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Decomposed Body Found in Chicago; Obama and Clinton Face Off in South Carolina; Rudy Giuliani's Last Stand?

Aired January 25, 2008 - 22:00   ET


A lot of politics to get tonight.

But we begin with breaking news out of Illinois, where the body of Stacy Peterson may have been found -- may. We do not know. She's been missing since October 28. And her husband, Drew Peterson, a former police sergeant, remains the prime suspect in the case.

Now, here's what we know at this hour. Police in Chicago tell CNN that a city surveyor found a badly decomposed and frozen body this afternoon near some train tracks in southwest Chicago. They say the body appears to be a female with reddish blond hair.

Our CNN affiliate WLS Chicago is also reporting that a blue garbage can was found near the area. Now, this is the video of the area from WLS. You can see some police vehicles there. The body again was found earlier today.

It has now been transported to the medical examiner's office, where an autopsy has been scheduled. Drew Peterson's attorney spoke with Nancy Grace by telephone tonight and denies the remains found today are Stacy Peterson's, but was able to elaborate.

CNN's Susan Roesgen joins me now from Chicago.

Susan, what can you tell us?

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I just went back to the police officer who is behind this fence behind me in the general area where the remains were found. He says they're treating as an active crime scene. And that's why I can't get any closer to it from this area.

What I can tell you is, the remains were found near a shipping channel. This is an industrial area. You can see the train tracks in that direction. That's where the shipping channel is that serves the city of Chicago.

Now, you mentioned the blue container, Anderson, and, again, a reminder for viewers why this is important. Apparently, a friend of a stepbrother, a friend of Drew Peterson's stepbrother, reported just a few weeks ago that he had helped, the stepbrother had helped Drew Peterson carry a blue container out of a bedroom of the Peterson home, and this stepbrother told the friend that the container felt warm to the touch, that it presumably could have been the body of Stacy Peterson.

Now, Drew Peterson has denied that. His lawyer denied that. There's no confirmation of that. And there's no confirmation yet, Anderson, from the police whether this environmental surveyor who was out here doing his routine work actually did see a blue container near the remains. But two local TV stations are reporting that a blue container was found here.

And that's really what's led to the speculation tonight that it might be the remains of Stacy Peterson, who has been missing now for three months -- Anderson.

COOPER: "The Chicago Tribune" was reporting earlier that the remains were a child's. What can you tell us about that?

ROESGEN: Again, we have had lots of different stories about what might have been found out here. "The Tribune" is reporting the remains might be those of a child.

But, Anderson, you have to remember Stacy Peterson was a petite, is a petite woman, 5'4'' tall, only weighs 100 pounds. So, it's possible that someone could have mistaken the remains of an adult for those of a child. We just don't know. But, as you reported earlier, those remains were taken to the medical examiner's office here in Chicago. They're expecting to do an autopsy tomorrow. So, we should know more then.

COOPER: Hey, Susan, stay tuned. We're going to come back to you.

I want to bring in Court TV's Lisa Bloom, who is joining us now on the phone.

Lisa, you have obviously been follow thing case really from the beginning. Why is that blue barrel so crucial?

LISA BLOOM, TRUTV ANCHOR: It's absolutely crucial because this relative of Drew Peterson's reported on the very day that Stacy Peterson went missing, 23 years old, mother of two little kids and who told people that she told him a couple days before she was going to divorce him, the stepbrother says that he helped Drew Peterson move a blue barrel warm to the touch into his car and Drew Peterson then drove off with it.

This stepbrother then apparently so conscience-stricken that a day or two later he attempted suicide. Now, Drew Peterson and his attorney say that shows that he's mentally unstable and not a reliable witness. But that's been an important lead. And volunteer searchers over the last 12 weeks have been told by police to look for a blue barrel. That's been in all the search warrant affidavits, to look for fibers or residues connected with blue plastic.

So, the fact that so far this does seem to match the hair color, the size of the body, the fact that it's female, and the blue barrel, very, very intriguing information.

COOPER: Lisa, I apologize. I think I said you were Court TV. Obviously, Court TV is now called truTV.

BLOOM: That's OK.

COOPER: So, Lisa is anchor with truTV.

Susan Roesgen, near the scene, how far is this, do you know, from the location of Drew Peterson's home?

ROESGEN: We're about 20 miles from his home, Anderson. His home is in Bolingbrook. Drew Peterson, a former Bolingbrook police officer, basically forced to resign after Stacy Peterson's disappearance.

And, again, I think it's important for people to remember that Drew Peterson is 53 years old. This was his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. She was just 23 years old. And, again, we are about 20 miles from the Bolingbrook home where Stacy Peterson was last seen, on October 28 -- Anderson.

COOPER: Lisa, obviously, forensics is going to be very important in this. And we're going to talk to Cyril Wecht and Dr. Sanjay Gupta in just a moment.

But, in terms of Drew Peterson -- we're looking at video of him kind of taking video of all the cameras outside his home -- his behavior in this case has raised a lot of eyebrows.

BLOOM: Absolutely. He has been virtually dancing on her grave, if in fact she is deceased, for the last 12 weeks, videotaping the paparazzi, offering to appear on a local radio show in the last few days, win a date with Drew Peterson, you know, really reveling the fact that he says he's become an international celebrity, and never participating in a single search of all the volunteers in the area who have been searching for her.

He says she ran off with another man. He's never showed any interest as to who that supposedly missing man would be, where the mother of his children went. So, his behavior has always come across as very arrogant and very suspicious.

COOPER: He's told apparently the two younger children that his mother is on vacation -- that their mother is on vacation. Obviously, there is still a lot we don't know at this point.

TruTV's Lisa Bloom, we appreciate you calling in with us.

Susan Bloom, we are going to check on with you later on.

As we mentioned, Stacy Peterson disappeared back in October. And, as we said, the remains found today are said to be badly decomposed. The body, found frozen, will obviously be examined for clues to its identity, but also for the cause of death.

Joining me now is CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and on the phone Dr. Cyril Wecht, a world-renowned forensic pathologist. Sanjay, what do you make of all this? Obviously, with a state of decomposition, it's got to be all the tougher.


One thing, obviously, you're seeing a lot of snow behind Susan as well. And the cold temperature may actually help in terms far as staving off some of that decomposition. Obviously, at the time, when they are actually examining the scene there, they want to take pictures of the body, see the exact position that it's in.

They may examine some of the soil in there to see if any of the fatty acids from the body leaked into the soil. That will give some clues. Obvious -- look for the obvious things. Was there any foul play? Sometimes, even bugs, Anderson, as we have talked about in the past, can give some clues, if -- if the body has been there for some time.

If bugs, for example, that are commonly present in October are present in the body, it may give you some sense of how long that body has been there. Did the person die where they are now? That's a question that they are going to need to answer. Obviously, as you reported, the body has already been moved, so maybe they have already examined some of this, and they're going to do the autopsy, which will give them more information.

COOPER: Dr. Wecht, we're seeing some new video, while we're looking, of folks on the scene, examining the area where this body was found. According to two local TV stations, also a blue -- some type of blue barrel found nearby.

What is happening now, in terms of what the medical examiners are doing, both on the scene and also with the body?

DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Well, there's no question, as has been pointed out, that this must be treated as a possible homicide scene, whether it's a place that the body has been deposited or a place where the individual may have died, been killed.

So, everything must be done with care and with caution. But there's no hurry. That will be done and everything will be searched very carefully and the scene will be, I'm sure, cordoned off for sometime.

In the meantime, the body will be permitted to thaw. There's no hurry. And you can't do things with a frozen body anyway. And you're going to start off with pathology, the attempt to determine the sex, and then try to see if you can find a cause of death.

Body tissues and fluids will be collected for toxicology. They will probably bring in a forensic anthropologist for bone identification to see whether they're dealing with a young female around that age, or is it a child or an adult male? Then they will bring in a forensic odontologist, who will examine the teeth, and get impressions. And, so, they will have that. And they will bring in a forensic entomologist, as Dr. Gupta has pointed out, to see what bugs may be present. And, then, of course, toxicology will play a big role. They will collect tissues for that to see whether there's any evidence of drugs or so on, some of which may match with any medications that she may have taken, even things of a common over-the-counter variety.

So, all of that will be done. And, ultimately, of course, if there still remains a question of identification, then you have got the consummate means, namely, DNA. I assume that they have got things from her home, a toothbrush or whatever, that they will be able to match.

One of the problems I have here in trying to figure this to be Stacy Peterson, Anderson, is that three months have elapsed. Yes, we're into some bitterly cold weather now, but we had some very warm days, you will recall, into November, some very warm days. And this body would have had to have been quite well protected not to have decomposed.

We are not dealing with the weather of today over the past 12 weeks. So, if that body was in a container and that prevented it from decomposing, prevented the environmental conditions from acting upon the body, that could explain the fact that the body more or less appears to be intact, as I understand it.

But, if not, then, if that body has been there for some time, then there's no way, in my opinion, that you're going to have all of the soft tissues remaining after a passage of three months.

COOPER: And...

WECHT: We will learn an awful lot more. They have got good, competent people there in Cook County. And they will do a thorough job. And I think, soon, soon enough, you will know whether or not this is Stacy Peterson. If it is...

COOPER: And that's an important point to -- to just point out right now. We do not know who this is found a short time ago. It bears repeating and important not to go too far down the road of speculation.

Obviously, it is rare to find a body in this locale. Clearly, the police are taking as a significant finding. They're investigating, as you can see, on the scene. But, again, the identity of this -- of these remains have not been identified.

Sanjay, Dr. Wecht was taking about, you know, the many difficulties that -- that face investigators trying to find out who this is, how -- what the cause of death was. Any sense of a timeline?

GUPTA: Well, you know, a couple of things I find sort of interesting.

You remember, with Chandra Levy, for example, Anderson, in the end, she was identified by her dental records. And that actually came back pretty quickly. If -- if the dental records are intact, that's going to be a very good way to try and identify this person, if you can make that match.

DNA testing, as Dr. Wecht was talking about, can take longer, obviously, a few weeks. From what I understand, Anderson, there's some hair on this decomposed body. And that may be a good source of DNA. Bone may be a good source of DNA. I don't know the exact, obviously, nature of the decomposition.

If it's been a few weeks, then organs may be available as well. Also, as far as the age of the body -- you were talking about child vs. adult. The way the bones fuse together, the bones fuse together at different rates. So, in your 30s, you're going to have different bones fused together vs. your 20s vs. your 40s. So, you can get a rough idea of how old this person is as well, Anderson.

COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Cyril Wecht, appreciate your expertise, both of you. Thank you.

We are going to continue to update you throughout this hour, if there are any more developments regarding this body found.

But, up next, it is crunch time for both political parties. Two key races are going to be decided over the next four days. We're on the trail tonight.

In South Carolina, after a nasty week of attacks and counterattacks, the showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is in its final hours. Today, they shifted strategies. Coming up, the best political team on television puts it all in perspective.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Republicans have three more days to lock down votes in Florida, but, tonight, the Democrats are almost out of time. The polls in South Carolina open just hours from now. The latest poll of polls shows Barack Obama ahead by 10 points.

Now, we don't have to tell you that the polls have been wrong before -- two words on that, New Hampshire. Well, this week has been the nastiest week yet in the Democratic race, with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama locked in a bitter slugfest.

But, today, on the eve of the vote, the rivals dialed back their bickering, as John Edwards tried to cash in on it.

CNN's Candy Crowley has the "Raw Politics."


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Politics 101: You never get a second chance to make a last impression. So, in the final hours of the battle for Carolina, everybody is on their best behavior. SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, this must be a good place to eat if you all are here.

CROWLEY: She's all business now, in a Democratic kind of way.

H. CLINTON: The failed approaches of President Bush are now coming home to roost. We have got to begin by recognizing, people are hurting. This is not an abstraction. This is not a conversation for some kind of talk show.

CROWLEY: In this state where the black vote is about half the primary electorate, Hillary Clinton began her day in a chapel on a historically black campus, reinforced by two major league African- American politicians from New York.

H. CLINTON: I am particularly pleased to have two of my friends come down to witness for me.

CROWLEY: She ticks through her agenda now, lower interest rates on student loans, universal health care insurance, an end to the war.

H. CLINTON: And that's a big difference between us and the Republicans. If you hear them talk, they say they're happy to leave troops in Iraq for 100 years. Well, that is not going to happen because we're going to elect a Democratic president.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tell me about your situation.

CROWLEY: Barack Obama threw his final pitch straight at Clinton's strength, courting the female vote with plans to drive down health care costs, invest in early education, restructure bankruptcy laws, pushing hope, talking turkey.

OBAMA: Women in particular are vulnerable to debt, as well as these predatory lending practices and subprime loans. And then it gets hard for people to dig themselves out.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What's good for working people...

CROWLEY: Lacking the spotlight, but not the heat, John Edwards pounds the roads and visits the living rooms of rural South Carolina, driving home his base. He may be the beneficiary of the Clinton-Obama feuding. New motto? Edwards, the grownup.

EDWARDS: Senator Clinton and Senator Obama this week have brought their New York and Chicago politics to South Carolina. While they're intent on tearing each other down, I'm intent on building up the people of South Carolina, giving them a real chance, focusing on jobs, health care, the things that really affect their day-to-day lives.

CROWLEY: There is much on the line. Edwards says he will move on after South Carolina. But, with a winless record, it's hard to see where he breaks the streak.

A victory for Hillary Clinton might be the beginning of the end for everyone else. Iowa moved Obama down the road. South Carolina would put the wind at his back.

OBAMA: I promise you this. I will not just win this Saturday. I will not just win the Democratic nomination. I will not just win the general election. But, instead, you and I, we are going to march into the future. We're going to transform this country. We're going to change the world.

CROWLEY: He speaks into the beauty of election eve, when all things are possible.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Rock Hill, South Carolina.


COOPER: In South Carolina, Hillary Clinton has been relying on a not-so-secret weapon, her husband, Bill Clinton.

Now, the former president is being used on the campaign trail like we have never seen before. Some of her critics say he's running for a third term and also allowing her to take the high road, while he plays hardball.

He's taken some heat this week for his attacks on Barack Obama. And, at one point, he turned the tables, blaming the media for exaggerating the Clinton-Obama slugfest.

Now, those seem like fighting words, so, tonight, we separate the fact from the fiction.

CNN's Joe Johns is "Keeping Them Honest."


JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bill Clinton is back, with a vengeance...



B. CLINTON: Shame on you.

JOHNS: ... accusing reporters of hyping the Clinton-Obama spat.

B. CLINTON: They're feeding you this because they know this is what you want to cover. This is what you live for.

JOHNS: Offering opinions how black voters will hand South Carolina to Mr. Obama.

B. CLINTON: As far as I can tell, in our side, neither Senator Obama nor Hillary have lost votes because of their race or gender. That's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance to win here. But that's understandable. People are proud when someone they identify with emerges for the first time.

JOHNS: Maybe that's just Bill Clinton being Bill Clinton.

But "Keeping Them Honest," let's take a closer look at what he said. Item one, that Mr. Obama is likely to win South Carolina because he's black. The former president's analysis is on target.

Polls show African-Americans far prefer Obama in South Carolina. Since half the state's Democrats are African-American, and polls show Hillary Clinton sharing most of the white vote with John Edwards, it's a fair point. But why even make it?

(on camera): Motives are impossible to pin down. But explaining away expected defeats is part of the playbook. If defeat is inevitable, it doesn't sting as much. And, if you do better than expected, you claim victory.

(voice-over): Neat trick, except when race is your explanation for why your wife will lose. It gets messy. A fact of politics is that you don't have to be a racist to vote your race.

Rod Shealy is a Republican operative who once put a black candidate in a campaign just to drive up the opposing white vote, dirty, but potentially effective.

ROD SHEALY, REPUBLICAN OPERATIVE: More than all the issues in the world, people vote for who they like. And people tend to vote -- people tend to like people who are more like them than unlike them. So, do blacks tend to vote for blacks? Sure, they do. Do whites tend to vote for whites? Sure, they do. That is just a reality.

JOHNS: In this view, since, nationally, more whites vote than blacks, the more this contest is about black and white, the better for Mrs. Clinton.

To Bill Clinton, the controversy is a media creation.

B. CLINTON: Not one, single, solitary soul asked about any of this. And they never do. They are feeding you this because they know this is what you want to cover. This is what you live for. But this hurts the people of South Carolina, because the people of South Carolina are coming to these meetings and asking questions about what they care about.

And what they care about is not going to be in the news coverage tonight, because you don't care about it. What you care about is this.

JOHNS: Bill Clinton has a point. Reporters have been much more likely to ask him about race than voters. But, once again, you have to ask why. Why take the bait, when Mr. Clinton knows his comments will just keep the controversy going?

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Up next, we are going to update the breaking news we have been following out of Chicago: a body found that could possibly be that of missing Stacy Peterson.

Also ahead, more on the final hours of the South Carolina race, the showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and what is at stake for all three Democratic candidates.

And Rudy Giuliani's possible last stand. He's going for broke in Florida. Most polls, however, have him in a distant third. Does he have enough cash to go the distance?

Also, the whisper from last night's debate that is getting a lot of buzz online.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... raise taxes.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to raise taxes.


COOPER: Did you hear that? What was that? Here what MSNBC says really happened -- coming up.


COOPER: More now on tomorrow's Democratic primary in South Carolina.

As we said, the polls open in just a few hours. It is a critical battle for the candidates. Tonight, polls show Barack Obama with the edge. But, as we know, they can wrong. In the latest MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon poll, 38 percent of those surveyed support Barack Obama. Clinton trails at 30 percent. Edwards is at 19, which is six points more than last week. Most of Edwards' gain is among white again.

But take a look at this. An American Research Group Poll conducted before Monday's Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach shows Obama leading with 45 percent, Clinton at 39 percent, and Edwards at 10 percent.

So, that's what the polls say. Now some perspective.

CNN's Candy Crowley joins me now, along with "TIME" magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin. His new book is "The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President."

Candy, the latest polls have Obama leading Clinton. We have been seeing these polls now, Edwards coming in third. But let's all take the polls with a grain of salt. With the race split, Obama winning Iowa, Clinton winning New Hampshire and Nevada, just how important is this vote for the candidates tomorrow?

CROWLEY: Look, every one of these states is important in their own way.

This is the first real test of the African-American vote. We expect it to go quite heavily for Barack Obama. It's the first Southern test for the Democrats. It will tell us something about the South. It is -- but, most importantly, there are delegates here. And every single one of these candidate will tell you, this is now all about the delegates more than the states.

The person that wins the state obviously comes out, has got the headline. You know, so and so wins in social. But, in the end, it's the counting of the delegates. And those delegates are served up proportionately.

COOPER: And, Mark, Obama is leading Clinton among black voters, but, among white voters -- I hadn't realized this -- he's only getting about 10 percent in South Carolina. Looking forward, nationally, that does not bode well for him.

MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME": It doesn't bode well. Both his performance amongst African-American voters will be looked at, but the white performance.

And, more important than race, I think, which has been the big focus in South Carolina, is economics. How does he do amongst low- income white voters in South Carolina? If he doesn't do well there, that presents a big challenge for him on Super Tuesday. Some Super Tuesday states will have a large African-American vote, but most of them will not. He has to get a bigger percentage of the white vote if he's going to beat her.

COOPER: Has he gotten specific? That was the criticism of him, I guess, back in, guess, even New Hampshire, that Hillary Clinton was being very specific with her proposals, getting them out there? Has he been able to do that?

HALPERIN: He hasn't. And part of the reason he hasn't is, he spent at least some of the week -- I would argue too much of the week -- fighting with Bill Clinton. That was not a substantive fight. That was about who said what when. That was about the Clinton legacy, about race.

I think he has to get out of the mind games with the Clintons after South Carolina and talk, as you said, about the economy in particular, what he would do specifically.

COOPER: I read a great deal article you wrote about how they outfoxed him since New Hampshire. I want to talk to you about that in moment.

But, Candy, has the strategy changed in these last, final hours, this last day or two, for both Clinton and Obama? CROWLEY: Well, the strategy -- you know, the strategy is sort of planned all along, so it hasn't changed from, say, last week, in terms of what they wanted to do.

In general, when you have an election, when you're within about 48 hours, you pull down the negative ads. You kind of tone down the negative talk, and you go positive.

The -- you want voters to hear, as the last thing they hear before they go into those voting booths, something positive, something about your agenda, something to make them vote for you. So, it's a pretty natural evolution of time in campaigns.

COOPER: Mark, how has Barack Obama been outfoxed by the Clintons since New Hampshire?

HALPERIN: You know, Candy is right. The negative ads are off the air. He's trying to emphasize a positive message.

But, even tonight, one of his last events before the primary, he's still talking about the Clintons, about what he considers to be the unfairness of the attacks.

It's always been the case. They have outfoxed him in a number of ways. People can go read what I wrote. The main way I think they have outfoxed him is, he has been pinned down in South Carolina, because Bill Clinton has been there. Hillary Clinton has been all over the country in Super Tuesday states, raising money, campaigning. He's been on the ground in South Carolina almost every minute since the last primary last weekend.

That, I think, has been a big mistake. And it's been one that may cost him down the road. Winning South Carolina, as Candy said, would be great for him, but this is about Super Tuesday. She's had a stronger Super Tuesday week. He's been fighting with Bill Clinton in South Carolina, a state that he is expected to win, probably will win, but not by a margin that I think will give him much momentum going into Super Tuesday.

COOPER: The outfoxed -- actually, is that on


COOPER: OK. It's a great article. I recommend people read it.

Candy Crowley, Mark Halperin, thanks very much.


COOPER: Appreciate it.

Stay with CNN tomorrow for coverage of and analysis of South Carolina's Democratic primary. Results start coming in at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Up next, though, in this hour, breaking news out of Chicago, where human remains found in a field today could mean a break -- and we emphasize could -- nothing is certain yet -- in the Stacy Peterson case. We will give you an update.

And here's tonight's "Beat 360." Mark is going to play along during the commercial break.

Senator Obama there on the campaign trail greeting another future voter.

Our staff winner with the caption from Julia (ph): "Speaking of change, I think she needs one."

I thought it was good.

If you think you can go better, go to Send us your submission. We will announce the winner at the end of the program.


COOPER: More politics in a moment, but first, tonight's breaking news. The badly decomposed and frozen body of a woman found near train tracks in southwest Chicago. Now it might, and we stress might, be that of Stacy Peterson, who disappeared in October. We will not know until an autopsy and other tests are performed. Stacy's husband, Drew, is the main suspect in her disappearance.

CNN's Susan Roesgen joins us again from Chicago with the latest.

Susan, I want to show our viewers these -- these shots from the helicopter of the scene from earlier today where you can see police investigating. There was obviously a heavy snowfall there. And tell us what you know, what kind of remains were found, what do we know about it?

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know so far, Anderson, is that right behind me here in this industrial area, we've got a shipping canal on one side. And on the other side we have train tracks.

This was a badly decomposed body that was found, and I can tell you, Anderson, we've got some new information we have just confirmed with the Chicago medical examiner's office that it was not the body of a child. It was the body of a woman. They don't have an age. They don't have any more specifics yet.

They're going to do an autopsy tomorrow morning, Anderson, and they say that autopsy will be involved with whatever other autopsies they have to perform tomorrow. So they don't know when they'll have the results.

Once again, we're here in this industrial area. I just went and spoke to the police officer in that squad car there. Wanted to see if we could get you any closer to where the remains were found, the badly decomposed remains found along the train tracks here. The police officer told me nope, this is as far as we can get. They're considering this still an active crime scene -- Anderson.

COOPER: How accessible an area is this from -- you know, from main roads, from highways?

ROESGEN: Well, you know, actually, we're right here off the main road here, Interstate 55. This is the road that actually goes straight to Bolingbrook. Bolingbrook is where Drew and Stacy Peterson lived.

Again, Drew Peterson was a Bolingbrook police officer. So he could have come, anyone could come about 20 miles up this road and get right here to this industrial area.

Now, you see the fence is open tonight. We're not really sure whether it will be open during the daytime, but this is not a guarded area, Anderson. Again, this is for industrial use, for shipping, for goods that would normally, ultimately, get to the Mississippi River and to the city of Chicago.

So this is an industrial area, but it's not something that would be normally protected or guarded. So someone could have possibly gotten out here.

COOPER: All right. Susan Roesgen, appreciate it. Just to reiterate to our viewers, we do not know whose remains these are. Drew Peterson was listed as a suspect by police, but he has denied any wrongdoing in his wife's disappearance. He says his wife ran off with another man, and he has been saying that since she disappeared some two months ago back in October.

Now let's go back to politics. The next big Republican race is just three days away. It is Florida or bust for Rudy Giuliani. From sun up to sun down, the Republican is spending just about all his time, money and energy campaigning across the state, confident he says, he'll win this Tuesday's primary and then the presidency.

Here's what a new poll shows among likely Republican voters in Florida. John McCain is in the lead with 27 percent. Mitt Romney with 25. Rudy Giuliani is just at 16 percent. Mike Huckabee, very close behind.

The numbers don't faze him, he says. Giuliani is pressing on with his message and mission, turning to friendly faces for support, even if some of them have no idea what he's saying.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has more.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds of Cuban- Americans excited to see Rudy Giuliani in Little Havana. But when he talked about all the days he campaigned in the area... RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've spent so much time here, I think I'm going to get charged for taxes.

TUCHMAN: ... his punch line, almost no reaction, because most of the crowd doesn't speak English. Perhaps ironic, because the former mayor has said people who want to be citizens should learn English.

Yet, Giuliani and the crowd still seem like a mutual admiration society.




TUCHMAN: ... shouting "USA, USA" and "viva Rudy." And then the red meat message.

GIULIANI: You or your parents or grandparents had to leave Cuba because of a vicious, murderous, communist dictatorship.

TUCHMAN: The reaction after the translation?

GIULIANI: Most of you...

TUCHMAN: Hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans in exile in Florida are a reliable Republican vote for president, because of the GOP's tougher position against Fidel Castro.

OSCAR CORRAL, "MIAMI HERALD": Right now, since Giuliani is slipping in the polls, he is banking on the Cuban-American and Cuban exile community coming out and supporting him.

TUCHMAN: But there is another group of people, hundreds of thousands strong, that Giuliani is relying on. People from...



TUCHMAN: It's sometimes said south Florida is New York City's sixth borough.

PHYLLIS RICHLAND, FORMER NEW YORKER: We need the energy that Rudy has. We need a New Yorker. We need New York energy to set this country. I need to know that Rudy is going to put his arms around this country and I'm going to feel safe.

TUCHMAN: Here at West Palm Beach's Century Village retirement community, the president of the Republican club says most of the former New Yorkers here support Giuliani.

RAY AGOSTINI, CENTURY VILLAGE REPUBLICAN CLUB: Because you can depend on him completely, entirely.

GIULIANI: Go Giants! Absolutely, yes.

TUCHMAN: But back in Little Havana, Cuban-Americans appear to be much less unified. After all, Giuliani is not the only Republican who isn't so fond of Castro.

CORRAL: McCain and Romney have also come out and said that they hate Fidel Castro quite a bit.

TUCHMAN: And they have a foursome.

(on camera) What do you think of Fidel Castro, Governor?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): In a Little Havana park, we interrupted the dominos for a little politics.

(on camera) Who do you want for president? (SPEAKING SPANISH)






TUCHMAN (voice-over): The split doesn't bode well for Rudy Giuliani.

(on camera) Mayor, why do you think things have gotten so challenging for you in Florida? A little introspection about that.

GIULIANI: Well, I think this is a very close race and we've got a lot of candidates, a lot more viable candidates at this stage than I think anybody thought we would have. That's why it's a wide-open race.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Giuliani certainly wants to do decently with native Floridians and other people who have moved here. But the New York transplants and the Cuban-Americans have to come through in substantial numbers for the former mayor, or "viva Rudy" might become "adios, Rudy."

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: So is Rudy's strategy a smart move or fatal error? Let's ask our guest. Joining me now, Republican strategist Terry Holt and Leslie Sanchez, who's also the author of "Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other."

Terry, just how make or break is Florida for Rudy Giuliani? TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it's going to be a sharp blow if he doesn't win or come in closely in second. You know, three months ago, Rudy Giuliani was the favorite. He was the front- runner.

But since that time, with four contests that everybody has paid attention to, momentum has shifted sharply away from Rudy Giuliani to other candidates. It's a wide open race, and I think at this point, Rudy Giuliani is in a position to do very -- that he must do very well in this Florida or all those crucial states on February 5 are going to be in jeopardy for him.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, is second place even good enough?

HOLT: It might be. It really depends on the dynamics and how the race shifts out. You know, Florida is a mini national campaign, with all the media markets, with complexity and diversity of the population. It does demonstrate a good test for viability nationally.

But remember, he hasn't been on the stage for almost two months. And it really is tough. You can't underestimate how important momentum is in a presidential campaign.

COOPER: Leslie, obviously "The New York Times" endorsed McCain. At the same time, they really tore into Rudy Giuliani, calling him a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man.


COOPER: I was going to say, considering the view of a lot of critics (ph) of "The New York Times," especially among the Republican base are conservatives, might that actually help Giuliani?

SANCHEZ: It actually does, probably, help him here, but and I do think there's a point that needs to be -- that's an important point from your last package. And that is when you're looking at the Cuban- American vote, when you look at the fact three months ago 70 percent of Cubans supported Giuliani, and now it's dropped to about 40 percent.

COOPER: Why is that?

SANCHEZ: It's really because you see this thrust, this upward trend, not only with John McCain but also Mitt Romney. They are fighting it out, definitely in the southern part of the state. I think the Panhandle is very much McCain-Giuliani territory. But if you look over in the northeast, that Mitt Romney is doing very well there.

The economy is really important in this state. If you look at a Mason-Dixon poll that says that 43 percent of the people living in the state think that quality of life is declining. You've got hurricane cost. You have the higher tax, the cost of housing. Seniors are very concerned about their savings. These candidates are talking the right message. And I think that, because of that, you're seeing this horse race you're going to see right down to the end.

This is the first time that it has slowed to almost a trickle, the number of people that are moving into the Sunshine State. There are economic woes here, and these candidates need to address it.

COOPER: Terry, as the economy becomes the No. 1 issue, if it's not already the No. 1 issue in a lot of folks' minds, how does John McCain fare against Mitt Romney?

HOLT: Well, it reminds people, for those of us who were around in 2001 in Republican politics, that John McCain opposed the big tax cut that put us on a road to economic growth and expansion over the last seven years.

COOPER: He's now voted, though, to make those tax cuts permanent.

HOLT: And thankfully he has, because I think that's a crucial piece for economic conservatives. You have to be for lowering people's taxes if you're going to be successful in the Republican primaries, and in this case, I think John McCain has done a pretty good job of blunting that.

I think one of Romney's strengths going into Florida, unless he's exactly right, you see home prices falling sharply there and a whole range of other issues that people are concerned about.

Frankly, with Mitt Romney's credentials as a business person, that may be a part of why he's had a bit of a resurgence in Florida.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Terry Holt, Leslie Sanchez, appreciate your comments. Thanks.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

COOPER: Thank you.

Another Republican candidate is getting plenty of air time tonight on the Web. It involves Mitt Romney from yesterday's presidential debate and what some have dubbed the whisper. Listen.


TIM RUSSERT, HOST, NBC'S "MEET THE PRESS": Will you do for Social Security what Ronald Reagan did in 1983?


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to raise taxes.


COOPER: Did you hear that? Listen. Let's listen again.


ROMNEY: I'm not going to raise taxes.


COOPER: Just before Romney answered the question from the moderator, we heard a voice somewhere whisper, "raise taxes" or "not raise taxes." Interesting. I'm sure conspiracy theorists are hard at work trying to unravel the mystery. Some -- a lot on the Internet, they are.

For the record, MSNBC, which hosted the debate, said it was a microphone malfunction and an open mike, they insist, and nothing else, not that someone was whispering to Mitt Romney. Chances are, he didn't even hear it, they said.

Still ahead tonight, race and politics. Our 360 -- 360 special report. Soledad O'Brien and I at the top of the hour look at -- take an in-depth look at how race is shaping the 2008 election in ways that might surprise you.

First, though, a wife and a mother murdered more than a decade ago is now the star witness in her own murder trial. Gary Tuchman has her testimony from the grave, next.


COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment," a fascinating murder trial out of Wisconsin to tell you about tonight. The defendant is accused of killing his wife.

Now, to convince the jury he's guilty, prosecutors are relying on their star witness, who just happens to be the victim.

Once again, here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Julie Jensen is dead, murdered almost a decade ago. From nearly the beginning, police thought they knew who did it. Why? Because Julie left a message behind.

(on camera) Julie Jensen lived in this comfortable house in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, with her husband Mark and their two little boys. To most outsiders, their life seemed to be perfect. But that was definitely not the case.

In November 1998, Julie went to her next-door neighbor's house and gave him a sealed envelope with a letter inside, saying he should give the letter to police if anything happened to her.

(voice-over) Twelve days later, Julie Jensen was found dead in her bedroom. An autopsy revealed she'd been poisoned with antifreeze. But a pathologist now says she ultimately died from being smothered.

As for that letter she left behind, this is what she wrote.

ROBERT JAMBOIS, PROSECUTOR: I pray I'm wrong and nothing happens. But I am suspicious of Mark's suspicious behaviors and fear for my early demise.

TUCHMAN: Her husband, Mark. And yet, his arrest and the case against him was delayed for years, because even though her message from the grave seemed so strong, it almost became useless.


COOPER: And next, more on the letter at the center of the murder mystery. What her husband and the defense team was trying to do in court. The other twist in the case is coming up.

Also ahead, a final farewell to Heath Ledger. And the latest in the investigation into the actor's death.

And at the top of the hour, a special report on race and politics.


COOPER: Before the break we told you about the Wisconsin mother of two boys found dead in her bedroom, poisoned with antifreeze and smothered. Now this mother is essentially testifying from the grave in her husband's murder trial. How is that possible?

Let's go back to CNN's Gary Tuchman, who picks up the story.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Just a few days before Julie Jensen was found dead, she gave a neighbor a letter that said she feared her husband was trying to kill her. Normally, a defendant had a constitutional right to confront his accuser, so a letter like this can't be used in trial.

But this case has taken a dramatic twist. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that right has been forfeited because of probable cause the defendant had something to do with Julie Jensen not being able to testify.

Her four brothers are attending the trial.

(on camera) Do you think without the letter he would have been found guilty?


CRAIG ALBEE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Finally, after nine long years, Mark Jensen can clear his name.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The defense does not believe Julie Jensen was smothered and says she was treated for depression and killed herself, writing the letter to frame a husband, having an affair with a woman he later married.

ALBEE: She poisoned herself and, therefore, she did not want or need any help.

TUCHMAN: But the testimony from the grave appeared to anticipate an allegation of suicide.

JAMBOIS: I would never take my life because of my kids. They are everything to me. But if anything happens to me, he would be my first suspect.

TUCHMAN: The Jensen boys, who were then 8 and 3, now live with their stepmother while their father is in jail without bond. On the block where they used to live, one neighbor says Julie Jensen's boys were her world.

MARION PACETTI, JENSEN'S NEIGHBOR: She would not have killed herself under any circumstances because of her two sons.

TUCHMAN: The defense, though, says allowing the letter is unfair, its contents misleading.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What protection does the letter provide? Open it after my death? I mean, that stuff is out of the movies.

TUCHMAN: But after years of hearings, a jury is now listening to Julie Jensen.

GRIFFIN: And in the words of his defense lawyer, finally, I get to say finally. Julie's voice is going to be heard, finally.

TUCHMAN: The jury will have to decide if that voice speaks the truth.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Elkhorn, Wisconsin.


COOPER: We'll tell you what they decide.

You can check out Gary's blog on this strange case at Now to check with some of the other headlines tonight, Erica Hill joins us with a "350 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, security was tight outside a Manhattan funeral home where a private funeral was held today for Heath Ledger.

Meantime, Mary-Kate Olsen released a statement today, calling Ledger a friend. You'll recall, Olsen received several calls from an associate who discovered Ledger's body on Tuesday. Police have ruled out any need, though, to interview Olsen in the case.

It is official. Now charges have been dropped against Tim Masters. He spent nine years in jail for a murder he always said he did not commit. New DNA evidence points to another suspect. A desperate end to a roller-coaster week on Wall Street. The Dow closing down 171 points to finish at 12,207. Both the NASDAQ and the S&P also fell.

And moving levers (ph), beware. There are reports the herky- jerky photography that's getting so popular with the kids these days might be hazardous to your health. Some viewers of the monster hit "Cloverfield" are complaining of nausea. Some medical experts say that from vertigo, possibly brought on from the shaky, handheld camerawork, Anderson.

Good thing I don't go to the movies.

COOPER: When I went to see that movie, there was actually a sign in the ticket office that said that. I actually saw the movie and I left feeling nauseous, but not because of the herky-jerky camera movement. I just didn't think it was very good.

HILL: Really? Ouch.

COOPER: Yes. I know. It hurt.

HILL: The AC Friday night movie review.

COOPER: That's right. Don't take my word for it. I mean, go, whatever. The effects were good.

HILL: Go get sick on your own.

COOPER: I just -- you know, it was just too much for me.

Anyway, tonight's "Beat 360." You've heard how it works. We put a picture up on the 360 blog. We ask people to come up with a caption that's better than one of ours. We play some cheesy music.

And here it is tonight; there's the picture. Doesn't need a whole lot of explanation. Obama on the campaign trail, greeting yet another future voter.

So our staff winner, Julia, wrote, "Speaking of change, I think she needs one."

HILL: I like that one. I think it's very clever.

COOPER: Yes. And our viewer winner, "Momma? No, it's Obama." That was by Liz in Toledo, Ohio. So there you go.

Check out the other ideas at There was one someone on our staff came up with, something about like, "No, no, no, I said Hillary Clinton was the candidate of change."


COOPER: Anyway, it was all in the timing.

HILL: Yes. COOPER: Feel free to play along on the blog, though.

Erica, "The Shot of the Day" is next. Wouldn't you like to see this actually happen to someone on TV sometime?

COOPER: I don't know.

COOPER: Are you going to show it?

HILL: Maybe we're going to make you wait for it.

COOPER: Maybe so. Whet the appetite.





COOPER: Stay tuned to find out the real story when 360 continues.


COOPER: Now our "Shot of the Day." We found it on YouTube. This newsman reporting on a local infestation of the Canadian brown finch. Watch what happens.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... to roost in their very own backyard. An infestation of Canadian brown finches, which is a small -- I guess I should have seen that one coming, huh?



HILL: Oh, no. Say it ain't so.

COOPER: It ain't so. We think -- we're pretty sure it's just a parody of a news report. We don't think it actually got him in the mouth. We hear that the same guy has been known to kind of stage things like this before, but we just kind of thought it was funny.

HILL: It is funny.

COOPER: Now you know...

HILL: Just happy it didn't happen to me.

COOPER: Yes, as am I.

HILL: Real or otherwise. COOPER: That it didn't happen to you.

I notice this is your last day at Headline News.

HILL: It is.

COOPER: It is. And it's been probably a very emotional day for you there.

HILL: It's been a little emotional.

COOPER: I know. And you're moving up from Atlanta. You're coming to the big city.

HILL: I am.

COOPER: And we're all thrilled to have you. And I'm using the royal "we," because that's what TV anchors do. You don't talk about "I." It's "we," a collective "we."

HILL: It's all about the people.

COOPER: We're very excited to have you here. And...

HILL: Thank you.

COOPER: We hope you enjoy it. And I just wanted to, for a moment...

HILL: Oh, no.

COOPER: ... because you and I have been working together for a long time. Some folks don't even realize how long. I found -- you're not going to -- you don't probably remember when -- when I took this picture of you, but I found this picture of you from your first day here. It seems like a long time ago.

HILL: I'm glad that that picture is coming with me from Headline News at CNN.


HILL: Do you know what that's from? Do you remember?

COOPER: I think -- well, it was your first day of work. That's from your I.D.

HILL: Yes. That was sixth grade.

COOPER: Sixth grade, was it?

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: That is -- that's a mullet to beat all mullets.

HILL: I don't really... COOPER: That's like the creme de la creme, the Cadillac of the -- that's like the Cadillac Escalade of the mullets.

HILL: You know -- with spinners. It's not really, like, a mullet. I always thought of it more as a lion's mane.

COOPER: You can think of it whatever you want. It's a mullet, honey.

HILL: A lot of Aquanet went into that.

COOPER: And it kind of made me -- made me think back on the mullet and just, you know, I missed it. So we kind of put together a little retrospective. Yes.

HILL: Yes, that's not my dad, by the way, in case you're wondering.

COOPER: Just watch.

(MUSIC: "Memories")

COOPER: So many mullets over the years. I don't even know what is even going on in that picture. I don't even want to know. I don't ask questions.

Alive with pleasure.

HILL: Oh, yes.

COOPER: He felt he needed to cut the shirt.

And there, finally, you, the mullet of all mullets.

HILL: Wow.

COOPER: So welcome.

HILL: Thank you.

COOPER: Just a little bit of what we have in store for you, Erica Hill.

HILL: Thank you. I look forward to it.

COOPER: As do we.

If you see some other pictures of Erica with a mullet or a "King of the Hill"/"Lion King" haircut, what did she call it?

HILL: Roar.


HILL: Roar. I'm teaching Westin, when we say "lion," he goes "roar." And so... COOPER: OK. What was that you named that haircut?

HILL: It's sort of more of like a lion's mane.

COOPER: A lion's mane.

HILL: It's the Statue of Liberty. That's the thing. I'm moving to New York. It's the Statue of Liberty.

COOPER: All right, Erica. Yes.

Well, if you see some pictures of Erica with her lion's mane, tell us about it at You can go there to see all the most recent "Shots." We also have other segments from the program. You can read the blog, check out the "Beat 360" picture. There's anything. You can get your hair cut at that site,


COOPER: Well, over the next hour, Soledad O'Brien joins me for a look at race and politics, an encore presentation.