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Obama Plays Race Card?; Clinton and Obama to Present United Front; Further Reporting on Midwest Flooding

Aired June 20, 2008 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, we have breaking news: people surrounded, their homes now islands, neighbors pitching in to help, but they are battling the water. And it is moving fast. We will show you where the Mississippi River is going next. We will also take you where it's bad, but also where it's getting better.
We will bring you the new forecast, more rain on the way. We will also look at the Army Corps of Engineers, "Keeping Them Honest." Did they do more harm than good by building all those levees in the first place?

Also ahead tonight, "Raw Politics," a blew blunt warning from Barack Obama. Today, he tells supporters Republicans may play the race card. The question is, is he tackling the problem head or playing the race card himself? You are going to hear his surprising new comments and can judge for yourself.

Plus, Hillary Clinton and Obama team up, announcement today, their first joint campaign appearance. We will tell you what it might mean for a dream ticket or a so-called dream ticket down the road.

Also, the shocking story of an alleged pregnancy pact, 17 teenage girls in one New England high school, all of them under the age of 16, pregnant not, it seems, by accident. Why would they do this and what happens to the kids and their unborn kids now?

We begin, though, with the breaking news, a mix tonight of misery, mud and hope. Take a look, more levees being overtopped today, more homes and farmland flooded, but signs as well that the worst may be over, new predictions tonight of lower water levels than first expected, but also in some places more rain forecast, with no place for the water to go.

So, it is good news and bad -- the good news, thousands of people filling literally millions of sandbags, the bad, hundreds of loaded barges are now backed up, unable to move downstream, meaning higher prices for just about everything in store.

The big worry right now is a lot more immediate, people with the river literally at their doors.

Details on that now from CNN's Chad Myers -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And a little bit more rain coming down, as you said, before, too, but probably not more than an inch or two, not enough to make more flooding. I think the real concern this weekend is that these floods have been up against these levees a very long time. These levees have been holding back water now for a week, especially on up there toward Burlington, Iowa, and such. Maybe, maybe they're getting a little water-sogged -- maybe they're getting a little waterlogged. We will have to see if the levees that have held so well -- some of them didn't, but many of them have held well. Maybe they won't hold for the entire weekend.

Here's how it all started. We're going to start up in Wisconsin. And these are pictures I will never forget. And I don't think you will forget them either: houses being washed away because of this, Oshkosh, over 10 inches of rainfall since the beginning of June, Madison and Milwaukee, the exact same story. That water eventually got into the Mississippi.

In Iowa, the other side of the river, the water also went from left to right, instead of from right to left. There you go, Waterloo, over eight, Cedar Rapids, the same. And Des Moines, Iowa, picked up over 10 inches of rain in this month alone, just since the 1st of June. And that's the first levee that broke, the Gulfport, Illinois, levee. It was across the river from Iowa. And that's the first water we saw spreading across the farmland and also into homes.

One more spot for rain. You think, oh, Missouri, it's flooding. They got a lot of rain. No, they didn't. Saint Louis, less than an inch, and yet you have flooding just on your northern suburbs up in Saint Charles County, Columbia, Jefferson City, about three inches there. That got into the Missouri River, not so much into the Mississippi yet.

But all of these levees are getting wet now. They're getting saturated. And this is a long, wide event for many people, all the way from Iowa down into Missouri. We are going to have to wait and watch to see if these levees last, because one on the East Saint Louis side started to bubble yesterday. They found the bubble and they fixed it with sandbags, but it may not be the only bubble that we see this weekend.

COOPER: So, more rain this weekend?

MYERS: An inch or two, not really enough in places that will get into the river in time. Now, this may prolong the agony here, because that river may not go down as much, but we're not going to put it in places to make the water go up.

See, it takes a long time for that water to get into the Mississippi. It took a long time. This rain happened 10 days ago. So, the rain that falls this weekend won't be in the Mississippi until maybe next weekend.

MYERS: All right, Chad, thanks.

We showed you these pictures earlier, a few moments ago, homes literally surrounded by water. These shots come from the Missouri town of Winfield. We have also seen neighbors in Winfield working their hearts out on the sandbagging line.

Tonight, Gary Tuchman is in another part of town that is almost entirely flooded -- almost -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the frantic work of thousands of volunteers is now over -- 4.5 million pounds of sand have been put in sandbags.

And the sandbag operations are over because they have done all they can do. Many homes have been flooded here. Over the next couple of days, many more homes may still be flooded.

But the sandbags are done. The volunteers are done working. And they are hoping for the best. Behind me, this was a field this morning. We are three miles away from the Mississippi River, and you can see a house in the background. That house is surrounded to the north, to the south, to the West, to the East, 360 degrees.

And there are people in there as we speak.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): With the Mississippi River pouring out of breached levees in Lincoln County, Missouri, some unusual scenarios have developed, like this one. Three homes and a farm have literally become an island. All roads have been cut off.

When we saw people on the island from a distance, our curiosity was piqued. Why are they still there? So, I put on my waders and started walking about a quarter-mile to the house. And what I found were a boy, his dad and his grandfather, three generations that woke up today to all this water, but are convinced their island will not end up like Atlantis.

(on camera): How come you haven't left just to play it carefully?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like it here.


TUCHMAN: You don't want to leave?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have to sleep in somebody's house. And I wouldn't care for that at all.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): County officials have recommended that Henry Dietrich (ph) evacuate. But he has no plans to do so.

(on camera): You're living on an island.


TUCHMAN: How does that feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always wanted to live on an island. (LAUGHTER)

TUCHMAN (voice-over): So, for now, when the 63-year-old wants to travel on Kittoman (ph) Road, he does it on a motorboat. He says, because his land is on a relatively high point, other people have left him their vehicles for safekeeping. His son and grandson actually live elsewhere and are just visiting.

(on camera): Do you think it's OK for your dad to stay here?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ain't going nowhere. It ain't going to hurt him. It hasn't hurt him yet.

TUCHMAN: Fifteen years ago, during the great Mississippi River floods of 1998, Henry Dietrich (ph) says his farm was almost completely submerged by water, and he didn't leave that time either.

(voice-over): Homes just a short distance away from Henry's have now been devoured by the waters. And the flood levels are not believe to have peaked yet. Henry has lost almost all of his crops. But he's proudly stubborn.

(on camera): What would it take for you to get out of here and evacuate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, well, probably the sheriff would have a little influence on me.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): As of now, Henry Dietrich (ph) has not heard from the sheriff.


COOPER: So, why is it there is no mandatory evacuation order in this area, Gary?

TUCHMAN: Two reasons, Anderson. County officials say there's a voluntary evacuation and that most people have listened to them and have left this area. There are very few people east of State Road 79, which is near the Mississippi River. They have voluntarily evacuated.

But the other major reason they haven't made it mandatory is, there's a very important levee -- there have been like five levees that have failed -- but a very important levee near here that have hasn't failed that seems to be doing very well, with all those sandbags. And if that levee failed, then there would likely be a mandatory evacuation.

COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman reporting -- thanks, Gary.

We have been talking all week about how levees failing upriver are taking pressure off the levees downriver. But, in a story loaded with such bitter irony, that's not the worst. The worst could be this, that the entire Mississippi levee system could be causing more agony than it actually prevents.

The Army Corps of Engineers certainly doesn't think so. Neither do a lot of local officials.

Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit is tonight "Keeping Them Honest."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The problem may not be that the levees are failing, but too many levees are holding. Up and down this massive river basin for hundreds of years, farmers and cities and land developers have been trying to hold back one of Mother Nature's largest drainage pipes, the Mississippi.

TIM KUSKY, PROFESSOR, SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY: Since the 1700s, we have built more than 2,200 miles of levees along the whole river system. And, altogether, that has had a major, major effect.

GRIFFIN: Saint Louis University natural sciences professor Tim Kusky says the effect can be sign quite clearly from the air. Once huge natural floodplains are developed into towns and shopping centers, entire cities. Levees are made even stronger, so that people living behind them feel safer.

KUSKY: So, what happens is that we build levees along the river. Then we restrict the flow in a very, very narrow channel, and the same amount of water has to go through this narrow channel. So, it rises higher and higher and higher. And then people think the levees are strong and they're going to protect them. Then we find out that they're weak and they could potentially fail. So, we have the situation where the river has risen 15, 20 feet higher than it would have without the levees, and when it fails, it does so catastrophically.

GRIFFIN: Winfield, Missouri, today, says Kusky, is a classic example. That's a levee supposedly built to withstand a 500-year flood. This is not a 500-year event. The levee is breached in so many places, it's hard to tell it's even there.

Unfortunately, he says, history has shown the reaction will be to rebuild the levee even higher and stronger.

(on camera): Back in 1993, this whole area was under 10 feet of water. A smaller levee had failed and turned this into an entire floodplain. What did they do? Well, instead of allowing Mother Nature to take its course, they built an even bigger levee there to protect it from the Missouri River just beyond those trees.

(voice-over): And right in that floodplain is one of the largest strip mall developments in the United States.

ADOLPHUS BUSCH, GREAT RIVERS HABITAT ALLIANCE: After the '93 flood, we were told, of course, that there would be no more levees, no more projects, no more developments in the floodplain, because everybody had learned their lesson. And that went on for a few years, but, of course, people soon forgot again, and the development started.

GRIFFIN: Adolphus Busch -- yes, one of the beer family Busches -- now heads a group called the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance. There's no mistake he wants to stop levees from being built and stop development in the floodplain, let the Mississippi flow naturally.

BUSCHES: That's exactly what's happening now from Iowa all the way down to Saint Louis. All of these levees are breaking as the water comes through. Of course, that relieves the pressure for all of us downstream.

GRIFFIN: Mark Twain, who lived along this river, once said, 10,000 river commissions with the minds of the world at their back cannot tame that lawless stream.

Why, say critics of our current efforts, do we think our levees can do any better?

Drew Griffin, CNN, Saint Louis, Missouri.


COOPER: Well, as always, I'm blogging throughout the hour about this and other stories tonight. To join the conversation, go to our new Web site,

Up next, as we track the breaking news of the flooding, we are going to tell you what these levee failures may tell us about how prepared we are for the next big catastrophe. Stephen Flynn, the author of "The Edge of Disaster," joins us.

Later, Barack Obama on the trail, today telling supporters Republicans may play the race card against him. The comments are creating a lot of buzz. We will play them for you. You can hear them, decide for yourself if you think he was simply telling the truth or if he crossed a line.

And did underage girls at this high school make a pact with each other to get pregnant? Seventeen girls at this school are pregnant, one of the fathers, allegedly, a homeless guy. We're going to try to understand why they did what seems so unthinkable -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: Houses tumbling into lakes, rivers swamping towns, the pictures just unbelievable from last week. The massive levee system along the Mississippi and other rivers was supposed to prevent tragedies like this. The questions we're asking tonight were, were they simply too low, the levees, or too weak or poorly maintained, or is the entire system ill-conceived.

Stephen Flynn has devoted his career to examining the systems we build to keep the water out, the lights on, and the danger away. He studies that, how they fail. He writes about it in a great book, "The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation." He joins us now.

You know, when we look at these pictures of housing -- houses falling into the water, the water sweeping away these levees, what is -- what's the takeaway? What is the warning in this for all of us?

STEPHEN FLYNN, SENIOR FELLOW IN NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, literally, what we're seeing certainly is that we're going to face more of these kinds of events. Some of this is going to be climate change driven, but the reality is that this is a continent that has always been essentially Mother Nature's been messing with.

What is a bit different is, we keep pushing the envelope. We put houses, we put development right up next to places that we know are going to flood. We have infrastructure to manage that, things like levees. But we stopped maintaining many of them in many instances years ago.

So, we're essentially pushing the envelope on the risk. The risk is going up in terms of what Mother Nature is going to throw our way. And the infrastructure to protect isn't holding up as well as it should.

COOPER: What do you think of the Army Corps of Engineers and their role in all this?

FLYNN: Well, it's a bit of a mixed sets of issues here. Some of the projects that the Corps did, we probably, if we could do it over again, we wouldn't do. That is, we tried to force Mother Nature into...


COOPER: Massive projects trying to alter Mother Nature?

FLYNN: Yes, exactly. But the logic -- of course, the Mississippi River is one of the most important transportation roads in the world. Our farms get exported to the world because we move them cheaply down on barges.

Our most important cities in the heartland of the country are along these rivers. So, we work there, and we play there. We live there. It's important that we take some protective measures. But what we hope we will take away from this latest tragedy is a willingness to reexamine how we have been living and how we have been operating and where it makes sense to invest in infrastructure and where it makes sense to give up, essentially give back to Mother Nature and move somewhere else.

COOPER: But investing in infrastructure is key. And it's not something that you hear politicians talking about very much.

FLYNN: No, unfortunately.

In fact, in Iowa, for instance, the $90 million -- the governor recently had to take $90 million out of an infrastructure fund to put it in the general fund, because, of course, all the states are in crisis.

That's been a common problem for almost two decades around the country. You know, what made this country a modern nation that was the envy of the world was the infrastructure that many of -- in most cases, our parents and grandparents built. And we have been treating a bit like somebody who has inherited our grandparents' mansion and doesn't do the upkeep.

So, it's very important. And I think the next president is going to have to address this issue. It makes no economic sense to have frail infrastructure. Mother Nature is going to show that time and again. And people are going to be devastated as a result.

COOPER: What other areas -- I mean, we have been looking at the Mississippi. What other areas are prone to severe flooding from dams or levees.

FLYNN: Of course, levees really became into the conscious in your reporting in Hurricane Katrina. But they're all over the place.

One of the most serious places where they're at is in the Sacramento River Valley just out in California. And they safeguard not just those communities in Central California, but the country's fruit basket, the Central Valley, and provide water in Southern California and in the Bay Area. They are surrounded by levees much like the ones we see falling apart today here in Mississippi. And they have not been well-maintained.

COOPER: All right. Words of warning.

Stephen Flynn, appreciate it. Thanks, as always. Good having you.

FLYNN: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: All right.

Check out the new Web site for lots more on the floods, behind- the-scene posts from Gary Tuchman and CNN producers. The new site just launched this week, the address Of course, we're live-blogging tonight as well,

Still to come, is Obama playing the race card? His comments at a fund-raiser today making headlines. We're going to share them with you. You will hear for yourself, and you can decide.

Also tonight, Obama and Hillary Clinton will be hitting the trail together. We are going to tell you what they have planned and what all this may mean for a so-called dream ticket.

And later, teenage girls getting pregnant on purpose? We're going to go up close inside the so-called pregnancy pact at a Massachusetts high school -- coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Still to come: race and politics. Is Barack Obama playing the race card? We will play the tape from a fund-raiser in Florida today, let you be the judge.

First, Tom Foreman joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Tom.


In the hot seat today on Capitol Hill, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan says he doesn't believe President Bush knew about a White House effort to leak CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's identity. But he could not say the same of Vice President Dick Cheney. He also says he think former adviser Karl Rove lied to President Bush about the name leaking.

In Texas, a request for a restraining order against Willie Jessop, a spokesman for Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect. An attorney for a 16-year-old girl who is named in court documents as Jeffs' daughter says the girl has been harassed and intimated by Jessop. The lawyer claims Jessop may be trying to prevent the girl from testifying before grand jury.

And big twins born at a North Carolina hospital, a healthy boy and girl with a combined weight of 23 pounds, one ounce. That's not a record, but it's still pretty remarkable -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. Yes, big babies.

Tom, our "Beat 360" photo of the day happens to be one of Scott McClellan testifying on Capitol Hill. That's his lawyer by his side.

Here's the caption from our staff winner, Matt. He imagines the lawyer saying: "Scott, remember that witness protection conversation we had a few months back? I was just told that's not going to happen."

If you think you can do better, go to our new Web site, Click on the "Beat 360" link. Send us your entry. And we really do read your entries during the program. Right now, honestly, nothing is better than Matt's. So, let's see if you can do better. Log on, give it a try.

Up next on the program: Senator Obama warns supporters that Republicans will try to make them afraid of him by bringing up his race, among other things. Are his comments fair or is he just fuelling the fire? We will play you the comments. You can decide for yourself.

Also ahead, more than a dozen girls all under the age of 17 pregnant at one high school in New England. In many of the cases, apparently, it is no accident. They actually wanted to get pregnant. Reportedly, one of the men involved is a homeless adult. We will take you up close in the troubling story of an alleged pregnancy pact -- coming up.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naive as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle or with a single candidate, particularly...


OBAMA: ... particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.


COOPER: Well, that was Senator Barack Obama back in March giving a speech on race, in an effort to distance himself, you will remember, from his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright's offensive remarks had forced Obama's hand, essentially. The speech was kind of damage control, but, tonight a much different story.

At a fund-raiser in Florida today, Senator Obama talked about race with really no prompting at all when describing what to expect from Republicans in the campaign ahead. His comments are fueling a lot of debate tonight. So, here's what he said.



OBAMA: We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me.



OBAMA: They're going to say, you know what? He's -- he's -- he's young and inexperienced. And he's got a funny name.


OBAMA: Did I mention he's black?


COOPER: What is interesting is, just last week at a fund-raiser near Chicago, Obama made similar remarks about Republicans, telling supporters -- quote -- "They're going to try to make me into a scary guy. They're even trying to make Michelle into a scary person, right? And, so, that drumbeat, we're not sure if he's patriotic or not. We're not sure if he's too black."

So, as we said, these comments are getting a lot of attention tonight. We have got two different perspectives when I talked a short time ago to Democratic strategist Jonathan Prince and Republican strategist Tara Wall. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Tara, is there an element of truth in what Barack Obama said?

TARA WALL, DEPUTY EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, I think that's -- irregardless of the fact, I think it's disappointing coming from Barack Obama.

It's not surprising. I have written about this before, that, now he's the nominee, the presumptive nominee, that, at every turn, those on the left and Democrats would cite or claim racism at every turn. It is surprising, though, coming from Barack Obama, as the person who has said he wants to supersede this, supersede race, not interject race.

It is quite disappointing, because he is the one who is the candidate. And, quite frankly, I think he dilutes cases of true racism, when racism does exist, as opposed to making broad statements without a shred of evidence.

COOPER: Jonathan, is there a shred of evidence?


I think that we have seen for decades that the Republicans will do anything they can to win elections. And they have injected race and injected fear into every presidential election that I can think of, beginning with Willie Horton 20-some-odd years ago, where they threw race right into the middle of the thing.

And fear is basically their calling card when it comes to presidential politics.


COOPER: But, Jonathan, are you surprised that Barack Obama, who have some have called a post-racial candidate, has brought up race now at least twice in the past two weeks?

PRINCE: I'm not surprised at all. I think it's -- you know, I think it's a smart thing to do, actually, to tell the country to beware about what's coming, because it is coming. They will stop at -- and is it going to come from Senator McCain's mouth, necessarily? I don't know.

But are all those millions of dollars that are being corralled by the 527s and the Republican Party out there, are they going to stop at anything to prevent Barack Obama from becoming president, if they can? No way. They will play every nasty trick in the book.


WALL: Well, this is the epitome of fear.

We cannot continue to perpetuate this in the black community over and over and over again. You know, Democrats have used this argument since 1965, and have not thought of anything new. We need a transcendent discussion.


PRINCE: Democrats aren't the people who put the Willie Horton ad on TV.


WALL: Listen, whoever does it, we need to transcend the issue of race and stopper perpetuating this fearmongering in the black community by simply saying: Republicans are racist. Republicans hate you.

It is -- it does -- it gets us nowhere.


WALL: There are black Republicans and conservatives who are working for John McCain. There are black Republicans and conservatives and moderates who want to support Barack Obama. I think it is further divisive to have the candidate perpetuate this.


PRINCE: Senator Obama did not say that Republicans are racists. What he said is that they're going to come at me with everything they can.

WALL: They who?

PRINCE: And we have seen that over and over again in presidential elections with Republicans.


WALL: They who? He didn't say that about the Clintons. He didn't say that about the Clintons when they did inject race.


PRINCE: Senator McCain tried to associate Senator Obama with Hamas. If that's not fearmongering, what is it? Come on, Tara.

COOPER: Well, Jonathan, to Tara's point, you look at his quote.

He says: "We now know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperience, and he's got a funny name. Did I mention he's black?"

Tara's point is, he never said that stuff against the Clintons. How come it's fair for him to say that against the Republicans?

PRINCE: Because we have seen it. We have seen it in presidential politics from Republicans over and over again. Look at Willie Horton. You don't need to look any further. Look at what they tried to do to John Kerry.

WALL: Pick something new.

PRINCE: The whole message of the Bush reelection campaign was: Vote for John Kerry, be very afraid because the terrorists are coming.


COOPER: Tara, are you saying that it's not true, though?

WALL: Listen...

COOPER: Do you think it's not true that you're not going to try to make you afraid of him, that whoever -- that the folks between -- behind 527s or the McCain campaign, that they're not going to claim he's young and inexperienced?


WALL: Listen, McCain has denounced this early on, any raising these issues of race. They is a very broad word and term. You can't lump all of they together. As you know, I have worked at the Republican Party as a senior adviser. There wasn't this strategy where we sat down and said, we're going to run ads saying that Democrats are this and that we're -- you know, black people this and brown people that, and they -- there's not this concerted effort to do that.

It's wrong whoever makes racist remarks or racist accusations. But everything is not racist. You can't just...


COOPER: So, your problem with it is that he's painting his opponents with too broad a brush?

WALL: Yes. You can't say, if you disagree with Senator Barack Obama as a Republican, that you're a racist. That's not going to fly.

PRINCE: Nobody said that, Tara. That's just a complete distortion of what Senator Obama said.

WALL: But that is what he is alluding to.

PRINCE: What Senator Obama said is that there's a choice between hope and fear. And we know that they're going to try to make you afraid.

COOPER: Tara Wall, Jonathan Prince, appreciate your perspectives.

WALL: Sure.

PRINCE: Thanks, Anderson. Thanks for having us. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, just ahead, new poll numbers out today. We are going to tell you who's leading and by how much and how much money they're now pulling in.

Plus, Hillary Clinton is back, an announcement today she will begin campaigning with Obama next week. Is this a just sign, though, of party unity, or a hint she may be a serious contender for V.P.?

Plus, the teenage pregnancy epidemic rocking a Massachusetts town? Why would a group of high school girls at one school make a pact to get pregnant? Is that actually what happened? The stunning details up close.

We will be right back.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: New poll numbers released today. CNN's latest poll of polls shows Senator Obama leading Senator McCain by six points -- 46 percent to 40 percent; 14 percent of people undecided in those poll of polls.

Another new number out today, $22 million, that's how much Obama's campaign says he has raised last month, giving him $43 million in hand tonight. John McCain raised $21 million in May, his biggest haul yet. He started June with more than $31 million in the bank.

Meantime behind the scenes, Obama has been trying to mend fences with Hillary Clinton and today he announced they'll campaign together side by side next week.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is on the trail.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Get ready for the Obama-Clinton unity tour.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Our party and our country are stronger because of the work that Hillary Rodham Clinton has done throughout her life.

MALVEAUX: One week from today, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will hit the campaign trail together to promote his candidacy for president.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, I am standing with Senator Obama to say, "Yes, we can!"

MALVEAUX: Those familiar with Clinton's thinking say this is not about friendship but for her own political future. Her appearance with him will send a powerful message to her faithful.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER, (D) MISSOURI: She's going to be out campaigning and I think that will say to her supporters it's okay, the water is fine, come on in.

MALVEAUX: But Clinton supporters are still leery.

REP. CAROLYN MCCARTHY, (D) NEW YORK: He can't do it all in one day. There are a lot of people he needs to reach out to.

MALVEAUX: Voters will be watching their body language. While close associates said they haven't exactly kissed and made up, they have been working hard to merge their teams.

OBAMA: And I look forward to working with her --

MALVEAUX: This week, Obama reached out to key voting groups that had supported Clinton, Hispanics, Union leaders and white women. Wednesday, Obama hosted a fundraiser at the home of Ethel Kennedy. Clinton and Obama loyalists gave the Democratic Party $28,000 a pop. Senator Clinton has called on 100 of her top fundraisers to meet with her and Obama next week to join forces.

Close associates of Obama and Clinton say there is still tension between them and their camps. The sticking point, Clinton's debt, as high as $30 million. Obama's camp says they'll help Clinton pay it off but there's still no deal.


Clinton advocates say it's in Obama's interest to retire her debt because the less time Clinton has to spend fundraising, the more time she has to campaign for Obama. And secondly, with her high-powered donors, she has the ability to raise anywhere from $50 to $100 million for him.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Washington.

COOPER: And the amount of money we're talking about is just extraordinary.

Up next, one high school, 17 pregnant girls. Now if this wasn't enough, we're learning that some of those girls got pregnant apparently on purpose. At least one reportedly had sex with a homeless guy to do it. What is going on? We're going to go up close.

Also have you seen this camper? Police believe it may have been used by a multi-millionaire fugitive, Samuel Israel. He is still on the run tonight. New clues in the search and how you might be able to help, next.


COOPER: At Gloucester High School in Massachusetts, something strange is happening this year. Enrollment is way up for the Daycare Center. In fact, there's already a waiting list for September.

That's because kids there are having kids and possibly not by accident. School officials say at least 17 girls are pregnant, 17. Those officials believe that some of the girls formed a pact, an agreement between one another to intentionally have kids.

One of the fathers is reportedly a homeless man. That is just the beginning. There are new developments tonight, new details on the shocking story about sex and status and possibly statutory rape.

"360's" Randi Kaye takes us "Up Close."


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: High School is hard enough, so why would a group of girls from Gloucester, Massachusetts, a fishing village outside Boston, choose to get pregnant? In all, 17 girls are having babies; some as young as 15. Not one of them is married.


KAYE: High School administrators are reeling after learning there may have been some sort of pregnancy pact. Even more shocking, the superintendent believes at least one girl had sex with a 24-year- old homeless man just to be part of the group.

The pact is so secretive, we couldn't even find out the girl's names. This man told us the girls tried to convince his stepdaughter to get pregnant too.

TED SORENSON, STEPFATHER OF GLOUCESTER TEEN: There was a tremendous amount of peer pressure, negative peer pressure for as many girls as possible to join in this pact. And luckily my stepdaughter was smart enough or scared enough to say no.

KAYE: School officials first began to take notice last October when so many girls started showing up at the nurse's office to find out if they were pregnant. The nurse reportedly gave as many as 150 pregnancy tests.

The superintendent says the girls went back over and over, until they got the results they wanted.

FARMER: There's some talk of high fives and that kind of thing.

KAYE: Amanda Ireland, who just graduated from Gloucester High, had a baby her freshman year. She knows one of girls in the alleged pregnancy pact.

AMANDA IRELAND: I asked her if she was keeping the baby and she said yes.

KAYE: The superintendent says a handful of the girls have already delivered. Ireland can't understand why anyone would choose to get pregnant so young.

IRELAND: It's definitely not all peaches and cream.

KAYE: The superintendent says the men who fathered the children are not students. They're older, in their 20s. If the girls agree to name them, he says, they could face statutory rape charges.

And there's more. The school's doctor has resigned after coming under fire for handing out contraceptives. It's against district policy.

DR. BRIAN ORR, CLINIC'S MEDICAL DIRECTOR: We were on our way to try to do things that any parent, any adult, any community would want, decreasing the initiation of having sex and decreasing the number of sexual partners.

KAYE: Sex education is only taught freshman year.

Why isn't it offered beyond that?

FARMER: We are very poorly funded by the state of Massachusetts.

KAYE: Plus, with the economy so weak here and parents scrambling to make money, this mother of five says children may not be getting enough attention at home.

SHEILA HORGAN, GLOUCESTER RESIDENT: I think parents are so busy trying to make money to survive in this economy that they're not focused on their children.

KAYE: Others blame Hollywood movies like "Juno" that glamorized teen pregnancy.

HORGAN: It ruins their whole lives. It affects these children. Who can take care of these children? Who is going to be responsible for these children the rest of their lives?

KAYE: It's a question here many wish the girls in the pregnancy pact had asked themselves nine months ago.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Gloucester, Massachusetts.


COOPER: Officials say the girls are welcome back to school. They believe they'll be returning. The school has a free daycare on site. Usually about four girls a year get pregnant so they want to keep the girls in school.

They may introduce some programs to try and prevent this from happening again, saying they're "going to discuss it."

We want to discuss it right now. Why would these kids want to have kids? 16 years old we're talking about and under.

Joining me now is Lisa Boesky, a clinical psychologist and author of the book "When to Worry." Why would teens decide to get pregnant on purpose? What are they thinking?

LISA BOESKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Keep in mind this is a whole new area of teen pregnancy. We worried about preventing unplanned pregnancy. This is planned teen pregnancy. And so we look at -- there's a couple reasons, two that had been around for a while and new one that's the most insidious.

Number one, we know when there's an economic downturn, when kids don't feel like they have a future or they don't have goals, it's not likely they're going to get into college, they often feel a sense of purpose from becoming a parent. Number two, when kids aren't feeling particularly girls, love and care, they're going to seek for it elsewhere whether it's from boys or from babies.

And third and I think the most insidious right now is this culture of celebrity pregnancy list. Everywhere you look, whether it's on the TV or in magazines, you see these celebrities pregnant, happy, blissful, playing with their toddler, with absolutely no discussion about consequences, financial consequences.

COOPER: It's like the baby is a new accessory in Hollywood.

BOESKY: That's exactly it. And I think it's being shown to kids as it's a new trendy, fun thing to do. They see baby showers, they see these people getting attention and you see absolutely no negative consequences for the celebrities. If anything, they're getting more air time. They were talking about them more.

COOPER: We were just showing a picture there of Jamie Lynn Spears. I guess the question is where are these kids' parents? What kind of a message are their -- if these kids have enough time to make some sort of a pact as is alleged, clearly people were talking about it for a long period of time. The fact that no adults or parents seemed to pick up on it is mind boggling.

BOESKY: The reality is national. I don't think this is specific to Massachusetts. I think we're going to see this nationally, this trend.

One of the things we see repeatedly is that teens consistently say they want to be talking to their parents about sex, relationships and pregnancy, but that their parents seem to be uncomfortable with it. We also see that parents tend to think that peers are more influential. Where teens will say my parents are the biggest influence when it comes to sex and relationships.

The parents still believe that they do "the talk" and that's it and that's completely wrong. They need to be having these discussions year after year and it needs to start way before the teenage years.

COOPER: So is the search for in some cases intimacy and love and what the baby is going to give them, unconditional love. The news flash is having a baby is all about giving the baby love.

BOESKY: That's exactly right. When you're a teenager -- I mean think about it, they're seeing this baby that's going to be dependent on them, they see it like a little companion. And when you look at the pictures, or you see people or you even baby sit, these kids are pretty good. They're not that difficult. But you know as well as I do, long-term those babies are a lot of work. Again, the teenage brain can't appreciate long-term consequences. They live in the moment. They have absolutely no concept.

COOPER: And I guess the school has a daycare center. I guess it's a double edge sword. You want these kids to stay in school but at the same time you don't want to make it seem so easy for them to do that.

BOESKY: I think that's the challenge. The reality is teen mothers have a much higher rate of dropping out of high school. They have a much higher chance of being on welfare. So it's important for us to keep them in school, to get them a high school diploma and to help them with their career. But is it sending a message to the other kids that there's no consequences?

So there's a balance that needs to be reached and clearly schools need to look at this more comprehensively because it's a very complex issue.

COOPER: Well, it's also controversial for schools to hand out birth control. Would greater access to contraceptives do you think have made a difference in this case?

BOESKY: Well, I think contraception in schools is a very important issue. I think in this particular case, they could have had condoms hanging from the trees and it wouldn't have made a difference because these girls wanted to get pregnant. So it's not likely they were going to use that condom.

COOPER: Bottom line for parents right now listening in, talk to your kids not just once about this when they're in the ninth grade, but talk to them repeatedly. It's an ongoing conversation.

BOESKY: A couple of things, talk to them, listen to them, supervise them and girls should not be dating boys more than two years older than them. And under the age of 16, they should not be doing one on one dating. And we need to be educating our boys too. They need to be protecting themselves as well.

COOPER: All right. Lisa Boesky appreciate you and thanks. Good advice.

Next on the program, hunting for a millionaire fugitive. Police are looking for your help. The latest on the man hunt for this guy, Samuel Israel, hedge fund manager, staged his own suicide. There are some new clues the police want you to know about.

And later, a woman goes for a dive on her honeymoon and winds up dead. Take a look at that picture, see that body on the ocean floor. That's the woman lying on the background dead on the floor and her husband is now the accused killer. Details coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: On the run, considered armed and dangerous; tonight, the search for fugitive Samuel Israel is intensifying. U.S. Marshals are fanning out trying to find the hedge fund manager who bilked nearly half a billion dollars from investors. Tracking him down begins with three clues.

Tonight's "Crime and Punishment" report, here's "360's" Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The companion, a license plate and this RV may be the only leads authorities have in finding Samuel Israel III. Instead of showing up for his 20-year prison sentence, the Wall Street fraud faked his own death and went on the run. But where could he be?

PHIL PARROTT, NATIONAL WHITE COLLAR CRIME CENTER: The days when a fugitive can roll around the United States of America like Dr. Kimble looking for the one-arm man are over. Easier if you have enough money to get out of the country and be a fugitive there.

FOREMAN: Maybe not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you help him?

FOREMAN: Deborah Ryan is believed to be Israel's girlfriend, charged with aiding and abetting the fugitive, she allegedly told investigators Israel parked an RV at a rest stop before she drove him home in her car.

That was the day Israel was to surrender to authorities. U.S. Marshals are looking for a 2007 Coach Freelander RV, it is white with stripes across the sides. It also may have a hydraulic lift holding a blue 2005 Yamaha Scooter. The New York license plate number is EEN- 5973. Israel is considered armed and dangerous.

No one knows where he is now but his past is an open book. Before pleading guilty, he was rolling in dough. A hedge fund manager, his company promised a fortune to investors. But what the clients did not know was that all their money was going to him; hundreds of millions of dollars.

ROSS INTELISANO, PROSECUTOR: They were hoping to get a good portion of their money back and have him go to jail and just move on. And they're very frustrated that it's not.

FOREMAN: Just two months ago, Israel asked for mercy from the court. In a pre-sentencing statement to the judge, he begged for leniency, writing "I do not think I am a horrible person. I am a person who made a horrible mistake."


COOPER: Seems like he just made another horrible mistake. Tom, I know you're following some of the other stories tonight in the "360 News and Business Bulletin. What have you got?

FOREMAN: We begin with a stunning murder charge linked to a deadly dive. Here's the crime scene. You see the victim, Christina Watson, lying on the ocean floor there. It happened five years ago off the coast of Australia. But authorities have only now decided to charge her groom, Daniel Gabriel Watson with murder. The Alabama couple were there on their honeymoon. Extradition proceedings are now under way.

A major development in finding the source of the tomato salmonella outbreak. The Food and Drug Administration says the contaminated tomatoes were grown in Florida and Mexico. Investigators are heading out to several farms this weekend. More than 500 people have gotten sick from the tomatoes in 32 states.

And on Wall Street, a dismal day, stocks took a nosedive, plunging more than 220 points and the Dow closed under 12,000 for the first time in three months. The Nasdaq and S&P also had big losses. Anderson, not so good for the old pocketbook.

COOPER: Not good at all.

All right time now for our "Beat 360" winners. It's a chance for viewers to kind of show up our staff by coming up with a better caption for the picture we post in our blog everyday.

So tonight's picture, former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan testifying on Capitol Hill with his attorney. Our staff winner is Matt. He envisions the lawyer saying: "Scott, remember the witness protection conversation we had a few months back? I was just told that's not going to happen."

Our viewer winner, Joe. His caption: "Quick, get under the table. Rove just walked in and boy, does he look mad."

Starting Monday, "Beat 360" winners will get a nifty "I Beat 360" t-shirt. Here it is. Look at that "I Won the Beat 360 Challenge." There you go. Get details at our new Website,

Still ahead, take a close look at these wedding gowns. Each one made the final cut in a national design contest. But you can see all the details on some of them but wait till you hear what they're made of. You're not going to believe this. Tonight's Shot is next.

Also ahead, the latest on the floods. Who's still in danger and who is finally getting some relief. The story changing minute by minute. We'll bring you up to speed when "360" continues.


COOPER: Tom, time now for "The Shot." This is proof that there is a contest for everything. Take a look.

At the fourth annual toilet paper wedding dress, that's right, toilet paper wedding dress contest; this is the fourth annual one. In New York, these gowns made the final cut. Under the rules, contestants could use only toilet tissue, paper and tape to make the dresses. Katrina Shalifu (ph) from Rockford, Illinois, beat out hundreds of other designers -- you can't tell that's toilet paper. Anyway, beat 100 designers, won $1,000. It's like a bad episode of "Project Runaway." She also shared one of her design secrets, wetting the tissue and then fitting it into molds and it helped of course if the tissue is not used.

You can see all the most recent shots on our new Website You can also see other segments from the program, read the blog, check out the "Beat 360" picture. Try to wrangle one of those new fancy "I Won the 360 Challenge" t-shirts. The new address again

Coming up now at the top of the hour, the Midwest flooding, welcome news for some. More danger for others ahead. We have the latest on what's coming next and where tonight on "360."


COOPER: Tonight, we have breaking news. People surrounded, their homes now islands. Neighbors pitching in to help but they are battling the water and it is moving fast.

We'll show you where the Mississippi River is going next. We'll also take you where it's bad but also where it's getting better. We'll bring you the new forecast, more rain on the way. We'll also look at the army corps of engineers, keeping them honest. Did they do more harm than good by building all the levees in the first place?

Also ahead tonight, "Raw Politics," a new blunt warning from Barack Obama. Today, he tells supporters, Republicans may play the race card. The question is, is he tackling the problem head on or playing the race card himself? You're going to hear his surprising new comments and can judge for yourself.

Plus Hillary Clinton and Obama team up, an announce today, their first joint campaign.