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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
'Bitter' Campaign Trail Debate Heats Up; Secrets of Polygamy
Aired April 12, 2008 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: And, tonight, we begin with breaking news.
Barack Obama fighting back hard against charges he slammed the voters of Pennsylvania by calling them bitter. We will play you what he said, what Hillary Clinton said about what he said, the McCain reaction, along with the late and loud reaction from Senator Obama himself.
Also, Bill Clinton opening his mouth and reopening the whole Hillary dodging sniper fire story. We have got the latest on that for you, too.
Later, more secrets of polygamy revealed and some new details surfacing about another possible accuser.
CNN's David Mattingly with all the new developments from Warren Jeffs' polygamist kingdom. Perspective as well from correspondent Michael Watkiss, as well as Carolyn Jessop, a survivor of the Jeffs' FLDS church -- all that and more.
First, though, Barack Obama on the offensive tonight, after his recent marks about Pennsylvania voters came to light today, touching off a political storm. He made those remarks last Sunday at a fund- raiser in California. They came in a larger context, Senator Obama talking about how people in Pennsylvania and Ohio have been let down by their government for years. But that's not what sparked the controversy.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But the truth is, is that our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives.
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HILL: Both the Clinton and the McCain camps were quick to pounce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's being reported that my opponent said that the people of Pennsylvania who faced hard times are bitter.
Well, that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania, I meet people who are resilient, who are optimistic, who are positive, who are rolling up their sleeves.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: And then this from a senior McCain adviser: "It shows an elitism and condescension toward hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking." The adviser goes on to say, "It's hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans."
And then, just moments ago tonight, Barack Obama, wrapping up a rally in Terre Haute, Indiana, where he hit back hard at both the Clinton and McCain allegations.
CNN's Candy Crowley was there. She joins us live now.
He jumped right into this, Candy. What did he have to say specifically?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, his explanation for his words.
He said listen: What I said was that, for 25 years, working- class Americans have essentially gotten the shaft, that they -- through the Bush administration, through the Clinton administration, everyone kept telling them, help is on the way. Nothing has happened. So, they have grown cynical and they have grown bitter.
He said: What I have -- what I said was, then they turn to their religion for help, or they -- they vote on the gun issue, that kind of thing.
And then, as you know, Erica, even in politics, the best defense is a really good offense. And that's where he went.
HILL: So, he went with the good offense. The Pennsylvania primary, of course, less than two weeks away -- this is what everybody is focused on. How are these comments and the reactions from the other candidates going to come into play?
CROWLEY: Well, we will see. You know, you never really know what's going to happen with these things. Like, I have seen many things come up that kind of bubble up to the surface, whether they go through the Internet or sometimes through the press corps, and people talk about, oh, she said this. What does this mean? And they have turned into nothing.
I have seen other things that have turned into great, big things. So, right now, obviously, the Clinton and the McCain camps see this as huge. They believe -- they have -- some of their surrogates are out there saying, you know, Obama has lost the campaign. The Clinton campaign is hitting it very hard.
But you don't really know how -- we're -- we're kind of in a bubble here, between the politicians and the media. We're not really sure how this is playing in rural communities, how they're taking this. So, it's one of those things you -- you have to wait and see. But, right now, what it really is, between these campaigns, is a political football.
HILL: A little bit of tit for tat, it sounds like.
I think we actually do have some of that sound available now from the event where Senator Obama spoke earlier.
Let's take a quick listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Out of touch?
OBAMA: Out of touch?
I mean, John McCain, it took him three tries to finally figure out that the home foreclosure crisis was a problem, and to come up with a plan for it, and he's saying, I'm out of touch?
OBAMA: Senator -- Senator Clinton voted for a credit card- sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt, after taking money from the financial services company, and she says I'm out of touch?
No, I'm in touch. I know exactly what's going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: So, there's the offense that you mentioned, Candy.
Broadening this out -- I'm going to make you get your crystal ball out again once more here -- is this something that you imagine could come back even in the general election, come back into play?
CROWLEY: Oh, sure. Anything that hurts either of these candidates, either Clinton or Obama, or, for that matter, John McCain, anything that hurts them now is going to come back double when they get to the general election campaign, because then it is one party against another. The stakes are the White House, and it really ratchets these things up.
And you can't imagine the things that come back to haunt these candidates from the primary season.
HILL: That's when we could really see some bitterness, I think.
HILL: Candy Crowley, always -- always good to have you with us.
We want to get some perspective now from CNN contributors Roland Martin and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
Good to have you both here.
We start off with this.
Looking at, Gloria, the gap -- we were hearing about the gap narrowing in Pennsylvania, that Hillary Clinton was closing in a little bit. What's going to happen now in Pennsylvania, two weeks away? How much of an impact?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think anything happen -- can happen in the last days of a political campaign.
And, as you were saying, the polls are narrowing. Obama is closing in on a little bit on Hillary Clinton. And, so, every word is parsed. I think what you played earlier that Obama said was inartfully stated. He clearly came out fighting this evening. He now knows what it's like to fight against two opponents, instead of just one, because he's also battling John McCain.
And, in his original statement, he managed to lump together every hot point in American politics. You talk about the economy. You talk about immigration. You talked about religion. He talked about guns. He talked about everything in there that gave folks the opportunity to pounce on him, which is exactly what you would expect at this point in a political campaign.
And I would guess that those folks who don't like Barack Obama might see something sinister in this and say that, in fact, he's an elitist and was talking down to rural America or talking down to blue- color voters. And those folks who like Barack Obama are going to see something else.
HILL: So, Roland Martin, when you look at this, is this going to help or hurt overall? ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The only way we're going to know if this is going to help overall is what happens with folks like me and Gloria on this network and others, who are columnists...
HILL: So, it's all up to the two of you? You two are now deciding Pennsylvania?
MARTIN: No. No. Really, what it points to, because what happens is, you can look at his statement and look at it in many different ways.
For instance, when he made the comment about religion, in terms of people who cling to religion, I called several pastors between when I was on "LOU DOBBS" earlier tonight and A.C. 360, and the pastors said, look, when the economy is tough, guess what? We have got more people at the altar call or are calling me for prayer.
When the economy is good, you might see them at Bible study on Wednesday. Then you might not. People are going to see it in different ways.
But you what? Something that is very interesting, earlier on "LOU DOBBS," Robert Zimmerman was asked by Kitty Pilgrim, on a scale of one to 10, what is this? He said, it's an 11.
No, Eliot Spitzer with a prostitute, that is an 11.
MARTIN: This is not an 11.
But, again, you see what happens when an issue gets framed by various pundits. And then the people begin to pick up on that. We will see probably in 48 hours how that all plays out.
HILL: Right. Yes, the way issues get framed, I believe we call that politics.
HILL: But looking a little bit closer, let's broaden this out to the responses that were given. Gloria, were they appropriate? Were they what you expected? I mean, they were quick this time around.
BORGER: Well, you have to be quick.
I mean, you're heading into a -- into Pennsylvania on April 22.
HILL: But it is admittedly getting -- getting -- getting much faster...
(CROSSTALK) BORGER: Yes, absolutely.
MARTIN: Oh, absolutely.
BORGER: And, you know, the Clinton campaign -- the funny thing about this was, the Clinton campaign pounced on this right away, obviously. The McCain campaign pounced on it. Tonight, my BlackBerry was buzzing with an e-mail from a Clinton campaign spokesman quoting Republicans saying that this is over.
MARTIN: Now, that was fun.
HILL: I saw that same e-mail.
HILL: They're sending out those talking points.
BORGER: So, you know, they will take the support wherever they can get it.
Obama came out fighting, but there is going to be a fight over this, because his original words are not exactly what he said tonight in explaining them. He's going to have a little bit more explaining to do, I think.
HILL: A little more explaining, too. I want to make sure we get this in tonight.
There's been a lot of talk today about the Clinton camp, because former President Bill Clinton speaking out recently and talking about that mistake that had got so much attention that Hillary Clinton was talking about what actually happened when that plane landed in Bosnia.
I'm not sure that we have the sound, so I'm just going to -- so I'm just going to read for you what he said yesterday: "A lot of the way this whole campaign has been covered has amused me. But there was a lot of fulminating because Hillary, one time, late at night, misstated -- and immediately apologized for it -- what happened to her in Bosnia in 1995."
Critics pouncing on that, of course, because it didn't happen one time. It happened several times. It happened in the morning, not late at night.
Roland Martin, how damaging is this to the Clinton campaign? Because Senator Clinton really came out, it sounded like, and chastised her husband again.
MARTIN: How about this, Bill Clinton; he was tired and was exhausted when he made that comment saying she was tired and exhausted?
I know -- Hillary Clinton is probably saying, Bill, do me a favor. Shut up. Please. just be quiet.
MARTIN: I mean, she successfully got away from this. It died down. Then, all of a sudden, he brings it back up.
I mean, I think what she probably is going to do is, she's probably going to send him a BlackBerry e-mail every day: Here are the three things you're talking about. And if you get off that, you will get spanked. That's what needs to happen to Bill Clinton.
BORGER: Are you saying that the former president of the United States needs talking points, Roland?
MARTIN: Yes. He needs...
MARTIN: He needs a David Letterman-like placard: Only say these three things, Bill. That's it.
BORGER: You know, the thing that surprises me, honestly, is how rusty Bill Clinton is at campaigning. He -- when I covered him, he was the best campaigner I had ever seen and probably will ever see.
But he has gotten a little rusty, and he gets off the talking points once in a while.
HILL: We will see if he can stick to them.
MARTIN: When you got all that money, you get rusty.
HILL: We're going to have to leave it there, guys. We're out of time.
HILL: Roland, Gloria, thank you both.
MARTIN: Thanks, Erica.
HILL: We do want to mention a quick programming note, too. Sunday night, here on CNN, Senators Clinton and Obama will face the hard questions on faith and politics. Campbell Brown leads the Compassion Forum Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.
And also a reminder for you: I am blogging tonight. I swear, I'm going to get there. To join the conversation, log on to CNN.com/360.
Just ahead: new developments out of the Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect, reports of another young women coming forward. We are going to update you on that developing story.
And then later, a closer look at the practice of polygamy beyond the headlines, outside Jeffs' FLDS sect. Gary Tuchman has that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And the kids, the range, how many kids?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than 30. All my kids are sweethearts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WARREN JEFFS, FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS PROPHET: We live in such a wicked day. The people on this land of America are an adulterous generation. We do not want to be like them. The prophets have declared, I would rather have my sons or daughters in the grave than commit sins of immorality.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HILL: Yet, that is precisely what his FLDS followers stand accused of doing.
In some ways, as you will see tonight, this is a story as old as the West. Yet, it is also as immediate as the headlines. And that is where we begin, with the latest developments, starting with a brave young woman dialing a cell phone. And the information just kept coming.
Since that call, 416 children have been taken out of the compound. The country has been shocked by the stories of alleged forced marriages, sex dens, and ritual abuse, some of it allegedly happening in front of church elders.
Tonight, both the identity and the location of the informant remain a mystery. Her alleged victimizer is still at large.
But there are new developments concerning both, and some late new information about another potential accuser.
CNN's David Mattingly is working the story. He joins us now from San Angelo, Texas.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, those new developments coming out of Colorado City, Arizona, the headquarters, the location of the headquarters of the FLDS.
Law enforcement sources there are telling us they're investigating a call from a young girl who claims that she was being abused by a male family member in her home. We're telling you this because this call is very similar to what Texas authorities received here. And you can see how one allegation can lead to a very big case. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MATTINGLY (voice-over): The discovery of what an informant called sex beds in the temple of the polygamist compound in West Texas was a surprise even to former members of this fundamentalist sect. They tell us these beds are unique to the Texas compound and could be evidence of disturbing marriage rituals created by the jailed leader Warren Jeffs.
MARLEIGH MEISNER, SPOKESWOMAN, TEXAS CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES: It's not a stretch to imagine that they would want to, after performing what they considered a sacred ceremony in their sacred temple, do it in -- consummate it, so it would be valid in -- on that holy property, what they consider to be holy.
MATTINGLY: Newly released lists of evidence show Texas authorities seized ceremonial white clothing from more than 70 men and women. Former sect members say these clothes were never to be worn outside the temple and were used for all marriages.
MEISNER: Yes, they would definitely be worn during the marriage ceremony. When I had my spiritual marriage, we wore white, even though it wasn't in the temple. And even the men dressed white head to toe, white ties, white everything, white shoes. It's just a symbol of purity.
MATTINGLY: Attorneys for the compound have had no comment.
Authorities also took 292 boxes of documents, personal letters, journals, family photographs, and dozens of computers and hard drives, all presumed to be part of building a case of alleged sexual abuse of teenage girls.
(on camera): The raid started with a phone call from a 16-year- old mother named Sarah. She claimed that her husband physically and sexually abused her. But, when officers got to the ranch, they couldn't find her. But the evidence they collected suggested that they tried to find a paper trail.
(voice-over): They confiscated medical records from multiple women named Sarah. They took lab receipts, a bag belonging to a Sarah. They also found a photograph of a Sarah, but is it the Sarah?
(on camera): Have you found the 16-year-old mother?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, we are hopeful that we have the 16- year-old mother, but I cannot confirm that at this time.
MATTINGLY: Out of the 416 children now in state custody, court documents show only 122 have been named. A few have multiple spellings. Some list no last name.
Gaining their trust and possibly collecting more evidence is slow and costly. Basic food and care runs $25,000 a day, officials say. Services from the city of San Angelo to the shelters and support personnel approaches $60,000 a day. And a judge has decided all the children will remain in the shelters until a hearing late next week.
HILL: David, those documents, which also show authorities found a document about cyanide poisoning, what do we know about that?
MATTINGLY: Well, we have talked to law enforcement. We have talked to some former FLDS members. They're not really sure what to make of that.
It just came out as a line item on that long list, that mountain of evidence that they took out of here, a document regarding cyanide poisoning. There's no context. There is no indication in any of the documents we have seen that there was some sort of plot to use it. there was nothing in the evidence that showed that anyone found any cyanide actually at the compound.
So, at this point, it's one of those mini little mysteries that keep coming out of this compound and we're finding in these documents. Apparently, authorities just felt it was significant enough to pick up and put in with that pile of evidence that they were gathering.
HILL: Definitely grabs your attention.
David Mattingly, thanks.
Up next: two people with unique insight into the raid, reporter Michael Watkiss, who has been covering this story from the very beginning, and Carolyn Jessop, who escaped the FLDS church.
Also ahead, new developments in the case of a fugitive Marine captured in Mexico.
HILL: We are digging deeper tonight into the secrets of polygamy, as new details come to light about the alleged sexual abuse inside Warren Jeffs' sect.
Michael Watkiss, an Emmy Award-winning correspondent for CNN affiliate KTVK Phoenix, has been covering this story for years. Carolyn Jessop escaped the FLDS with her eight children. She chronicles her experience in the book "Escape."
Carolyn and Michael, good to have you both back with us tonight.
As we are starting to hear more about this new evidence coming to light -- Carolyn, I want to start with you -- word that there may have been now another phone call, this one coming from Colorado City, Arizona. Does that surprise you?
CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER POLYGAMIST WIFE: No. Actually, I have heard that there have been some complaints coming out of Colorado City and that things up there are kind of breaking down. Some of these young girls over there are starting to realize that, if they can get word to different sources outside the community, they can get help. HILL: So, if they can get help and if they're realizing that they can in fact make these phone calls, could this be the beginning of the end for Warren Jeffs' sect?
JESSOP: Well, it could.
A lot of it depends on law enforcement. If they -- if they just go in and halfway do this, and then leave these girls at the mercy of perpetrators, it will just silence everything down and it will actually play to the advantage of the perpetrators. So, it's really important that law enforcement handle this when they get these calls.
HILL: Michael Watkiss, I know you have talked a lot about the way law enforcement has handled these things, how to deal with those calls. Moving forward, is this going to be the way, in fact, that perhaps some of these sects are broken up?
MICHAEL WATKISS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, I think it's certainly going to have a significant impact. And I think we need to be cautious about talking about a girl who is still out there. My concern is, if she's still in the community, she could disappear.
So, we have heard long before the Texas story broke about another young woman along the border who may be reaching out for help. My hope is that they're able to find her, separate her, and protect her. But, right now, she's still out there. And -- and the danger is that she's in danger. And there's no question about that.
So -- and -- and my concern right now, really, I think everything -- nothing else really matters, except the well-being of the 416 who have been taken out of that compound and the 16 -- the brave 16-year- old girl who initiated all this. I'm really hopeful that Texas authorities will eventually tell us, they found her, she's safe, and now protected.
HILL: So many people want to know that, I know.
Of those 400 children that came out, there's always the question of, how are these children going to adapt? How will they cope in this very different society?
Carolyn, how do you think they're dealing with it now? What do they need at this point?
JESSOP: Well, I think that they're receiving the care that they need. And I think that, after a few days of just being in the safe environment, I -- from what I would assume, they're probably doing quite well now.
I think the initial being removed and the unknown, that's very fearful for a child. But children are so resilient. Within a matter of a few days, they can readapt to a new environment.
HILL: And we hope that is the case.
The Eldorado compound, you actually have a fairly close connection to this. As I understand it, it's your former husband who is running it?
JESSOP: Yes, Frederick Merril Jessop (ph). I was married to him for 17 years. He fathered eight children with me. And he's the man at the center of this and the crimes that are being committed. And I'm just so happy I am free of him and his evil.
HILL: When you hear some of the details, Carolyn, about the marriage bed that has emerged -- we hear there was a skylight above it that we could see from the aerials, at least, on the top of the temple there -- are those things that ring true to you? Are those things that you had experienced?
JESSOP: Well, things were different in -- within the FLDS before I left.
I mean, this is -- this is a crime that has advanced to a whole new level. I'm just so relieved that I have my daughters out of there.
HILL: And understandably so.
Michael, I know that you always say that you are pursuing this because of the children. Do you fear, though, that these 416 children may end up having to go back?
WATKISS: Well, I think many of them eventually will.
The bottom line is that they have allowed them some opportunity of freedom now. I talked to some of the CPS workers who are staying in the same hotel with us in San Angelo. And they said they seem to really feel like they were making inroads with the young kids. They were playing and laughing and playing with toys they had never seen. The younger women wanted to talk to the Companies workers.
It's the older women. Of the 139 women, be sure, make no mistake about it, some of them are really enforcers. They're there watching, seeing who is communicating with the outside world. And, in many ways, in some of the older women, I think it's almost the Stockholm syndrome. They definitely have bought into this. Their whole lives have been invested in this lifestyle, if you will.
And, so, they're going to be real -- they're going to be sort of the -- the difficult thing for the outside world to overcome, because these women are watching these children as they communicate with the CPS workers.
HILL: All right, we will continue to follow it.
Michael Watkiss, Carolyn Jessop, really appreciate your insight tonight. Thank you.
JESSOP: Thank you.
WATKISS: Thank you.
HILL: Still to come on the program, you will meet a polygamist family up close. We are going to take you to the home of one man who has at least 10 wives, 30 children. Now, the family is not affiliated with Warren Jeffs' kingdom, but they do share some of the same beliefs. Find out why.
Also, a U.S. Marine accused of killing a pregnant fellow Marine captured in Mexico. When, though, will he face charges here in the U.S.?
And new developments tonight in the case of eight teens accused of beating a 16-year-old classmate -- the punches and the slaps caught on tape.
HILL: Coming up: more secrets of polygamy revealed by a polygamist family, a man with more than 10 wives and 30 children.
First, though, Randi Kaye joining us with a 360 bulletin.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Erica.
There are new details on the U.S. Marine accused of killing a pregnant Marine. A prosecutor believes Corporal Cesar Laurean will waive extradition in Mexico and be back in North Carolina sooner, rather than later. But it will take at least 60 days to file the paperwork with the Mexican government. Laurean was caught yesterday, three months after he vanished.
A Florida judge has set bond at $30,000 or more for each of the eight teenagers accused in taking part in this videotaped beating of another teen.
And American Airlines has canceled 200 flights scheduled for Saturday. That's on top of more than 3,000 flights canceled over the past four days. The carrier is still checking wiring on MD-80 jets. It expects to be back to a normal schedule on Sunday.
HILL: Let's keep our fingers crossed on that one.
Randi, coming up at the top of the hour, we actually have more on airline safety concerns. Tonight, a CNN special investigation unit report on TWA Flight 800, "No Survivors: It Could Happen Again." Why government officials say the danger is far from over. That's at 11 p.m. Eastern.
Still ahead tonight on the program, one husband, 10 to 15 wives, dozens of children. But this polygamist family says they're not what you think, not what you typically see on TV.
And here's tonight's "Beat 360." A worker fixing power cables in central Beijing. Here's the caption from our staff winner, Charlie. "The Chinese check the mixed signals they're getting on the Olympics."
That's a pretty good one. I think it's pretty clever. KAYE: Yes. We had some good ones today.
HILL: We had some really clever ones we couldn't say on the air.
KAYE: Right. Absolutely.
HILL: But we all got a good chuckle here.
If you think you can do better, logon to CNN.com/360, send in those submissions. We're going to announce our viewer winner at the end of the program.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: We can't get enough of that one. The voice you hear singing there belongs to Warren Jeffs. The images here, actually part of his kingdom.
Jeffs' breakaway church may represent the largest and perhaps well-known polygamist sect in the country, but it is not the only one. If you've ever wondered how they live, tonight we can answer that question for you.
You're about to meet one very proud polygamist family. They are not connected to Jeffs, though. They invited our cameras into their home to show us what normal means to them.
Here's 360's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A daughter and a mother.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know there are people that make fun of me, but I don't think they know.
TUCHMAN: What they don't know is that daughter Christine lives in a 32-bedroom house with many siblings and many mothers. For security reasons, mother Linda doesn't want to give exact numbers.
(on camera) Do you know how many wives there are?
LINDA, POLYGAMIST WIFE: Yes, I do.
TUCHMAN: Between 10 and 15?
LINDA: Yes. That would be safe to say.
TUCHMAN: And the kids, their names? How many kids? LINDA: More than 30.
My kids are supervised.
TUCHMAN: Most polygamist homes are not this big, but signs of a nice luxury to have in these kinds of families.
(on camera) Looks like we're stopping.
(voice-over) The children are all fathered by one man, one husband, who, because polygamy is against the law, doesn't feel safe appearing on camera. Neither do the rest of his wives, who in most cases, have paying jobs. They won't tell us what their husband does to pay for such a big house.
Here in the neighboring communities of Colorado City and Centennial Park, Arizona, most homes are polygamist. People don't want their last names used, because they're afraid.
But Mark doesn't mind talking. He's only married to one woman, but that's just temporary.
(on camera) Would you like to have ten or more wives like your father did?
MARK, RAISED POLYGAMIST: Sure. Why not? The more the merrier.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's not only men who talk like that here. We gathered a group of polygamists from different families who say, as fundamentalist Mormons, God has obligated them to live in pluralistic marriages.
JOYCE, POLYGAMIST: And we do believe that he has commanded it.
TUCHMAN: Joyce doesn't want to divulge how many wives she shares her husband with or how many children they have, but she says she's very happy.
(on camera) Aren't there times when you just say, "I just wish he was with me and had me alone"?
JOYCE: No. Honestly, no. I...
TUCHMAN: You're sharing your husband, right?
JOYCE: Yes, yes.
TUCHMAN: That's OK with you?
JOYCE: You know, they're my best friends.
TUCHMAN: Your other wives?
JOYCE: Absolutely. They really are. In fact, I love my husband dearly, but the other ladies in the house probably have a closer -- I might have a closer relationship with them. TUCHMAN (voice-over): In an effort to avoid trouble, most of the polygamist families in this community get an official marriage certificate only for the first marriage in the household.
Priscilla lives with several sister wives, as they're called, and many children.
(on camera) We see women out there who say you guys are just being taken advantage of by men who want to be with lots of women.
MARLENE, POLYGAMIST WIFE: We say you're being taken advantage of. That's what we would say to them.
MARLENE: Because so many of them don't have a committed relationship.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): They know their childhoods and their families sound very unusual to most people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have more than four mothers.
TUCHMAN (on camera): And how many brothers and sisters?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Total at the end of the family, we had more than -- more than 30.
JOYCE: I had three. And we had more than 20 children in our family.
TUCHMAN: How many of you have had relatives who have gone to jail for polygamy? So six of you. Grandparents, parents?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Parents, father.
TUCHMAN: In jail for polygamy. And how did that affect your families?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was devastating.
TUCHMAN: Would any of you let your 14- or 15-year-old daughters get married?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
TUCHMAN: Sixteen or 17?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.
TUCHMAN: Not till they're 18?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or older.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or older.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): They say they've all watched the new HBO show about polygamy called "Big Love."
(on camera) Do you like it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's entertaining. It's television.
TUCHMAN: Is it realistic?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
TUCHMAN: A lot of sex in that show, isn't there?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Too much. Which is why a lot of people -- a lot of our people stopped watching after the first couple of episodes.
TUCHMAN: So that's unrealistic?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes -- well, I don't know.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Which brings up this question: how is it decided which wife the husband sleeps with on a given night?
JOYCE: We draw straws. And the one with the short straw has to. We love our husband very much. We have a line to communicate (ph).
TUCHMAN: These women say their husbands do have significant stamina.
(on camera) What an ego boost for the man, to be loved by so many women.
JOYCE: What an ego boost for the women to be loved by such a good man. It's a win-win proposition.
TUCHMAN: These people enjoy joking around, but they get very serious when they declare the mainstream Mormon Church made a mistake when polygamy was banned more than a century ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We stand in support of the principle of plural marriage as a sacred religious tenet.
TUCHMAN: Polygamy will not be disappearing any time soon here from this nook in Arizona.
(on camera) Are any of you ladies at the point where you would not want your husband to take another wife?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The more the better.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Colorado City, Arizona. (END VIDEOTAPE)
HILL: Up next, two women who know first-hand what it's like to live in a polygamist family. They are not only sister wives; they are sisters married to the same man. They will join us, live.
Also ahead, up close with the young man known as the Lost Boys. They've escaped the FLDS, but escaping the controlling polygamist life they once lived is far more difficult.
HILL: They don't live in compounds. They don't wear prairie dresses. This modern polygamist family, in fact, lives just outside Salt Lake City. One husband, three wives, lots of children.
The husband is a successful businessman and says their way of life isn't about control; it's not about sex. He says it's about trust.
Two of the wives from that home are with us tonight, Valerie X and Vicki X. They do not want their last name revealed. They both join us now.
Good to have you both with us. The first question on everybody's mind has got to be what made you decide that you wanted to be in a polygamist marriage?
Valerie, how did you get to this point?
VALERIE X, POLYGAMIST WIFE: Well, I grew up in this lifestyle, and I thought I had what I considered to be a really happy childhood. And so it was something I thought about as it came to be time, you know, for me to look for a mate and be married.
And -- but it was a really long and well-thought-out decision as well, that I decided that this is something I wanted for myself and my life.
HILL: Vicki, how much about -- how much of this is about religion? Because we've heard so much over the last few days that, at least in Warren Jeffs' FLDS sect, you have to have three wives to get into heaven, really. Is this about salvation for you and your sister wives and your husband?
VICKI X, POLYGAMIST WIFE: Well, what I'd like people to understand is that there is really so much diversity and varying degrees of beliefs and understandings.
And for me it was -- it's not anything about any particular number or anything. It's just something that resonated within me. And since I have been involved in this lifestyle, it's something that I feel like has just expanded me as a person.
HILL: Do -- it expands you as a person, but realistically, it's not what a lot of people in this country would see as normal. So in your daily life, do you have to hide, Vicki? Are you afraid to come on tonight?
VICKI: It is a little nerve-racking, yes. But it's something that I feel is very important to do, especially in light of the circumstances of what's going on in Texas, just because I do want people to see the diversity. I would like to see it decriminalized so that -- so that those communities don't feel like they need to go underground, and so that if there are abuses they can be taken care of in a decent manner.
HILL: So then you both believe -- and Valerie, I'll send this one to you. Do you believe that, in fact, because polygamy is illegal it has actually helped lead to some of the abuses that we're seeing on the compound in Eldorado?
VALERIE: I don't know if I would say that it helped lead to it, but it certainly made people go more underground and feel like they were considered criminal, and so they just wanted to be off the radar.
And these -- you know, my grandfather also went to prison, and these stories are handed down. And so, you know, you try to keep a low profile.
HILL: What do you think, then, is the biggest misconception when it comes to plural marriage?
VALERIE: Well, there are so many stereotypes that the misconception is that we are all in a cult-like -- you know, maybe what we're seeing on the news now. And it's so not that way and that we all think that we have to do this in order to get to heaven or that we force our children into this. And those things are just not true, and they're not the way we live and the hundreds of people that we know live.
VICKI: I feel the abuse factor is a huge misconception and stereotype, because I just -- I feel like, you know, the national statistic is one in three women, and if it's -- if that's national, it's national. It's not exclusive to people who live plural marriage, and those things need to be investigated case by case.
HILL: What about your children? Because as I understand it, they go to public school. What did they say at school? Do they need to hide the fact that they have three moms, Vicki?
VICKI: You know, there are some people that they felt comfortable to tell about their life, and they come to our home, and they feel really comfortable there. And I think it's great.
But yes, there are some people they feel like they need to kind of keep it a secret from, and I don't like that either. I would like them to feel comfortable and be able to be open about it and be proud of it. I'm proud of it.
HILL: Valerie, do you worry, though, that being so open about it could land you or your husband in jail?
VALERIE: Definitely. It's an underlying fear which, you know, is exactly the reason why we speak out. Because hopefully, you know, it will come where it can be decriminalized or at least people will not view it as they do. And then we'll be able to walk more freely. And our children will be able to, you know, stand tall. And whether they choose to live this way or not, because that's something that we certainly don't force upon them.
HILL: Vicki and Valerie, thanks for your time tonight.
VICKI: Thank you for having us.
VALERIE: Thank you.
HILL: And for more about Vicki and Valerie and their life at home, check out the blog entry from their husband Joe. We have it on our Web site, CNN.com/360.
Up next, another angle on polygamy. You'll meet one of the so- called Lost Boys, ousted from the church, now trying to find his way in mainstream society.
And the photo online of Vice president Dick Cheney that has plenty of people talking. Just what is that reflection of people on his sunglasses, is it really a naked woman? We'll have the details. Stick around.
HILL: 360 has been following the story of Warren Jeffs and his polygamist sect for almost two years now, ever since the FBI put Jeffs on its Most Wanted List back in May of 2006. Jeffs is now serving time in Utah after being convicted of rape as an accomplice.
The raid in Texas this week has refocused attention on the plight of young girls within that sect, but the boys can also pay a heavy price.
CNN's Dan Simon has that angle of the story up close.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Music, video games, an unmade bed. Typical for a 20-something guy; except Frankie is anything but typical. At 18, he left his home, his family and his faith.
FRANKIE, LOST BOY: My dad got kicked out two weeks previous to me leaving. I don't want to become 50 years old and have my family pulled away like that.
SIMON: Frankie's family was pulled away on orders by Warren Jeffs. By leaving, he became a so-called Lost Boy, one of the roughly 400 young men who were kicked out of the sect or like Frankie, left on their own. Some Lost Boys claim they were banished to allow the older men to have more wives.
FRANKIE: This is my -- my room. SIMON: We first met Frankie last summer. When he left the sect, he left behind three mothers and nearly three dozen siblings, and two of his sisters were married to Warren Jeffs.
(on camera) He wouldn't be very happy with you now?
FRANKIE: No, he wouldn't. In fact, he would be very angry that I'm talking to you.
SIMON (voice-over): Frankie says when he first left, he hardly spoke.
FRANKIE: I'm not supposed to be talking to you outside people, you gentiles or whatever -- however they word it. It's very twisted.
SIMON: Dozens of Lost Boys gather in houses like Robbie Holm's to blow off steam and drink. Frankie and others say some even turn to drugs.
ROBBIE HOLM, FORMER COLORADO CITY RESIDENT: They're going to do what feels good to them, and drinking and alcohol and drugs are one of those things they want to do.
SIMON (on camera): Of the so-called Lost Boys, how many of them do you think are doing drugs?
HOLM: At least 98 percent.
SIMON (voice-over): It's clear these boys could use some help.
(on camera) Here's the problem: when the kids leave their structured, religion-driven lives, they find themselves totally unprepared for normal society. Most have no money, no real education and, worse yet, nowhere to live.
Well, one group is trying to change that. This home is the first of its kind dedicated to helping the Lost Boys find their way.
(voice-over) St. George, Utah, has become an epicenter for Lost Boys. When we visited last August, this houses with being renovated to become a home and haven for ten Lost Boys.
Michelle Benward, a psychologist and activist for Lost Boys, led the project.
MICHELLE BENWARD, PSYCHOLOGIST: So it's really a transitional home. It's an opportunity for them to have a place to stay, food to eat and a time to sort of adjust.
SIMON: Frankie, who works in construction, volunteered his time on the home. He hoped it would smooth the transition from the madness of Colorado City to mainstream society.
FRANKIE: This is the holy Bible.
SIMON: Frankie told us he was still struggling to understand the faith he left behind. He did not condemn Warren Jeffs and the polygamist-based religion. In fact, in some ways he admired Jeffs.
FRANKIE: Warren, to me, would be like a psychiatrist to 15,000 people.
He figured out how to distill people's hearts into loving one another unconditionally.
SIMON: He even admitted he sometimes longed for his old life.
FRANKIE: I miss the society of it as far as somebody that cares.
SIMON: But Frankie insisted he wouldn't go back on his decision. Even if he did, his family would not accept him. Lost Boys are not welcomed back.
Dan Simon, CNN, St. George, Utah.
HILL: Randi Kaye now with us again with a "360 News and Business Bulletin."
KAYE: Hi, Erica.
On Wall Street, stocks tanked today. The Dow falling nearly 257 points to 12,325. The NASDAQ gave up 61 points, and the S&P lost nearly 28 points.
Now more numbers in the news. The White House says President and Mrs. Bush earned $719,274 in taxable income in 2007 and paid nearly $222,000 in federal taxes.
Vice President Cheney and his wife earned more than $2.5 million and owe more than $602,000 in taxes.
And speaking of Mr. Cheney, a picture of him allegedly fly- fishing in Idaho is getting a whole lot of buzz. It is posted on the White House Web site, and check out his shades, or actually, what's in his shades. Some people say they see a naked woman in the reflection there. Now, you can decide for yourself.
The White House says the reflection is clearly a hand casting a fly rod.
Now, we did say this was posted on the White House Web site. So you'd think if it was a naked woman -- I don't know.
HILL: I don't think so.
KAYE: I don't think so either.
HILL: I didn't even realize it at first. But even still, I'm with you. I don't think so. I'm not buying it. All right. Another picture for you, perhaps. It is Friday, of course, your last chance this week to "Beat 360." We posted tonight's picture on our Web site this morning. You have been very busy today. Hope you weren't slacking at work on the 360 Web site.
HILL: Tonight as we measure up -- right. That's all right, as long as you keep logging on.
HILL: Tonight's picture shows a Chinese worker fixing power cables in central Beijing. Tonight's staff winner, Charlie. His caption: "The Chinese check the mixed signals they're getting on the Olympics."
Yes, it's not easy these days.
Tonight's viewer winner is Lloyd. His entry: "Serving you proudly, the people of Mao Bell."
KAYE: Very good.
HILL: I like that one.
HILL: Plenty of other captions are at the Web site. You can check them out, see what your fellow viewers had to say: CNN.com/360.
Just ahead, we are apparently not the only ones who are glad it's Friday. In Cincinnati, our favorite local news casters kicking it old school on Dance Party Friday. Oh, just wait until you see these new moves. It will take you back. Next on 360.
HILL: All right, time now for "The Shot."
KAYE: Can't wait.
HILL: Yes. And this is so one worth waiting for. In case you missed the news, the New Kids on the Block are reuniting for a tour. Who isn't these days? The late '80s heartthrobs are almost in their 40s now. It's crazy.
This is big news for lots of people, including traffic reporter Bob Herzog of "Good Morning, Cincinnati," one of our favorite people. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB HERZOG, TRAFFIC REPORT, "GOOD MORNING, CINCINNATI": Listen up, everybody. If you want to take a chance, just get onboard. And do the New Kid dance.
New Kids on the Block are expected to announce today that they're going to reunite. They have a new album called "Hang Tough."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Is he excited?
HILL: I think he's really enjoying this. I think he's trying out.
They may need someone to back them up. What is there's a problem?
KAYE: Yes. He's joining the tour for sure.
HILL: Good stuff. We featured him before on our -- on 360 for "The Shot." Happy to have you back there, folks from "Good Morning, Cincinnati." At 5:45, by the way (ph).
Up next, the CNN special investigations unit, a report on the TWA Flight 800 disaster and why officials warn it will almost certainly happen again if something is not done. TWA Flight 800, "No Survivors: It Could Happen Again" is next.
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