here was a guy who spent money in Iowa, didn't win. He was the governor of a neighboring state, didn't win New Hampshire. He is now -- he is the part of a governor of Michigan, so, if he doesn't win, I mean, so, tell me, what state can you win? That's the real problem.

These were your best three shots at winning something. And, if you can't win those, how in the world do you win Georgia and Tennessee and Alabama?

COOPER: And, David, I guess, if Mitt Romney does win, though, it helps Rudy Giuliani, to some degree, because he can then argue, well, there is no clear front-runner, and maybe that gives him a boost in that Florida strategy of his.

GERGEN: That may be true, Anderson.

But I was in Naples, Florida, earlier today, as you know, beautiful Naples. And it's where Rudy was today.

COOPER: Right.

GERGEN: And I was speaking to a very affluent crowd there, Republican-type crowd. And I was amazed how little support there was for Giuliani.

COOPER: Really?

GERGEN: A lot of support for McCain, and a fair amount of support for Romney.

COOPER: So, the notion that he had had all along that, that, coming into Florida, that would be his fire wall, that -- it may be a big strategic mistake?

GERGEN: Yes. I think he has -- I think he has waited so late for a lot of voters.

Somebody told me -- a friend told me a couple days ago, this is like running a marathon, and here is a runner who waits until the sixth mile to get in the race.


GERGEN: That is, I think...


COOPER: Candy, John McCain...

MARTIN: Hey, Anderson?

COOPER: Wait. Hold on.

MARTIN: Go ahead.

COOPER: Candy, John McCain in South Carolina, how is he doing there?

CROWLEY: Well, South Carolina has a history with John McCain. Obviously, they are down there. They understand the -- the ground there. And, so, they are -- they are trying very hard. It really depends -- so much depends, I think, on how he does in Michigan. But, generally, when you are looking at South Carolina, you may be looking at Huckabee territory, which is why, coming out of Michigan, McCain may really need that win.

Nonetheless, they plan to be competitive down there. They know all the pitfalls from their go-around with George Bush there. So, they are trying to play some offense.

COOPER: Got to leave it there today.

Roland Martin, David Gergen, Candy Crowley, thanks very much.

Coming up: new stunning details about the murdered pregnant Marine, as the manhunt for her suspected killer continues.

That story is coming up, but, first, some of the other headlines.

Erica Hill has a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, remember this chilling message to the U.S. Navy last week in the Strait of Hormuz?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am coming to you.

You will explode after a few minutes.


HILL: Those words as Iranian patrol boats moved near U.S. Navy ships.

Well, "The Navy Times" reports the transmission could actually have come from a radio heckler, not the Iranian vessels. Iran has denied it threatened the U.S. Navy.

In Montana, near the Whitefish Mountain Resort, a huge avalanche has killed two skiers. Search crews are now looking for two other possible victims.

And the mystery behind the identity of Mona Lisa may be over. German researchers say they have studied notes from a Florentine city official dating back to October 1503, and they say those notes confirm, once and for all, the wife of a wealthy merchant is, in fact, the model for da Vinci's famous painting -- Anderson.

COOPER: I knew it all along. I mean, I don't want to be a braggart, but I knew it all along.

HILL: All they had to do was ask Anderson Cooper.


HILL: They didn't have to worry about getting grants and going and checking things out.

COOPER: So obviously the wife of the Florentine merchant. I mean, who didn't know that?

HILL: There you go.

COOPER: Erica, stay right there.

A deadly showdown over the weekend on the streets of one city, it involved cars and bullets. It's tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" segment.

Plus, new chilling details of the murder of a pregnant Marine, and new questions: Was the sheriff actually left in the dark over a military restraining order against the suspect?

We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Erica, time for our segment "What Were They Thinking?"

We take you to the streets of Birmingham, Alabama. Take a look at this.




COOPER: It is a deadly drag race. A man videotaping the Sunday showdown was actually killed, police say.

HILL: Oh, my gosh.

COOPER: Then a fight broke out on whether to leave the scene or stay and help the guy.


COOPER: And that led to gunfire. And a second man was killed by a bullet.

People say two rival racing gangs from Florida and Tennessee were facing off. The question, of course, what were they thinking?

And all those people just standing around and watching, not even sure they wanted to help the person, unbelievable.

HILL: It's awful. COOPER: Up next: Did the Marines do enough to protect one of their own. Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child are dead. But, despite a prior protective order against the primary suspect, the Marines were prepared to do nothing for 30 days. They said she was AWOL.

We're "Keeping Them Honest" in 60 seconds.


COOPER: There it is, the FBI wanted poster for Marine Corporal Cesar Armando Laurean, accused of killing fellow Marine, Maria Lauterbach.

Now, her body and that of her unborn child were found buried in a fire pit his backyard. And, in a gruesome new detail, a neighbor says that Laurean actually threw a Christmas party several days after the murder and used the pit to make a fire.

There are a lot of new questions tonight about the case. Did the military do enough to protect Lauterbach? And why did it take so long for Marines to tell the sheriff that she was actually missing.

"Keeping Them Honest" tonight, here is CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach had accused this man, Corporal Cesar Laurean, of rape and was supposed to testify against him the same month she disappeared. She was also eight months pregnant, her family says, with Laurean's baby.

And now this bombshell: She had filed for protection against him with the Marines back in June. But, amazingly, her sudden disappearance in December barely raised a red flag with the Marines.

PETER STEINER, UNCLE OF MARIA LAUTERBACH: My sister talked to the Marines. They said that they were only investigating the rape for 30 days. They would not investigate any type of disappearance whatsoever, that she was considered AWOL.

KAYE: Lauterbach's uncle says the Marines let his niece down.

360 obtained this protective order and found it expired just three months before she went missing. But, even though it had expired, her disappearance was treated simply as an unauthorized absence. In fact, one Naval investigator even said, there was little reason for concern, though Laurean was under investigation for raping her.

PAUL CICCARELLI, NAVAL INVESTIGATOR: There's indications that they carried on a -- I would say some type of friendly relationship after she had reported this incident.

KAYE (on camera): A friendly relationship? Then why had Laurean been ordered to stay away from Lauterbach? And why hadn't the Onslow County Sheriff's Department, the lead investigating agency, been told that? Investigators for the Marines say they alerted Sheriff Ed Brown to the protective order a week ago.

But the sheriff told me, the first he heard of it was when his deputies discovered it last weekend in Lauterbach's car, just about a month after she disappeared.

DAVID SHELDON, RETIRED NAVY JAG: The Marine Corps really dropped the ball here, in terms of not alerting Onslow County that there was a protective order in place.

KAYE (voice-over): So, what is the protocol for the military to alert civilian law enforcement? You might be surprised to learn there isn't one. But retired Navy JAG David Sheldon says it was up to Marines to share the information.

(on camera): Would that have helped you?

ED BROWN, SHERIFF OF ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: I don't know that it would have made a difference in it.

KAYE (voice-over): The sheriff isn't laying blame. But imagine this: The Marines didn't release Laurean's name to the Sheriff's Department until January 7, 20 days after Lauterbach had disappeared, 20 days. How is that possible?

"Keeping Them Honest," we asked the Marines for answers.


COOPER: Well, had the Marines moved faster to bring in civilian law enforcement, Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach's killer might already be in custody. Twenty days, it took them to inform the sheriff.

Part two of Randi's report is coming up.

And later: Movie star and tax cheat? The government says that Wesley Snipes never paid up on $38 million in income. Snipes is pointing the finger at his tax advisers -- at stake, up to 16 years in prison and a whole lot of cash.

We will look at the case -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Just 20 years old, Maria Lauterbach, a Marine, an expectant mother, she was killed, allegedly, by a superior officer, who remains on the loose at this hour.

Tonight, we're taking a close look at what happened before she was murdered. There was the restraining order she took out against the suspect. But why were the authorities outside the military only told about it after her body was found?

Once again here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


KAYE (voice-over): Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, eight months pregnant and, police believe, murdered. Could the information the Marines had about the man accused of killing her, information they didn't share with the sheriff's office, have saved her life or helped catch her killer?

It took the Marines 20 days to give the sheriff's department suspect Cesar Laurean's name, 20 days he used to possibly kill Lauterbach, 20 days he used to plot his escape.

(on camera) How do you investigate a guy whose name you don't even know?

SHERIFF ED BROWN, ONSLOW COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: We can get the name when it comes time. That's what we did.

KAYE (voice-over): "Keeping Them Honest," we asked the Marines about the handling of Lauterbach's case. Naval investigators say they are reviewing the time line.

A spokesman at Camp Lejeune, where the two worked, told us, "Immediately upon her failure to report to work on time, her leadership began to inquire into her whereabouts. Several steps were taken to contact her via telephone, cell phone even in person by sending Marines to her residence."

So why wasn't key information promptly shared? Would it have made a difference?

The sheriff says it appears Lauterbach died around December 15, four days before he even took over the investigation. By that time, she and her unborn baby may already have been buried in the fire pit in Laurean's backyard, where authorities believe their charred remains were discovered last week.

(on camera) If the Marines had been more forthcoming, it may not have saved Lauterbach, but it may have prevented a nationwide manhunt. Laurean may have been considered a slight risk. If the sheriff knew all the Marines knew, Laurean may not have been able to skip town before investigators realized he was their prime suspect.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Jacksonville, North Carolina.


COOPER: Clearly, a lot of questions that need answers. The big question, could her life have been saved if the military had shared the information? Joining us now, CNN's senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

What do you make of this? The fact that it took 20 days for the Marines to even tell the sheriff about Lauterbach seems surprising. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is a big problem in law enforcement, generally, which is that different agencies don't cooperate. You know, state police don't cooperate with local police. The FBI doesn't cooperate with anybody.

And here, you have the military, which is a famously insular group, not dealing with the local police force. And unfortunately, it's -- it's disturbing, but it is not at all surprising if you know anything about law enforcement.

COOPER: It's interesting, though. How set up is the military to deal with this kind of stuff? I understand that she still, after filing this restraining order, or making these charges against him, she had to still work with him?

TOOBIN: Well, that -- that seems absurd to us. And it probably is. But, you know, the military is very jealous of its own prerogatives. Doesn't like to cooperate with outsiders. Doesn't usually have a lot of reason to cooperate with outsiders.

And you mentioned during Randi's report, you know, one of the rules. You asked -- it's an obvious question. There are not a lot of rules. It's up to the discretion of different police departments to cooperate. And they often choose not to.

COOPER: Does it surprise you that the military would view this as an unauthorized absence and not even look to Laurean?

TOOBIN: It does. Because it so offends common sense. I mean, look at the facts of this case. Could he be a more obvious suspect in her disappearance? I mean, it couldn't be more obvious.

So I think that takes a willful blindness to the facts to say this was an unauthorized disappearance rather than something sinister involving the guy who she was worried was after her.

COOPER: Her child was unborn. Therefore, whatever murder case is brought against the suspect or whomever is charged with the crime, it will only be a single count of murder?

TOOBIN: That's true. Although, under North Carolina law, it varies. Remember in the Laci Peterson case in California, you can charge murder of an unborn child. But sometimes it depends on the stage of the pregnancy and the state law. I think in North Carolina, it's...

COOPER: I talked to the D.A. He said that. But this would definitely be a civilian trial, correct?

TOOBIN: It probably will be. Again, it depends on where the crime might have taken place. We -- you know it will depend on a sorting out of the facts. But it sounds likely that it will be in the civilian courts.

COOPER: Just a terrible case.

TOOBIN: Awful.

COOPER: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks. Stick around. We're going to talk to Jeff more in our next story.

The backdrop of this tragic and unfinished story, a sprawling military base. Here's the raw data. Camp Lejeune has a population of more than 140,000. That includes military personnel, family members, and civilians. Payroll is more than $8.3 billion. And the camp's economic impact on the surrounding area is close to $5 billion.

Up next, the tax code may be confusing, but did movie star Wesley Snipes really believe he did not owe any income tax on $38 million in earnings? If the jury finds him guilty, it could mean 16 years behind bars and, certainly, a whole lot of cash.

Also, here is tonight's "Beat 360." Cue the cheesy music. The president's meeting with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. There's the photo. Clearly, there's a language barrier here, because our staff thinks President Bush is saying, "Is this a war hawk? I like those. I've got a bunch of them in my cabinet."

Well, the crown prince is trying to explain, "And if you turn it this way, we get channels, 2, 4 and 11."

So all right. Those were our staff ideas. See if you can do any better. Jeffrey laughed. Go to Send us your submissions. We'll announce the winner by the end of this hour.


COOPER: How's this from Uncle Sam? The government handed out more than $233 billion in tax refunds last year. For some people, the whole idea of taxes is un-American, in their eyes against the law.

Tonight they're rallying around a movie star charged with tax fraud, a lot of tax fraud. He says he's innocent. But how could he not know?

For "Crime and Punishment," here's the strange case of Wesley Snipes and CNN's Gary Tuchman.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's been a vampire, fugitive...

WESLEY SNIPES, ACTOR: I got set up from the word "go."

TUCHMAN: ... and street ball hustler.

SNIPES: Give me my money.

TUCHMAN: Now, Wesley Snipes finds himself playing the most challenging role of his life: accused tax cheat.

SNIPES: I look forward to clearing my name and resolving this issue, post haste.

TUCHMAN: The movie star is standing trial in Florida for tax evasion and fraud. Federal prosecutors say the 45-year-old actor owes taxes on $38 million in income from 1989 to 2004. That could be more in $15 million in unpaid taxes plus penalties.

The government alleges Snipes never filed returns and, when he did, he grossly inflated deductions. The big test for the government: did he know it?

JAMIE FLOYD, ANCHOR, TRUTV: Intent is an important part of this kind of a case. So it has to be shown that Wesley Snipes knew he was breaking the law and deliberately intended to evade proper payment of his taxes. And that's a pretty tall burden for his prosecutors.

TUCHMAN: Prosecutors contend Snipes never paid up, because he felt he didn't have to. The defense calls that theory preposterous and -- get this -- puts the blame on his two co-defendants.

ROBERT BERNHOFT, ATTORNEY FOR WESLEY SNIPES: The truth is going to come out. This jury is going to see the truth. Wesley Snipes is going to be vindicated.

TUCHMAN: Of the two men who handled Snipes' taxes, one's a former accountant, the other a convicted tax protestor. Both have long argued that federal law does not explicitly order U.S. citizens to pay taxes.

Like Snipes, both men pled not guilty.

This isn't the first time a public figure has been tried for being a tax dodger. Remember Leona Helmsley? The so-called Queen of Mean was found guilty and served 21 months in prison. This time it's Wesley Snipes' turn to face a jury.

SNIPES: I look forward to clearing my name.

TUCHMAN: If convicted, he could serve a 16-year role behind bars.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: All right. I'm not a tax expert, clearly. I do know I have to file my return. So how could Wesley Snipes honestly not know about it? And does he actually have a chance?

Let's bring back our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, who's actually prosecuted tax protestors and knows how difficult it can be.

How can it be difficult?

TOOBIN: Well, because the Supreme Court said, in a very bizarre opinion, that good faith is an absolute defense to criminal tax charges. That means, if you honestly believe in your heart that your interpretation of the Constitution or the laws or whatever it is, that you're not obliged to pay taxes, you cannot be convicted of tax evasion.

Now, I hasten to add you still have to pay the taxes. Good faith is not a defense to paying the taxes.


TOOBIN: But the criminal charge, you can be acquitted if you go to the jury and say, 'No, I really -- I studied the Constitution, and I believe I don't have to pay."

COOPER: But in the end you're still going to have to pay the taxes.

TOOBIN: Always.

COOPER: Why would Wesley Snipes hire somebody who's a tax protester to be an accountant?

TOOBIN: Because a lot of people think they can get away with it. And this tax protestor...

COOPER: The IRS won't notice?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, for an amount that great, it is hard to imagine how the IRS wouldn't notice. I mean, $38 million in income is pretty unusual. But there are a lot of people out there who figure they will fall between the cracks. They don't file tax returns. They think that -- that they can somehow get away with the whole thing.

COOPER: Well, Snipes also allegedly sent the government millions of dollars in bad checks.

TOOBIN: This is where his defense is a problem. I mean, this is where...

COOPER: I'm sure.

TOOBIN: Well, the idea that, if you simply ignore the IRS and treat it like they -- treat it like they don't exist, then you have a better chance than if you look like you're playing games, sending bad checks, signing the return and crossing out it's not under penalty of perjury, another thing that he did, which again suggests that he's really trying to game the system rather than engage in good faith.

COOPER: Why was he crossing it out?

TOOBIN: Because he was trying to say, "Well, I'm signing this, but I'm not admitting it's under the penalty of perjury." So he's trying to limit liability.

So it suggests that he is playing a more savvy game than -- than what he's -- his defense is in this case.

COOPER: And yet, these trials are, I mean because there are going to be a lot of people who think, OK, well, if I genuinely believe I don't have to pay taxes, I don't have to pay taxes. Bottom line, in the end you still have to pay the money?

TOOBIN: You still pay.

COOPER: You pay penalties for it?

TOOBIN: Enormous. You have to pay enormous penalties, interest. You just can't go to jail. That's the thing that if you are in good faith, you can avoid the criminal conviction.

COOPER: OK. So when we hear Wesley Snipes may go to jail for 16 years, that's unlikely?

TOOBIN: It's unlikely. But listen, the way tax sentencing works in tax fraud cases, it's based on the amount that you've evaded. He had $38 million in income, $15 million in taxes that's an enormous amount. So it's not 16 years, but it might be six years. It might be seven years. That's a big tax evasion case.

So he's in a world of trouble.

COOPER: It's going to be fascinating.

TOOBIN: These are actually very interesting cases.

COOPER: You wish you were a prosecutor?

TOOBIN: That's a fun case.

COOPER: Working for the man. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks.

Up next, a new poll shows nearly half the country thinks the government was somehow involved with the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, the government of Pakistan, that is. What's next for a key U.S. ally in the war on terror? We're digging deeper.

And on the lighter side, anyone can trade a dog to do tricks. How about a turtle? Our "Shot of the Day" ahead on 360.


COOPER: Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf is facing deep suspicions within his own country, a new Gallup poll indicating nearly half of all Pakistanis suspect Benazir Bhutto was killed by individuals linked to Musharraf's government.

Joining me now and digging deeper into the Pakistan leader's prospects and the very fragile state of this nuclear power, CNN world affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria. He's also editor of "Newsweek International" and recently returned from Pakistan, where he met with President Musharraf. It's a fascinating interview that I read in "Newsweek."

A lot of his popular support, which as you said, he really depended on, that's gone? FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: This has been the big shift. And I don't think most Americans realize it.

Musharraf a year ago had 70 percent approval ratings. He's probably down to 20. The last poll was 30 percent, but that was before Benazir's assassination.

And as you pointed, that poll is fascinating, because you really have half the country now who thinks he's complicit in a political assassination. So all of a sudden, the floor has dropped from the kind of base of support he had that allowed him to say, "Look, I may be a dictator, but I'm a modernizing dictator."

COOPER: And as we look again at the video of Benazir Bhutto getting assassinated, many still believe his government had something to do with it. He categorically denies it.

ZAKARIA: He absolutely assures that, you know, he and his government had nothing to do with it. Probably they didn't.

But there was enough incompetence and enough suspicions and enough double stories and changing stories in a land rife with conspiracy theories that, at the very least, he should have realized that from the start. Now I said to him privately, "Why didn't you just order, as chief executive, a post mortem, get it done?"

COOPER: Which he could have done.

ZAKARIA: He's the head of the country. He's the military dictator. But I think there was -- you know, there was a fair amount of incompetence. This is not a place where everything runs on time, as it were.

COOPER: And the family of Benazir Bhutto, he said, refused to allow an autopsy?

ZAKARIA: Yes, in a sense I think he suspects that they're playing a kind of game where they wanted this to become the next Kennedy assassination. Shrouded in mystery. She becomes a martyr. They benefit politically. You know, who knows which is true? But there's certainly a lot of politics going on on both sides of this.

COOPER: It's interesting. He said in the interview to you in great detail that, I mean, he's looked at the X-ray photos of Benazir Bhutto's head and didn't see a bullet hole, didn't see an exit wound.

ZAKARIA: He qualified it on the record. But off the record he was more explicit. He does not think there's any chance there was a bullet.

COOPER: Really?

ZAKARIA: He basically believes the original government story that there was an explosion. She hit her head against something probably, you know, some part of the sunroof, and then went in. He said to me, "I've seen thousands of bullet holes. I've seen X-rays. This does not look like a bullet hole."

COOPER: He also had very strong words for Senator Hillary Clinton and others who talk about the U.S. taking unilateral action inside Pakistan.

ZAKARIA: Yes, I mean, in a way it's to be expected. And what would a head of state say? They'd say there's a foreign government that wants to invade your country without asking you. I think it's a silly proposal. But if -- or Hillary's suggestion that we should take over his nuclear weapons. And he bristles at it. He thinks -- he says we're a sovereign country.

And the point he makes, which is again, I think, fair, is the Pakistani army has got pretty good controls over the nukes. And that you really have to make a distinction between the pre-1998 when Pakistan was a secret nuclear power, had to hide everything from everybody, and now when the nuclear weapons are pretty well integrated into the command structure of the Pakistani military.

COOPER: And a fascinating interview today in "Newsweek." Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

ZAKARIA: A pleasure.

COOPER: Just about time for our "Shot of the Day." Kind of ridiculous change of subject. But a turtle. A remarkably talented turtle, actually. I know he wants to see this story. That is coming up. We'll have the silly pet tricks ahead.

First Erica Hill joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.


ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, we begin in Afghanistan with a deadly attack at a Kabul hotel. Among the dead, a suicide bomber and at least five other people, including an American. The U.N. is reporting the target of the attack was the visiting foreign minister of Norway, who escaped uninjured.

A dramatic rescue off England's southern coast. All 20 crew members saved from a cargo ship adrift and listing in the channel. AT last report, the ship was in danger of sinking. Now, recovery teams are attempting to tow that vessel into safety.

And a much-hoped-for rally on Wall Street today. The Dow up 171 points to close at 12,778. Recoveries, too, for the NASDAQ and the S&P 500. And a massive sigh, perhaps, from Wall Street.

COOPER: Perhaps. Erica, as you know, we started this item on our blog called "Beat 360" last week. We put a picture on the 360 blog, ask people to submit a kind of a funny caption, one that was better than the caption from -- someone on our staff came up with. We got a great response. And we thought we'd keep going this week.

Here's tonight's picture, in from President Bush's stop in Abu Dhabi. It's the crown prince there showing off a falcon at the royal stables. Now, here are our top staff offerings. We had two that we like. One is, "And if you turn it this way we get channels 2, 4 and 11."

HILL: Ah, ha-ha. Clever, those 360 staffers.

COOPER: Yes, the other option from the staff is -- is this a war hawk? Wait a minute. I messed it up. The other one was -- it's all about timing. "Is this a war hawk? I like those. Got a bunch of them in my cabinet."

HILL: Oh, touche, touche.

COOPER: So our favorite viewer posting comes from Phoebe Shuro (ph). "Let me get this straight, you're giving me the bird?"

HILL: I like that one. Nice. Very nice.

COOPER: There you go.

Stick around, Erica, the "Shot of the Day" coming up. A turtle with a lot of tricks. That's right. Remarkable animal videos. Got to love it. When 360 continues.


COOPER: Time now for our "Shot of the Day." Meet Florida. The turtle, not just any turtle, however. This scaly guy can actually do tricks almost like a dog. Roll over. Shake paws or hands or whatever.

HILL: Stop. Hey.

COOPER: Look at that.

HILL: Is that a real turtle?

COOPER: Apparently.

HILL: How about that?

COOPER: Rolls over there. Florida's owner happens to be a psychologist who spent ten years training his pet reptile. A lot of free time on his hands.

HILL: Just a little.

COOPER: Now he says that Florida helps shy patients, especially kids, come out of their shell.

HILL: Ka-ching.


HILL: Good stuff. Is it me? Or does Florida look like a pretty speedy turtle as turtles go? COOPER: Yes. I don't buy -- I don't know what to make of this. Ten years, long time to be training your turtle.

HILL: Turtles do live a long time, though, don't they?

COOPER: Well, I'm not sure about psychologists, though.

If you see some remarkable video tell us about it, You can go there, see all the most recent shots and other segments from the program. Read the blog. And check out the "Beat 360" picture. The address again,


COOPER: Mmm, turtle soup.

Up next, race and politics. Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama with the South Carolina Democratic primary less than two weeks away. Recent remarks have turned up the heat as each candidate vies for the all-important African-American vote.

Also, "Raw Politics," Republican style. Mitt Romney going for it all tomorrow in Michigan. To win, he must outdraw Senator McCain, who took the state once before. The horse races on both sides with the best political team in the business when 360 continues.


COOPER: The Michigan primary. Contests in three states over the next six days. The pressure is on, and the gloves are off. Exhibit A in the Clinton-Obama battle. The issue of race explodes. The war of words turns nasty. And tonight, perhaps, a call for a truce. We're going to bring you the "Raw Politics."

Also tonight, new details in the case of the murdered pregnant Marine. A manhunt is still under way right now. And why didn't the sheriff know about a restraining order against the suspect? We'll show you the document he wasn't told about?

Plus, actor Wesley Snipes heads to trial for tax fraud. He's accused of owing back taxes on $38 million. And wait till you hear his explanation. All that ahead.