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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Exit Signs for Hillary Clinton; Mining for Votes; Global Food Crisis Hits America; Inside an FLDS Home
Aired May 9, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Growing signs that the long Democratic primary campaign will soon be over. And White House worries, worries about the white vote, growing concerns about her growing sales pitch that she appeals, in her words, to hardworking Americans, white Americans. We've got the "Raw Politics."
And up later, close inside the FLDS. Meet a couple married as teenagers. They have six kids and are members of Warren Jeffs' secretive sect. They give "360" a rare inside look at FLDS family values.
Plus a First Family wedding at home on the range. New details about all the hoopla that will accompany or won't accompany Jenna Bush as she walks down the aisle tomorrow in Crawford, Texas.
But up first, new exit signs on the road to the Democratic presidential nomination. Barack Obama has nearly closed the gap in superdelegates, racking up seven today. Also today, a pair of former Bill Clinton insiders said in so many words, it's over.
Former Clinton White House staffer Ron Emanuel calling Senator Obama the presumptive nominee. And former Clinton chief of staff saying it's time for Hillary Clinton to concede. Whether they're right is for Senator Clinton to decide. So far though she's soldiering on and running like a candidate who can still see the finish line.
The "Raw Politics" from CNN's Candy Crowley.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton arrived in Central Point, Oregon last night, two hours late and pumped up. My lord, said a top lawmaker, I am in awe of her grit.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I apologize that we were kind of flying against the wind. But you know, that's the story of my life, fly against the wind. You'll get there eventually.
CROWLEY: It boils down to this, many Democrats are anxious for her to get out. Not many want to be seen as forcing her out and she's not going.
CLINTON: People say to me all the time, well, are you going to keep going? Well yes, of course I'm going to keep going. CROWLEY: So it is going, and he's game, though showing signs of sleep deprivation.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've now been in 57 states, I think one left to go.
CROWLEY: For Obama, the game is dodge ball now, dancing around those you're already the nominee questions, like will you help her pay off her campaign debt?
OBAMA: I want to have a broad-ranging discussions with Senator Clinton about how I could make her feel good about the process and have her on the team moving forward. But as I said it's premature right now. She's still actively running. And we still got business to do here.
CROWLEY: Steadily now, the superdelegates are trickling his way, including a couple of crossovers from her list. But it's not a gusher.
So Clinton powers on, trying to keep her superdelegates and convince the uncommitted to stay that way. Her argument remains the demographics of electability. But in a year where race has been the most explosive issue, this is tricky. Clinton set off alarm bells when she made her case to "USA Today."
CLINTON: There was just an AP article posted that found how Senator Obama's support among hard-working Americans, white Americans is weakening again, and how the whites in both states that have not completed college were supporting me.
CROWLEY: it's a true statement but a number of Democrats contacted by CNN thought her remarks had a troubling racial overtone. Gratuitous one called it, especially in a party trying to pull itself together for the fall election.
For now, Clinton is being given wide berth to play the end her way. The bulk of uncommitted superdelegates are likely to wait until the last primary to declare. But there is concern that she not rough up Obama between now and then in a way that leaves scars for the general election.
One of the uncommitted who intends to eventually vote for Barack Obama says he's all for Hillary Clinton staying in this race. Though there is a cautionary note. It depends, he says, on how she does it.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: And digging deeper now with Steve Kornacki, the political columnist for the "New York Observer." Steve, Clinton's comments to "USA Today" as we just heard from Candy's piece, that Obama's support among white Americans is weakening. A lot of Democrats as you know are deeply concerned that this is a racial card, if you will, that she shouldn't be playing right now. What do you think? STEVE KORNACKI, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK OBSERVER: Obviously, the candidate is never supposed to talk that way. Lord knows the surrogates and the pundits have been talking in those sort of starkly racial and ethnic terms for a long time now.
But the candidate is never supposed to. It causes a distraction and it's bad for the campaign. But beyond that, I think there are two broader issues here.
The first is this issue that the Clintons are basically arguing the fault lines that exist right now in the Democratic primary are still going to exist. They're going to carry over in the fall if Barack Obama is the nominee. If he can't win Ohio in a primary, he loses it by ten points. If he can't win Pennsylvania in a primary, he loses it by nine points. Therefore, he can't win that state in the fall.
Actually, if you look historically, there isn't much truth to that. What happens in the spring generally bears very little resemblance to what happens in the fall. I can point to -- I know we have a guest I think from New Hampshire tonight. He can point to New Hampshire in the year 2000. To me it's the ultimate example.
George W. Bush is only in the White House because he won New Hampshire in the fall of 2000, got those four electoral votes that put him over 270. Of course, he lost the state by 20 points in the spring. And he won in the fall over a guy, Al Gore, who actually won New Hampshire in the spring in that state's primary.
So really, there are two different electorates in the fall and spring and I just don't think those fault lines are going to exist. And I think a lot of Democrats I think were -- it's natural that we're going to be talking about the party struggling to come together. I think in the end it's not going to be nearly as tough as people think.
BLITZER: Good point. "The New York Times" editorial page, which earlier endorsed Senator Clinton said that she has the right to continue her campaign until the end, but then added, and let me quote -- "Mrs. Clinton will be making a terrible mistake for herself, her party and for the nation if she continues to press her candidacy through negative campaigning with disturbing racial undertones."
Is she hurting Obama right now, and perhaps hurting her own political future in the Democratic Party by coming out swinging this hard?
KORNACKI: I think the bigger issue here is her own future. I think she's really kind of putting her foot in her mouth here. I think you have to consider Clinton's long-term, sort of end-game in this.
The subtext of her campaign -- sort of the implicit message of her campaign has been that only somebody with the Clinton surname -- only a Democrat with the Clinton surname is capable of beating the big, mean Republican attack machine in the fall. Everybody else who tries is an unvetted amateur who will get chewed up and spit out.
So I think somewhere deep inside there's some truth to this. I think she and her husband really, really believe that Barack Obama is going to lose in the fall. And if you carry that out, that means that if he does lose, if they're right, 2012 will be open. And if 2012 will be open, Hillary Clinton is going to want to run.
Now here's the thing. If she wants to run in 2012, if it's open, the key is she cannot be blamed for being the reason Democrats lose in 2008. This is a year Democrats expect to win, they want to win, and they haven't been this hungry in a long time. They've been shut out for eight years as you know.
So if Hillary Clinton is seen as the reason Barack Obama loses, there go her chances for 2012. So at a certain point I don't think there's too much harm in her going on for two more weeks, three more weeks, whatever it is. But I think at a certain point, her own sort of imperatives, her own sort of needs are going to take over and I think she's going to come to the realization that she has to be a team player if she wants to have a future.
BLITZER: She's only going to be 64 in 2012. All right, Steve, stand by. We're going to have a lot more to discuss. We'll talk about the next primary state, that's West Virginia where politics revolve largely around coal and lately the white working class voter.
And later, the food crisis. Not in Burma or Sudan or Zimbabwe, but right here at home.
Also, up close, an exclusive look at the FLDS church. A family takes us inside their world. Here's Gary Tuchman with a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris and Lydia Wyler (ph) and their six children are loyal members of Warren Jeffs' FLDS church.
How much longer do you think you have to do school.
LYDIA WYLER, FLDS MEMBER: Probably June 8th.
TUCHMAN: Like almost families in this close society, the children are taught at home. Television programs are never watched, although the family does watch educational videos. Much of popular culture eludes them. Do you know who Britney Spears is? Hannah Montana?
CHRIS WYLER, FLDS MEMBER: I've never met her. But yes, I've heard of her.
TUCHMAN: Have you ever heard of Hannah Montana before?
C. WYLER: I haven't heard of Hannah Montana before. I've heard of Britney Spears.
TUCHMAN: Have you heard of Britney Spears?
L. WYLER: No.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: Hillary Clinton has precious few roads left to the Democratic presidential nomination. All of them lead through West Virginia, which holds its primary next Tuesday. Her case for getting the nomination rests on the people who live there, predominantly white working-class.
But her political strategy, and Barack Obama's, for that matter, has just as much to do with the stuff underground as the voters up above.
Mining for votes, the "Raw Politics" of coal -- more from 360's Joe Johns.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is treacherous ground for Democrats. In 2000, West Virginia bucked its Democratic roots and voted Republican. Why did that happen? You're looking at it: coal. So, this year, neither Hillary Clinton, nor Barack Obama, wants to be on the wrong side of the powerful industry that produces it.
CLINTON: I know how important coal is to West Virginia.
JOHNS: But the politics of coal can get muddy. Southern West Virginia is in the heart of coal country, and it's also ground zero in a zero-sum debate between consumers, who want cheap power, and environmentalists, who want to reduce carbon emissions.
Coal-fired power plants produce 50 percent of electricity in this country, but they also produce 40 percent of our carbon emissions. And there's the rub.
Both candidates are pledging major climate change initiatives. And that means capping emissions from coal plants, not a popular idea around these parts. The solution? So-called clean coal.
CLINTON: I have been advocating for 10 big demonstration projects so we can figure out how we're going to utilize our coal and make it as clean as it can be under the circumstances.
OBAMA: There's nothing wrong with us figuring out how, in a clean way, to utilize our coal resources.
JOHNS: Sounds good, right? Not so fast. Some say clean coal is decades away, at best.
MARY ANNE HITT, ENVIRONMENTALIST: The coal industry would like you to believe that coal is compatible in a world where global warming is a real problem. But there isn't a lot of evidence to back that up.
JOHNS: The relationship between politics and the coal industry runs deep in West Virginia is because mining is a way of life here. It's also one of the engines of the economy.
: And it's not just West Virginia. Here's a map of the coal states. And here's a map of the so-called swing states. Almost half are mayor coal producers. Get the picture? With energy prices sky-high, the coal industry is booming. Though there are fewer jobs, those that are left are sacred.
EMMETT PUGH, MAYOR OF BECKLEY, WEST VIRGINIA: I think there's still approximately about 50,000 miners employed in the state. You know, these people are highly-trained. They do a dangerous job, but they're trained for that. And they make a very good wage.
JOHNS: For a lot of voters here in West Virginia, some say, despite their support for clean coal, the Democrats have not yet closed the deal.
ADAM UNDERWOOD, MINER: Both the candidates say they're for coal, but haven't gotten into real specifics yet. And that's real big to me on how I'm going to vote.
JOHNS: Right now, Obama and Clinton are mining for primary votes, with Clinton the heavy favorite. But if whoever is the nominee can't convince miners they're on the side of coal, these hills could again be a rich seam for Republicans.
Joe Johns, CNN, Beckley, West Virginia.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: And digging deeper, that would be two words that certainly fit this story.
Steve Kornacki once again joining us from "The New York Observer." Also Jennifer Donahue of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. We normally speak to her when there's a lot of snow on the ground. But it's good to see her when it's sunny and nice out there as well.
Guys, thanks very much.
All right, Jennifer, let me start with you.
Barack Obama has said Clinton is going to win these states, especially West Virginia, by significant margins. What does he have to do to reach out to these voters and bring them aboard the Obama bandwagon?
JENNIFER DONAHUE, SENIOR ADVISER FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS, NEW HAMPSHIRE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AT SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE: Well, first of all, he needs to keep doing what he did in the last series of primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, which is to sort of undercut her message directed towards the voters, which was perceived as pandering in exit polls.
When she talked about the gas holiday, people said, she's being disingenuous. When she's talking about clean coal right now, they may feel the same way. And when she's talking about white voters, and sort of making a racial divide, that could actually have a harmful effect on her, not only right now in West Virginia, but long term in getting superdelegates, who want to see history made, one way or another. So, I think she's in a risky area. I do think he's right. She probably will win West Virginia and the subsequent primaries. The problem in -- is that the math doesn't bear it out for her.
And without the support of the party overall and the superdelegates, she will not be the nominee. And, by going negative, she will ensure that she's not the nominee.
BLITZER: Steve, these rural working-class Democrats are more socially and fiscally conservative, someone calling them over the years Reagan Democrats. Polls do suggest they're looking at Obama with skepticism, at least right now.
Does he have a chance with this group of voters, if he becomes the Democratic nominee?
KORNACKI: Yes. I think there are two issues there, and the first is, again, I think the -- sort of exaggerated significance of the fault lines that have popped up in the Democratic primary this year. There's no question that Barack Obama is going to lose West Virginia next week. There's no question he's going to lose Kentucky the week after, sort of a similar profile of the electorate there.
I think these coalitions, the Obama and Clinton coalitions were set in place a long time ago. They have been impervious to momentum. This has been the first presidential primary process in my memory where there hasn't been momentum, or it hasn't played a real meaningful role.
And, so, I expect him to lose those two states, just as well as he's going to win Oregon and win South Dakota and win Montana, and finish up the primary process sort of in a wash with Hillary Clinton the rest of the way.
But, when you look to the fall, I think the second issue you have to look at is, we're basing all of our assumptions on 2000 and 2004, rear-view mirror logic. We're thinking of the electoral map in 2008 based on the last two elections.
And if history is clear on one thing, it's that the electoral math never remains the same for three straight elections. The last time, in fact, I can remember it sort of staying the same for two straight elections, besides the Reagan landslides in '80 and '84, would have been Stevenson-Eisenhower in '52 and '56.
But, the third time around, it always changes. You know, what happened, if you can think back to 2000, Ohio was on nobody's map as a swing state in the run-up to the 2000 election. It was only at the very end of that campaign, people looked up and they said, oh, my God, these polls are really close. This is supposed to be a Republican state.
And Gore came within about three points of winning it. And then it became the quintessential swing state for 2004. And now everybody talks about it for 2008. It's the centerpiece of the Clinton strategy. But I'll tell you what. I think if Barack Obama is the nominee -- and I'm pretty sure he's going to be -- we're going to look up and, at the end of October, we're going to see a bunch of new states, like North Carolina, like Louisiana, like Virginia, like Colorado, like New Mexico, that people haven't been thinking about, and those are going to be the new swing states.
BLITZER: Does he need, Jennifer, Hillary Clinton on his ticket as his running mate to bring these voters in?
DONAHUE: These voters will go to the Democratic nominee, period, no ifs, ands, or buts.
This is not the first Democratic or Republican primary fight that's been very closely fought and where there have been divisions. We can go back to many, many years.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan in New Hampshire to George H.W. Bush, "I paid for that microphone, sir," and then winning by 27 points over -- over Bush 41, and choosing him as his vice president. They were no friends. As a matter of fact, they were the opposite. They went together on the ticket to win.
This time, I don't think it's necessarily imperative, if Obama is the nominee, for him to pick Hillary Clinton. And then there's the question of, what does Bill Clinton do in the White House?
But I think that it could be a good idea, in terms of bringing coalitions together, or, if she plays out the next few weeks in a negative fashion, then it may not be a good idea, because she will have too much baggage. She still has a lot of baggage.
BLITZER: All right, Jennifer -- Jennifer Donahue, Steve Kornacki, guys, thanks very much for coming in.
Up next: shelves almost bare for the needy, the global food crisis hitting home -- how America, yes America, the land of the plenty, got to this point.
Plus, tornado terror -- amazing video of a twister -- twister tossing cars around like they're pancakes. We will talk with CNN severe weather expert Chad Myers -- tonight on 360.
BLITZER: A 360 exclusive is coming up. We are going to take you up close inside the FLDS. You will meet a family that worships the polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
First, though, some of tonight's other headlines. Erica Hill has a 360 bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
More violence today in the streets of Beirut. Hezbollah militias have control now of the western part of the city. That deals a major blow to the U.S.-backed Lebanese government. Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran and Syria of fueling the warfare.
A 360 follow for you -- authorities announcing today they will dig in search of human remains at Charles Manson's ranch in Death Valley, California. That is set to happen later this month. Manson was arrested at the ranch nearly 40 years, after the so-called Helter- Skelter murders in Southern California, which included the death of actress Sharon Tate.
And, in Alabama, tornado terror -- surveillance video here of cars just being tossed around by a twister. It really gives you a sense of just how powerful a tornado can be on the ground.
And, for more on this now, we want to bring in severe weather expert, meteorologist Chad Myers to give us a closer look at that tornado. Chad, how do we know, too, just how powerful this tornado was or is?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, the Weather Service has been on the ground looking at it.
And you can even see from the video here, which is really amazing video. The cars were picked up and they were actually picked up in two different directions. One car was picked up this way, the other car picked up this way. That was from the circulation of the tornado itself.
And the video here, I really have never seen the inside of a tornado, but you're seeing it right here. The Weather Service thinking about an EF-2, about 130 miles per hour, as it picked up the cars and threw them almost 40 feet, Erica.
MYERS: Just incredible stuff here from this surveillance camera.
This was S&M Equipment Company in Leighton, Alabama. There you go. Look at those cars getting picked up in opposite directions, as the tornado went right over both of them, from opposite winds. Watch. They almost go up like scissors.
HILL: That's just amazing to see.
MYERS: Isn't that just -- I mean, you think you're in Kansas, and you're in Alabama.
HILL: You really do. And that's a section, I know, stretching across the Southeastern U.S. Scary stuff.
MYERS: You bet.
I want to take a look now for you at tonight's "Beat 360" photo. We will lighten it up for you just a bit here: Republican presidential candidate John McCain arriving at a firehouse in New York City with some pizza. Here's the caption from our staff winner, Dan. He imagines McCain saying: "With high gas prices, lower wages, soaring health care costs, Americans say their piece of the pie is shrinking. My friends, my wife just bought me four whole pies, and I would be glad to share."
Nice work, Dan. Dan is working one a three-peat, by the way, giving our executive producer a run for his money.
Watch out, David Doss.
If you think you can do better, log on to cnn.com/360. Send in your entry. Stay tuned. We're going to announce the viewer winner coming up at the end of the program -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I think somebody could do better, but we will see.
Up next: an exclusive up-close look into a secret lifestyle. We were given rare access to the home of a family devoted to Warren Jeffs and his FLDS church.
And, later, only nine children of a sitting president have been married at the White House, and Jenna Bush won't be moving that number into double digits -- details ahead on tomorrow's event in Crawford, Texas.
BLITZER: Tears and hugs at the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas, last month, after a raid by police. Mothers upset after 463 children were taken into state custody. The church has had a bit of an image problem amidst allegations of underage girls being married to much older men.
The polygamist sect normally shuns the outside world and chases the news media away. But, tonight, for the first time, we take you inside the home of an FLDS family along the Utah-Arizona border.
They invited 360's Gary Tuchman into their home this week to show the world how normal they think their lives are.
Here's Gary with the exclusive up-close look.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TUCHMAN: The Wylers are not your typical American family.
C. WYLER: Did everyone else get steak? You need some that's cut up?
Chris and Lydia are the parents. Their children, Michaela (ph), Derek (ph), Kendra, Bricen (ph), and then two who nodded off, 3-year-old Reagan (ph) and 8-month-old Jarin (ph), who sleeps next to a picture of a man who means so much to this family, their prophet, Warren Jeffs.
C. WYLER: We're part of the FLDS.
TUCHMAN: We have never before been invited into the home of a family that is part of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a polygamist sect that split off from the Mormon Church. The church tells its followers to avoid contact with outsiders.
But Chris Wyler invited me to play some basketball at his home in Colorado City, Arizona.
C. WYLER: Kareem.
TUCHMAN: ... and spend time with his family, because he felt OK about letting us know more about his wife, children, and their beliefs.
C. WYLER: To me, our church is super important. It's our family values. It's what our whole life is based on.
This is going in.
TUCHMAN: The Wylers were distraught when they learned more than 400 children were taken away from their parents at the church-owned ranch in Texas.
Does it scare you this can happen to your children?
L. WYLER: It's a possibility. But I don't know. We just have to go forward in faith.
C. WYLER: I just couldn't believe it. And I would come home to my children and think about having them taken out.
TUCHMAN: We spent time here with children who seemed very happy, even joyous. They were polite, smiling.
Somebody looks angry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not angry.
And enjoyed showing off their vacation photos.
Chris Wyler says his is the typical FLDS family. He doesn't believe the state of Texas' claims of abuse on the ranch.
C. WYLER: Anybody that's here were taught that we're never, ever supposed to even really yell at our children. Any time that our children do something wrong, we're not supposed to not even raise our voice any more than this. Just work it out and talk it out, sometimes, give them a time-out. And there's no way anybody I know would ever abuse their wife.
TUCHMAN: The FLDS believes polygamy is holy. Most men around here have at least two wives. Some of the leaders have dozens. But Lydia is Chris' only wife, at least for now.
(END VIDEO TAPE) BLITZER: In part two of this exclusive FLDS home tour, Gary asks Lydia, if Chris married another woman, would that be OK? Her answer after the break.
And this was the president on Thursday getting in a little practice over at Andrews Air Force Base. Tomorrow, it's for real, when he walks his daughter Jenna down the aisle -- a preview ahead.
BLITZER: Now part two of our up-close look inside the FLDS, whose followers worship the jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
He's the same man who founded the FLDS ranch in Eldorado, Texas, where hundreds of children were taken into state custody last month in a massive police raid.
The church can also be found along the Utah-Arizona border. That's where a family invited Gary Tuchman into their home so you could get a closer look into their world.
Once again, here's Gary Tuchman.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TUCHMAN: Chris and Lydia Wyler and their six children are loyal members of Warren Jeffs' FLDS church.
So how much longer do you think you have to do school?
L. WYLER: Probably June 8.
TUCHMAN: Like almost all families in this closed society, the children are taught at home. Television programs are never watched, although the family does watch educational videos. Much of popular culture eludes them.
Do you know who Britney Spears is? Hannah Montana?
C. WYLER: I've never met her. But yes, I've heard of her.
TUCHMAN: Have you heard of Hannah Montana before?
C. WYLER: I haven't heard of Hannah Montana. I have heard of Britney Spears. Have you heard of Britney Spears?
L. WYLER: No.
TUCHMAN: Chris and Lydia are not polygamists, although Lydia has 24 siblings and comes from a polygamist home.
If he married another woman and she was right for the family, would that be OK with you?
C. WYLER: It's part of our culture.
L. WYLER: It's part of what we believe.
TUCHMAN: While they are shocked about the children in Texas, they are also worried about Warren Jeffs, who is behind bars and who they say is still their leader.
What do you think of Warren Jeffs?
L. WYLER: I know he's our prophet.
TUCHMAN: Do you think what's happened to him is unjust?
L. WYLER: Oh, yes. Of course.
TUCHMAN: Lydia was 17 when she married Chris, who was only 16. They had both left the church for a time but came back to it and were married by Warren Jeffs' father, Rulon, who was the prophet then.
Warren Jeffs used to be their high school principal.
What do you remember best about him as principal?
L. WYLER: Probably the parties.
TUCHMAN: What kind of parties did Warren Jeffs throw?
L. WYLER: No TV (ph).
C. WYLER: Go to the park.
L. WYLER: Go to the park.
TUCHMAN: Chris says he became rebellious when he was a teen, but rebellious is a relative term.
C. WYLER: Take the clothing that we have and trying to be rebellious, like leaving your shoes untied or rolling up your sleeves. That's what all the rebellious guys do, you know? I know, Gary, I could tell when I saw you, that you were a wild man.
TUCHMAN: We see no rebellion here. The children are in their traditional clothing and hairstyles, even as they play with the animals. The Wylers were very wary about inviting us here, because they feel they'll be religiously persecuted and stereotyped.
But the visit with this family was a warm one. And we got this final message before we left.
C. WYLER: You know this is our faith. You shouldn't generalize everything that you hear or see.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BLITZER: Generally, members of the FLDS don't talk to the news media, Gary. Was there any reaction or backlash from others in the community? TUCHMAN: Wolf, there was quite a bit of backlash. About ten minutes after we arrived there, apparently, some neighbors saw our cameras going into the house. Police came to the door. And the police force, the local police force are all members of the church, all Warren Jeffs supporters.
They asked the Wylers. They said, "It appears cameras have gone into your house. Are you OK?"
And the Wylers said, "We're fine," and the police left.
BLITZER: Gary Tuchman doing some excellent reporting for us. Gary, thanks very much.
BLITZER: Just ahead, a food crisis here at home. Food banks across the United States right now stretched to the breaking point as many middle-class Americans struggle to make ends meet. How this situation got so bad. Coming up.
Also, one huge helping of humble pie; just 23 cents a pie. A pizza chain tries to make amends after talking trash about a popular athlete. Did the plan work?
BLITZER: "Uncovering America," we're taking a close look tonight at a safety net stretched to its limits right now.
Food banks across the country are struggling to keep their shelves full, with food prices rising faster than we've seen in 17 years. They report seeing more working families in need, but sadly they can't always help. It turns out that many Americans who may look like they're getting by just fine are actually being battered by a perfect storm of economic forces.
Once again, here's 360's Erica Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
HILL: Richard Frank has a college education, a job, and a bag full of groceries from a local food bank.
RICHARD FRANK, FOOD PANTRY CUSTOMER: I'm a very proud person, you know, but first time you come, it's like, you know, it's all of us are in the same boat, you know. It could be anybody.
HILL: This food pantry in Stamford, Connecticut, is full of new customers like Richard. In fact, the numbers here have more than doubled in the last year as a growing number of working, middle-class Americans simply can't make ends meet.
NANCY APY, PRESIDENT, LOWER FAIRFIELD FOOD BANK: They have children that are in schools, with the iPods and the cell phones and the BMWs, and no child wants to be different. They can talk a pretty good game, and they go home to no food.
HILL: The main food bank serving New York City has seen a 73 percent increase in the number of full-time workers who need help.
TAMAR AUBER, HANSON PLACE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUNGER: It's a number of factors that even a little bit, like a $5 difference in the gas prices or $5 a month, is causing people not to be able to afford food. So what do they do? They end up coming to us because it's the last resort.
HILL: But now some of those last resorts, like the Hanson Place Pantry in Brooklyn, are finding their cupboards almost bare.
At the food bank that supports Hanson Place, the picture is even more bleak.
This warehouse which was once full supplies 1,000 different agencies helping people throughout New York. Donations are down 60 percent, but the demand for food is steadily on the rise. And that means, with empty shelves, some food pantries just can't help the families who need it.
Have you ever had to turn anyone away?
JOYCE GUMBUS, FOOD PANTRY COORDINATOR: Yes.
HILL: What's that like for you?
GUMBUS: I want to cry. I do, I want to cry.
HILL: How did America, the land of plenty, get to this point? A perfect storm of rising gas and food prices, the slowing economy, job losses, even federal ethanol mandates that turn corn fields into fuel, not food.
And add to that a sharp drop in government food surpluses, down from $242 million in 2003 to just $58 million last year, and you'll start to get an idea.
LUCY CABRERA, PRESIDENT & CEO, FOOD BANK FOR NYC: I've been here for 20 years. And in 20 years I have seen the ups and the downs, but I've never seen it down this much because we're being hit from all levels.
HILL: With no end in sight, many people are coming to the tough realization that they may have to work twice as hard just to survive.
FRANK: Hopefully, I'll add a second job or something and maybe my income, I won't have time to come here. Well, basically, I think my situation is going to improve (ph), because I'm going to make it improve.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
HILL: Now the number of people actually going hungry in this country is shocking. Here's the raw data for you.
If we take a look, worldwide, the U.N. says 25,000 people die of hunger around the world every single day. Now, here in the U.S., 96 billion pounds of food is thrown away every year; ninety-six billion pounds. Yet, get this. There are 35 million Americans who could not put food on the table for at least part of the year last year. Those are some very sobering numbers.
And Wolf, some of the most heartbreaking stories actually came from the people who are working. These are folks that we met at the food banks, but they were so worried that someone may recognize them on camera that they didn't dare speak to us on camera. And that is really calling attention to -- to this epidemic.
Also tomorrow, I want to point out is an important day, one of the largest food drives in the country. It is the 16th annual Stamp Out Hunger campaign. It's organized by the Postal Workers' Union along with Campbell's Soup. Wolf, you can find out more information at their Web site, which is HelpStampOutHunger.com.
BLITZER: Hard to believe, Erica, this kind of stuff still goes on in our country. All right. Erica, thanks very much. Good report.
Erica also has some other news tonight. That's coming up.
It's tough to have a secret wedding when your father is the President of the United States. The rehearsal dinner is tonight. By tomorrow, Jenna Bush will be a married woman. Erica will have the details.
Plus, aid is slowly -- slowly, very slowly -- arriving in Myanmar, even as the bodies are being counted and the damage is being assessed. Can the survivors ever recover from the cyclone that savaged the country?
Dan Rivers was there, and he'll be joining us live.
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The very infrastructure of Myanmar has taken a severe battering. This is all that remains of a school science laboratory, completely flattened by Cyclone Nargis. The school says it doesn't know what it's going to do, and it still hasn't heard anything from the authorities.
BLITZER: Like most brides who say "I do" when their fathers are President of the United States, Jenna Bush decided she didn't want to do it at the White House. Of the 22 women eligible for White House weddings, only nine did. Twenty-six-year-old Jenna won't be No. 10.
She'll get married to Henry Hager tomorrow at the family's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Her twin, Barbara, will be her maid of honor.
With a look at the First Family wedding, once again here's 360's Erica Hill.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I got a lot on my mind, by the way. Getting ready to march down the aisle.
HILL: A First Daughter's wedding could easily rival a Royal's, but Jenna Bush wants none of that. Instead, she'll exchange vows with Henry Hager tomorrow in a private ceremony on her parents' Texas ranch.
JENNA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE W. BUSH: The White House is a historical, beautiful building, of course, and place. But I wanted to have something more private and something that fit my personality.
HILL: The celebration will include about 200 guests, mostly family and close friends.
LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: Neither one of us are nervous. I'm very, very excited. It's a very interesting passage of life when you get to that time in your life when your child -- first child is getting married and we're getting, for us, our first son.
HILL: Fences, surveillance cameras and Secret Service will keep the press and the paparazzi out, though, that's not stopping the locals from getting caught up in the excitement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This week we've been preparing -- well, more than just this week; the past month we've been preparing for the wedding, ordering souvenirs.
HILL: Commemorative mugs, mouse pads, Christmas ornaments. Even the town's angel statue is suited up for the occasion.
But what everyone really wants to know, what will the bride be wearing? Well, we can tell you it's an organza Oscar de la Renta gown. But the Mrs.-to-be isn't revealing much more. She doesn't want to risk her fiance sneaking a peak.
We do have some sketches of what her bridesmaids -- oops, make that attendants, will be wearing. Fourteen young ladies outfitted in the colors of Texas wildflowers.
The outdoor ceremony is scheduled for 7:30, followed by a sit-down dinner and dancing.
BETSEY GLEICK, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Jenna and her groom Henry are traditional. He proposed in a very traditional way. He asked the president for Jenna's hand.
HILL: But imagine the intimidation factor of asking the President of the United States for his daughter's hand.
Lucky for the 30-year-old Hager, he's known his future father-in-law for a while. Hager is from solid Republican stock, a one-time White House aide to Karl Rove. It is a match made in political heaven.
As he departed for Crawford, the president practiced some moves he'll use as he walks down the aisle.
Of course, even for the leader of the free world, seeing your little girl get married isn't easy. So Mrs. Bush reportedly left him a copy of "Father of the Bride" to help him prepare.
KIMBERLY WILLIAMS-PAISLEY, ACTRESS: You can call him George, or Dad.
STEVE MARTIN, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: George will be fine.
HILL: I wonder what Henry Hager calls the president.
Wolf, we should mention tonight's festivities, by the way, included a rehearsal dinner which is hosted by the Hager family. About 100 people invited to that, mostly family.
And another party tonight referred to as a Texas-sized celebration event, hosted by friends. Everybody is invited to that one.
BLITZER: Sounds like a lot of fun. What's the difference -- excuse me for missing this -- between the bridesmaids and the attendants?
HILL: Mr. Blitzer that is an excellent question. And I wish I had a better answer for you, but I spent a good part of the day looking that up. Apparently, it's a Texas tradition. They call I think what a lot of us would see as bridesmaids, attendants. And they say that these women are part of the house party when it comes to the actual wedding party.
But I didn't find anywhere online what the difference is between a bridesmaid and an attendant. So if there's anybody out there who's watching, put it on the blog and let us know, because I'd love to find out.
BLITZER: Me, too. All right. Good -- let's take a look at. Good reporting, by the way.
Let's take a look at some of the other headlines, Erica. What's going on?
HILL: To get you caught up on some of the other headlines today; oil prices rising above $126 a barrel before settling slightly lower, but this is still a record high. The average price now for a gallon of regular, also at a new record: $3.67.
And with those gas prices rising, the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile is actually downsizing. The new model is just 15 feet long. That's about half the size of the original version. The mini Wienermobile is said to get 25 to 30 miles a gallon now, much better than the old 10 to 25.
And here's what a huge helping of humble pie looks like. Check out these people lined up outside this suburban Cleveland Papa John's, because they were selling slices for 23 cents a pie. Twenty-three, of course, is the number for NBA star Lebron James's jersey. The cut-rate price was the company's way of apologizing to the Cleveland Cavaliers fans and probably Lebron James himself after a Papa John's franchise in Washington printed T-shirts calling him a cry baby.
And the FBI has released surveillance video of that pipe-bomb explosion in the lobby of a federal courthouse in San Diego. Anyone with information about Sunday's bombing should contact investigators.
BLITZER: All right, Erica. Thanks very much for that.
Myanmar -- it's been almost a week since that deadly cyclone -- cyclone struck, killing as many as 100,000 people, maybe even more. So far the military junta has allowed just a trickle of aid into the country, and time is quickly running out for the survivors. More than a million people right now are homeless.
Today, though, Myanmar officials agreed to allow U.S. cargo plane to land in the capital on Monday. The C-130 is loaded with food and medicine and is ready to go on an airstrip standing by in Thailand right now.
It's been almost impossible for aid workers and reporters to get into the country.
CNN's Dan Rivers managed to sneak in a few days after the cyclone hit but soon finds himself on the run, just steps ahead of government officials. Here's a report he filed just before he got out of the country.
RIVERS: It's been very, very difficult to get into this river delta. The roads are not passable for us. So now this is the only way we can progress any further by boat.
And the river that we're traveling on is incredibly swollen. You can see all the trees along the side here are completely submerged by river water. Normally, these would all be on dry land.
BLITZER: And Dan is joining us now from Bangkok.
Dan, you just left the country. Tell us what happened.
RIVERS: Well, as you say, Wolf, we were effectively on the run for the last couple of days. My photo had been circulated to various police stations in the affected area. They were looking intentionally for us. There were checkpoints everywhere.
People were looking for me. Eventually, we were stopped and questioned by the police. We luckily managed to talk our way out of that situation.
And then we got taken to another government building, where our guys were questioned again while I was in hiding in the truck that we had. So it was a series of close calls, but we managed to get in, get the story and get out and decided that it was time for me to come out. We didn't want to have any more close scrapes and jeopardize any other people there.
So the thing to remember in all this is, you know, this just illustrates how much energy the regime is putting into stopping the story getting out rather than actually helping people.
From what we've seen, they are doing their utmost to be as obstructive as possible to the press. They are not being particularly helpful to the international aid agencies, to the U.N.
We spoke to the World Food Program yesterday, who were furious that their supplies had been impounded at the airport, that their guys weren't allowed to go out and hand out food, as is normal in these situations.
A compromise has been brokered now. Another WFP flight is going in, but it's been very difficult there.
BLITZER: Dan Rivers, he risked his life to get that story for us. Dan, thank you very, very much.
Still ahead, Hillary Clinton hanging tough, ignoring calls to drop out of the race. The "Raw Politics" coming up.
Also, "The Shot of the Day." He popped the hood of his pickup, and he got the surprise of a lifetime. A growling pit bull -- that's right, a pit bull -- stuck inside the engine compartment. How on earth did it get there? How did he get it out? When 360 continues.
HILL: Yes, you are looking at a pit bull inside that engine compartment. How did he get there? You're going to have to stick around for that story in just a moment.
First, though, Wolf, we need to get back to "Beat 360," last chance of the week to out-clever our staff by coming up with a better caption for our daily photo. We post it, of course, on the blog every morning. The rest up to you at home or perhaps to you, Mr. Blitzer, in D.C.
Today's picture shows Republican presidential candidate John McCain bringing pizza to New York firefighters at the Engine 54 Ladder 4 firehouse yesterday.
Tonight's staff winner, Dan, who's really on a winning streak. He took last night's prize, as well. He may be paying someone off; I'm not sure.
Here's what he imagines John McCain saying: "With high gas prices, lower wages and soaring health care costs, Americans say their piece of the pie is shrinking. My friends, my wife just bought me four whole pies, and I'd be glad to share." All right. Wolf said he thought maybe someone could do better. Wolf, see what you think about our viewer winner, Christine from Antwerp, Belgium, who imagines McCain saying, "Who do you want to answer the phone at 3 a.m. when you want pizza?"
What do you think, any better?
BLITZER: Not bad. Not bad at all.
HILL: I liked it, too.
You can check out the other captions we get every day, perhaps submit your own, cnn.com/360. It's on the blog there.
And we couldn't leave without "The Shot," of course. This is another reason why we love living in New York, because you don't need a car here, which means you're never going to get caught off-guard like Walter Witthoef (ph), the California man who went out to his truck earlier this week, popped his hood so he could top off his power steering fluid before heading off to work.
Instead, he found this guy, a 60-pound pit bull staring at him. Can you imagine you pop the hood on your car and there's a dog? It would just be wild. The dog got stuck. Somehow he'd managed to work his way into the engine compartment overnight, couldn't get out.
The startled truck owner called the police for help. The dog eventually wriggled free on his own. Animal control took him to a shelter, but not before he'd shredded a bunch of wires, vacuum hoses, gas lines while trying to get loose.
And get this, Wolf. I also read that this poor guy had just had, I think, $1,000 work done on his truck right before all this happened. Now it's back in the shop. Tough times.
BLITZER: Oh, very tough.
BLITZER: Thanks. Erica thanks very much.
For our international viewers, "CNN Today" is next. Here in the United States, Larry King is coming up.