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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Disaster Zone; The Politics of Fear; Unity Campaign of Obama and Clinton; Don Imus: Here We Go Again; Successful Operation of Girl with Eight Limbs
Aired June 23, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Don Imus, has he done it again? He's back in the hot seat, and yes, it is his mouth that got him there.
This time he was talking about a single black athlete, not a whole team. He says he was defending the guy. We have the tape. We'll play his comments and you can judge for yourself.
Also we're live following the floods. We'll take you to the disaster zone where parts of the Mississippi are still rising. People packing up homes that soon may be unlivable, and neighbors helping neighbors fighting to keep disaster from their doors.
We'll have the latest.
And Barack Obama also and John McCain and the politics of fear. The outcry after a top McCain aide says a terror attack on America would be good for McCain. The reaction, fast and furious, you'll hear what McCain is saying about it now.
And is Hillary onboard the Obama express. New information tonight about her phone call with the man who beat her and the joint appearance they'll make this week.
Plus, the high school pregnancy pact, was it a hoax? The mayor of Gloucester, Massachusetts, where it allegedly happened is skeptical. He held a news conference today, all the latest tonight.
We start off in the flood zone, really two disasters unfolding at once; the massive damage where the Mississippi river is receding and the disaster yet to come where water levels still have not peaked.
Volunteers filling 50,000 sandbags in Lincoln County, Missouri, where local official compared being on one of the levees to walking on a water-bed. Residents in Winfield, Missouri and Grafton, Illinois bracing for near record water levels. Others moving out, some for good.
Following the flooding for us tonight, David Mattingly in Gulfport, Illinois and Gary Tuchman in Grafton -- Gary?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson just a couple of days ago, this sign had a great connotation, now not so good. This river front property has become in river property. This used to be a backyard. Now there's a canoe here, river waters and a house and this is what's happening all throughout the town of Grafton, Illinois.
This is Main Street in downtown Grafton. Many of the businesses, most of the businesses are now under water. It's very quiet here. This city is right next to the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, but both those rivers have not crested yet. So there's a lot of anxiety here in Grafton.
TUCHMAN: A tractor trailer is parked next to Jimbo's General Store in Grafton, Illinois.
J. TOLLEY, GRAFTON RESIDENT: We've got to get everything out of here.
TUCHMAN: Jim Tolley and his wife Linda are packing up the inventory, getting ready to load all the groceries and hardware on the truck and drive it away if the flood waters keep rising.
J. TOLLEY: Get more boxes put together.
TUCHMAN: Which they don't want to do until the last minute because of the overwhelming nature of the task but the river still isn't expected to crest for two days, so they know they might have to.
Jim and Linda, you live up the street?
LINDA TOLLEY, GRAFTON RESIDENT: Yes, we do.
J. TOLLEY: Across the street.
TUCHMAN: You have your store here and you are surrounded by water?
J. TOLLEY: Yes.
L. TOLLEY: We are.
TUCHMAN: The flood waters are lapping at the back of the store to the south. They are also rising less than 20 feet away from the store on the east and west.
The only escape route, a small filling road to the north just past their house, their home and their livelihood now in jeopardy.
Is it tense waiting for two days to see what happens?
J. TOLLEY: Real tense.
L. TOLLEY: Especially when they're predicting rain north of us.
TUCHMAN: Keeping an eye on the flood forecast is now Jim Tolley's main job.
J. TOLLEY: First thing I do when I get up is turn the computer on, check out the water level. And that's the last thing I'm looking at before I go to bed.
TUCHMAN: 15 years ago, the store was deluged with 6 1/2 feet of flood water. The owner then eventually sold it to Jim Tolley.
Like almost every other business along the river in Grafton, the Tolley store is out of business for now. The water is very high. Basketball backboards are submerged. Water Street is a street with 10 feet of water.
There is certainly a feeling of deja vu in Grafton. During the floods of 1993 about 150 homes were destroyed from flood waters. There are about 30 percent fewer residents here today than then.
Even if Jimbo's isn't devastated by flood waters, his store has been closed for a week and will likely be shut for a minimum of two weeks more in its busiest season.
J. TOLLEY: Pretty much a disaster as far as at the financial part of it. Money is still going out but none is coming in.
TUCHMAN: Homes on hilltops are doing fine. But anything in Grafton at the river's level either is or could soon be under water. The river is bringing trouble, but it's also an indelible part of these people's lives.
L. TOLLEY: I've lived here all my life. So you know -- I know it can happen, so --
TUCHMAN: So you're not cursing the river?
L. TOLLEY: No, I'm not. No, I like the river. Not this high. I like it in its banks.
TUCHMAN: But in Grafton, at least for now, the river and many of the streets are one.
COOPER: Gary, have the residents left? I mean is there a mandatory evacuation order?
TUCHMAN: Most of the people seem to have left, Anderson. It's very quiet here. But there's no mandatory evacuation order. And the main reason for that seems to be there are no levees here in Grafton.
Now levees may protect you from flooding, so in this case flood waters may be coming in because there are no levees. But because you don't have levees, you don't have to worry about the flash flooding. When the levees break, you have the flash flooding.
And then if you haven't left you may be stuck, here it's so gradual, that people feel it's safe to stay. If the water starts comes in too much, then they'll literally head for the hills.
COOPER: All right Gary Tuchman thanks from Grafton
Just up river in Gulfport, Illinois, the damage is done. And some people there are blaming the federal government for making it worse long before the water even started to rise. Their gripe is with FEMA over flood insurance, the message they say they were getting or not getting about the need to buy it.
CNN's David Mattingly is "Keeping them Honest."
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the levee crumbled and the river came crashing in, the village of Gulfport, Illinois never had a chance.
RICK GIRSTOW (PH), GULFPORT RESIDENT: It almost looks like a tidal wave came across the road. Almost like the end of the world is what it looks like.
MATTINGLY: And for Gulfport, it may well be the end. Only 28 people out of this river town of about 200 had federal flood insurance. The rest trusted the levee. Residents like Rick and Gina Girstow lost everything.
Did anyone ever suggest to you that you were taking a risk, your bank, any city officials, any federal officials?
R. GIRSTOW: No.
GINA GIRSTOW, GULFPORT RESIDENT: No.
MATTINGLY: Did FEMA ever approach you saying maybe you ought to have flood insurance?
R. Girstow: No.
MATTINGLY: Gulfport was protected by a levee that wasn't strong enough to hold back the catastrophic 500-year flood that hit. But it was rated to withstand a 100-year flood. That was enough, but FEMA did not require homeowners to purchase flood insurance.
Is that tacitly sending a message to people that they might be safe there?
"Keeping them Honest," I called FEMA, wanting to know if mistakes were made.
TERRY REUSS FELL, FEMA FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT: We do our best to advertise the availability of flood insurance and encourage people to purchase it.
MATTINGLY: I'm looking at the town right now; it's completely under the river. That most of this town may not be able to be salvaged. At what point was this town failed by this system that only 28 people had flood insurance?
FELL: We implement the laws that are given to us and the laws right now deal with the floodplain management regulations within that 100- year floodplain and the insurance purchase requirements in that area also. MATTINGLY: But changes may be coming. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut wants a law requiring flood insurance for everyone living in levee-protected areas.
SEN. CHRIS DODD, CONNECTICUT: I don't know how you define protected but I don't know how you call that protected when you're telling people they don't have to have this, they don't need it.
MATTINGLY: As bad as this looks, FEMA says its risk analysis for Gulfport was accurate. The agency is now working on a billion dollar upgrade to outdated maps as well as a reassessment of flood dangers all over the country. Some say that can't be finished soon enough because of climate change.
STEPHEN FLYNN, AUTHOR, "THE EDGE OF DISASTER": Some estimates are by 2050, the 100-year storm will become the 10-year storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See how much City Hall has moved?
MATTINGLY: This police video from inside Gulfport shows the Village Hall, pushed off its foundation, the flag flying in a swirl of muddy water. This is all that's left of the house the Girstows left behind.
Will you ever go back to that house?
R. GIRSTOW: No, sir. I would not go back to the town. I would never live there again.
COOPER: David, what did FEMA actually do to inform people in Gulfport that they should have flood insurance?
MATTINGLY: All of this information is on FEMA'S Website but I was told today they do not have an advertising budget, so they weren't able to go out aggressively to approach people in places like this and say, "Hey, you need this flood insurance."
The couple we talked to just a moment ago, you heard from them, that that critical point when they got that loan when they signed on the dotted line for their new house, that's when they needed that information and that's not when they got that.
It's the too-late sort of situation where you have all this water coming in and that's when they realized, "Wow, we really should have had that flood insurance."
COOPER: All right David Mattingly covering it for us. David thanks.
As always I'm blogging throughout the hour. You can join the conversation. Go to our new Website, ac360.com.
Up next, our political panel weighs in. A top McCain campaign aide says a terror attack on America would help John McCain.
The reaction has been fast and furious. We have the latest "Raw Politics."
And later on the trail, Barack Obama wooing women and Hillary Clinton. New details about Obama's phone call with Clinton last night. And the joint appearance they'll make later this week.
Plus, the so-called pregnancy pact in a Massachusetts high school. Was it a hoax? And if it's real, would handing out birth control at school have made a difference?
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is here along with Cecile Richards, president of "Planned Parenthood."
Tonight on "360."
COOPER: John McCain's campaign took major hit today when it was revealed the senior adviser suggested that a terror attack on America would benefit McCain's presidential run.
In an interview with "Fortune" magazine, he said the assassination of Benazir Bhutto last December helps John McCain win New Hampshire by showcasing his national security credentials.
The adviser said that while Bhutto's death was unfortunate, Senator McCain's "...knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us."
When asked if another terror attack on America would have the same effect, Black told "Fortune," - quote - "Certainly it would be a big advantage to him." The adviser apologized. Senator McCain rejected the comments.
The Obama campaign however, was quick to jump on their remarks.
CNN's Dana Bash joins me now with the "Raw Politics." Along with "Time" columnist and author Joe Klein and CNN's senior political analyst and former presidential adviser, David Gergen.
So Dana, how did McCain himself respond to Charlie Black's comments?
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know Senator McCain, Anderson, was told by reporters before he was told by his own staff about what Charlie Black said. So he was caught off guard a little bit. But it was very clear from his response this afternoon he was not happy.
Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I cannot imagine why he would say it. It's not true. It's a -- I've worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America. My record is very clear. If he said that, and I do not know the context, I strenuously disagree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now we should note that Charlie Black issued a statement saying that he regretted his comments and that that has nothing to do with how John McCain has led his campaign. But he also said that he didn't necessarily mean that in general.
What he was trying to say, Anderson, was that he was talking about the fact that John McCain, they believe, would benefit any time of this -- the narrative in this campaign is about national security.
That's something that Charlie Black and so many other McCain officials have said to me and I'm sure lots of other reporters. But as you can imagine, what I'm hearing for the meantime in the McCain campaign is palpable frustration. They thought that they had a message today about energy; they thought they had some headline grabbing new ideas and we're talking about this.
COOPER: Joe, you see a pattern in this. Is it true what he says, I mean is it accurate what he says? Would this actually benefit John McCain and should he have said it?
JOE KLEIN, TIME MAGAZINE COLUMNIST: Well, first of all, he's absolutely should not have said it. It is perfectly fine to talk about your candidate's national security credentials and John McCain certainly has a ton of those.
But there's been a pattern in the Republican Party going back to Karl Rove briefing the Republican National Committee in 2003 on the fact that the war in Iraq was going to be good for Republicans. This is another step along that same path.
As to whether it would actually help McCain, who would want to speculate on that? But I'll tell you one thing, the Obama camp would have a great comeback and it's this -- the war in Iraq, which McCain has supported, you know, vociferously, is believed by a good chunk of our intelligence community and military to have been a diversion from the real battle against Al Qaeda.
The real battle in Pakistan against Osama Bin Laden and you know, I think that Barack Obama really does want to have that national security debate, whether we've been focusing on the right things.
COOPER: David, the Obama campaign responded very quickly with this statement. I want to read it out, "The fact that John McCain's top adviser says, that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a 'big advantage' for their political campaign is a complete disgrace, and is exactly the kind of politics that needs to change."
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Charlie Black's comments are not in the same league as those of Don Imus today, but nonetheless, I think the Obama campaign has seen this was a serious mistake; he went way over the line.
It was a dumb mistake, too, especially dumb coming -- surprising coming from Charlie Black, who is an experienced campaign veteran of many, many campaigns and is usually very cautious in what he says.
In this case, he gives offense because it appears that perhaps there are those within the McCain campaign who unlike the senator would actually welcome an attack because it may help them win. I actually think that John McCain was -- had a point today when he said it's not necessarily true that such an attack would help him.
After all, one of the only claims that -- with which John McCain wants to be associated with regard to George Bush is we haven't had an attack since 9/11. Republicans believe that they can claim some credit for that.
So if there's another attack that rips away that one of the last arguments about how successful or a lack of success the Republicans have had in fighting terror as Joe Klein just said.
COOPER: Do you agree with that, Joe, that it might actually hurt?
KLEIN: Yes, I do. And to double down on McCain, the first thing that comes to John McCain's mind when he hears about the terrorist attack is the sort of violence and brutality associated with it, the kind of violence and brutality that he saw during the Vietnam War.
And so I think he was legitimately horrified by this remark. But still, this has been a pattern.
Jim Webb, the Democratic Senator from Virginia, who is a straight shooter on military stuff, in his new book he talks about how the Republicans have used the military, have politicized national security issues to the detriment of national unity.
COOPER: Dana, you were with John McCain when he was talking about Benazir Bhutto and reacting to her assassination back in December. What did he say then?
BASH: It was really interesting. I was with him that very day when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. We were in Iowa and he scrapped his entire town hall, what he had planned to say on the stump and he started out talking about the fact that he knew Benazir Bhutto, he knows the reason, he has been to Pakistan. He's been to Waziristan, so despite what everybody is talking about here, the reality is he knew right then and there back during the primaries when he was running against what he thought were other Republican candidates who didn't have the same experience as he did on the national stage, that that could benefit him.
And in fact, I asked him at that meeting whether he thought it would politically benefit him. I think we have the sound bite. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I'm the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment. So perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: So there it was pretty clear, even from back in December that obviously John McCain doesn't necessarily want to be encouraging a terrorist attack right now. But when it comes to outside events, things that no campaign can control on the world stage, John McCain is very aggressive at making the point that he has the experience to deal with it.
COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Dana, Joe Klein, David Gergen, guys, thanks very much.
Next on "360," turning predators into prey, hunting sharks, the tournament some call a sport, others consider abuse. Our "Planet in Peril" report when "360" continues.
COOPER: Tonight in our "Planet in Peril" report, the battle over sharks. They're among the most feared killers in the world but should they be protected? That debate raged on the seas recently where fishermen were hunting sharks while others were trying to save them from slaughter.
Here's CNN's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The hunt began at sunrise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a go, it's a go.
ACOSTA: More than 100 boats raced dozens of miles off the Long Island coastline -- in pursuit of the ocean's greatest predator.
For years, the shark tournaments have gone on with little fanfare but not anymore.
MIKE WASSERMAN, FISHERMAN: There's small fish.
ACOSTA: Mike Wasserman experienced the rush of reeling in top prize at this contest five years ago.
WASSERMAN: It's like getting that perfect "Hole-in-One."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 196.
ACOSTA: This year, the event paid out $140,000 in cash prizes. The anglers brought ashore 41 blue, thresher and Mako sharks and weighed in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 162.
ACOSTA: In shark tournaments, size matters. If you want to see your fish hanging up there, it needs to be in the top five in terms of weight. If it doesn't make the cut, your get to watch your trophy get chopped into pieces. It's a bloody spectacle and much of it too graphic to show, which is why the Humane Society of the United States considers this event a blood sport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just drifting out of the waters you know and to kill them for nothing is not what we have in mind here on a Saturday afternoon.
BILL HEATH, PRESIDENT OF THE SHARK TOURNAMENT: We don't look on this as killing for fun.
ACOSTA: Tournament president Bill Heath points out the smaller sharks are tagged and released, all part of the federally sanction event.
HEATH: The event at this point I mean to you know they like that pounding themselves on the chest, whether it be golf, whether it be baseball, whether it be football.
ACOSTA: Mixed in with the chest pounding is some science. Federal marine biologist Nancy Koehler studies the sharks as they come in, height, weight, and yes stomach contents.
NANCY KOEHLER, FEDERAL MARINE BIOLOGIST: Do we ever see the diamond rings? Over the years, surprisingly not as much but yes, we have gotten the garbage and the hamburger.
ACOSTA: Other scientists argue it's not worth the price, saying some of these sharks are on the decline worldwide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 414!
ACOSTA: On this day, it's a boat called "My Three Suds" that came up big. The crew landed a 414-pound thresher shark and bragging rates until next year.
Jim Acosta, CNN, Freeport, New York.
COOPER: Well, for more on this story in our "Planet in Peril" series, logon to ac360.com. That's where you can find photos and a whole lot more. The address again is ac360.com.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I want my daughters to grow up in an America where they have the exact same opportunities as the boys had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Senator Barack Obama campaigning today in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he met with working women and talked about the economic challenges they face; including equal pay. Now a lot has been made of the fact that Obama needs to work hard to work over Clinton's die-hard supporters, many of them women. And tonight there are new details about this week's joint campaign appearance Obama and Clinton are going to make.
CNN's Candy Crowley is "On the Trail" -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson, the latest they spoke to a source within the past couple of hours who tell me, who confirms to me that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Sunday night, last night, did have a phone call. It was described to me as friendly.
Another source tells me that one of the outstanding issues between these two campaigns is the issue of how to retire Hillary Clinton's debt. She has about $20 million in debt. She is willing to swallow about $10 million to $12 million of that. That's what she loaned herself.
But there's another $10 million. So they're still trying to work that out. And as yet, according to this source, there has been no agreement on how the two would approach that.
This is all starting off what's going to be a very busy week for the two of them as they come closer and closer together, first at a fundraiser, and then in front of voters.
CROWLEY: Apparently there's no time for subtlety.
OBAMA: How is it going, New Hampshire?
CROWLEY: Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will campaign together at a "Unite for Change" rally in Unity, New Hampshire a town where each won 107 primary votes.
OBAMA: Is this all low fat?
CROWLEY: The details of the joint Obama-Clinton appearance came on a female focus day as Obama toured a bakery in New Mexico owned by women.
OBAMA: These are beautiful.
CROWLEY: He was introduced by a state official and former Clinton supporter, now in Camp Obama.
LT. GOV. DIANE DENISH, (D) NEW MEXICO: We are angry. We haven't made any progress in the last eight years. And we might be angry, but we're really smart, too.
CROWLEY: Obama spent over an hour outlining a litany of proposals aimed at home and hearth issues, including his $1,000 middle class tax cut, up to a 50 percent tax credit for childcare, double the funding for after school programs, $10 billion more for early childhood education programs, and a requirement that employers provide seven paid sick days a year.
OBAMA: What we spend in a week in Iraq would fund all this stuff for a year or two years or three years. I mean that the magnitude, the scale of what we're spending at the federal government and what we're short-changing that would make a real difference in the lives of women on a day-to-day basis.
CROWLEY: As Obama spoke, his campaign put out a press release celebrating the 36th anniversary of "Title IX" which among other things opened up college sports programs to women.
Despite the full court press and the Clinton women won't vote for Obama chatter, the numbers tell a different story. "USA Today" gallop found Obama with a healthy 55 percent of the female vote. That is more support from women than exit polls showed for John Kerry and on a par with Al Gore and Bill Clinton.
In fact, Obama's more significant problem is among another key Clinton well of support, seniors. Obama draws about 43 percent of voters over 65 in a recent CNN Opinion Research Corporation Poll. That is well below that of previous Democratic contenders.
It's no small item. About one in five voters is over 65 and in the past quarter century, every nominee who won seniors also won the popular vote.
COOPER: Candy, if Obama and Clinton are holding unity events, where is Bill Clinton in all of this? I mean publicly I don't think he's endorsed Obama, has he?
CROWLEY: He has not. He did have an event talking to mayors where he had faint praises really going a little far for what he had to say about one of Barack Obama's programs.
Nonetheless, look, this is still Hillary Clinton's show here. And you can imagine that she would like him to be quiet for a little while, while they work this out. But I did talk to somebody today who said of course he's going to endorse him.
The question, of course, is going to be when and how long he holds out because as we all know, and as we all saw in the final days of that campaign, Bill Clinton was very angry about how the campaign turned out. He was angry at the media. He was angry at some of the Obama people. So it may take him a bit longer than it will take Hillary Clinton.
Because in fact, the onus really was on her as far as the party was concerned to step up and bring this unity to the forefront for the party. So you'll hear from Bill Clinton but I suspect it will be later rather than sooner.
COOPER: All right we'll be waiting. Thanks very much, Candy. Appreciate it.
Still to come, that possible pregnancy pact in Massachusetts, 17 girls from one school are pregnant; we know that's a fact.
And today, the mayor of Gloucester, Massachusetts cast doubt on the idea of their being a pact, basically blamed budget cuts for the school's problems. We'll have the latest on the controversy that has America talking.
But first, Don Imus in hot water again for new comments about race could this be the end of his career?
We'll talk about his latest comments coming up and you can judge for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON IMUS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They're some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos. Some hard core hos. That's some nappy headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Has Don Imus done it again? Those were his comments back in April 2007 when he referred as you all remember to the Rutgers women's basketball team as nappy-headed hos.
Imus later apologized, he also lost his job. But he was quickly given another lucrative radio contract, hired that time by ABC Radio, who he now works for.
Tonight, he's once again facing more trouble for something he said about race, new comments, new controversy. It happened on air this morning when Imus and sportscaster Warner Wolf were talking about Adam "Pacman" Jones, a football player for the Dallas Cowboys. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WARNER WOLF, ABC SPORTSCASTER: Defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones recently signed by the Cowboys. Here's a guy suspended all of 2007, following the shooting in a Vegas nightclub.
IMUS: Well, stuff happens. You're in a nightclub, for god's sake. What do you think is going to happen at a nightclub? People are drinking, they're doing drugs. There are women there and people have guns. So there, go ahead.
WOLF: He's also been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.
IMUS: What color is he?
WOLF: He's African-American.
IMUS: Well, there you go. Ok, now we know.
(END AUDIO CLIP) COOPER: We've repeatedly attempted to contact Don Imus, his attorney and the radio station. But our calls have gone unanswered. However, Imus did tell "The New York Times" that he made that remark because "I meant he was being picked on because he's black."
We're "Digging Deeper" with CNN syndicated radio host Michael Medved who defended Don Imus in 2007 saying one stupid comment should not ruin his career. And CNN analyst and radio talk show host Roland Martin, who did not defend him.
Roland, what do you think now, do you think Imus -- do you believe him when he says that he meant Adam "Pacman" Jones was being picked on because he's black?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN ANALYST: Well, to believe that is you have to hear exactly what he said. And understand the context. I don't quite see that.
Not only that, Adam "Pacman" Jones didn't get picked on because he's black, because he's an idiot. Ok, that's what he is. He's gotten himself into trouble. But I don't understand how Imus came up with that. I didn't hear any of that in his statement. So maybe he's pulling that out of thin air.
COOPER: Michael, what do you think?
MICHAEL MEDVED, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Look, I think that this is the second time I cannot believe what I just heard. Actually hearing that segment for Imus to all of a sudden say, "What color is he?" What's outrageous about this, Anderson, is that Americans, if there's one area we don't want race to be a big factor, it's sports.
A lot of white kids like me grew up rooting for black sports heroes. Why would he -- and he did it before. That's what he did with Rutgers. Why bring race into that one arena where we should beyond any other being past it, which is professional sports. It really is sad. I feel sorry for Imus, but this is it. There's no defense for this.
COOPER: So you don't buy his excuse, Michael?
MEDVED: Look, I haven't heard the entire discussion. His excuse sounds very, very implausible. First of all, can there be anything more irrelevant than his question, what color is he? That to me is offensive.
MARTIN: Anderson, just I mean with us here. As Warner read the story, what he said was, Pacman Jones wants to change his name because of the bad publicity. Jones never said that he got in trouble because he's black.
So if that's the point that Imus was trying to make, you would think that the athlete himself would say, "I want to do this because the cops are picking on me." No. Somehow Imus brings that into the conversation. So it makes no sense whatsoever. It simply don't fit together.
COOPER: Do you think he should -- go ahead, Michael.
MEDVED: Yes, if there is one thing, if you're Don Imus right now, and, again, he was in total disgrace, it was a national discussion. The one thing you're going to be careful of, you have this big news show. He even has two African-American regulars on his show to try to deal with this problem.
I don't know what he could have been thinking. You would try to be so careful if you're Don Imus this kind of recklessness, this kind of crudeness. It's inexplicable to me.
COOPER: Two things. Roland, the vice president of WABC and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation which I guess is Imus's boss says, "It's unlikely they will take disciplinary action against him.
Al Sharpton called Imus's remarks disturbing and he said he's going to determine in the next day or so whether or not the remark warrants direct action by his National Action Network.
Imus said he's going to talk more about this tomorrow with Dick Gregory, an African-American comedian, who was originally booked on to talk about George Carlin. What do you think should happen, Roland?
MARTIN: I think Imus needs to somehow get a brain and say why do you even bring it up? It just makes no sense whatsoever. Of course Citadel and WABC aren't going to do anything; they've invested a whole lot of money into this guy.
And frankly, Don Imus is probably getting more attention right now than he's gotten since his show came back on the air because look, he's not a big deal anymore. He no longer has his TV show on a major network. And so they're probably happy he's getting all the publicity.
COOPER: I'm sorry to be talking about this again on this particular subject. Michael Medved, it's good to have you on again, Roland Martin as well. Thank you very much.
MEDVED: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thank you.
COOPER: If you want to see a discussion on this here on "360," be sure to check out our new AC360 Website. There's a blog going on, people talking about it right now. It's an extension of what we do here. But you can get it all day long the blog, the blog posts from people like Roland and other guests.
Behind the scenes reports from our team of correspondents and producers, links to video from the program you may have missed, 24 hours a day, at ac360.com. If you want to weigh in on the Imus controversy, you can check out our blog right now.
Up next, kids having kids, this other controversy America is talking about. The alleged pregnancy pact at one high school. Tonight, the mayor weighs in on the shocking story, the latest developments ahead.
And a bizarre day at the beach for actor Matthew McConaughey. Fellow surfers come to his defense in a paparazzi smack-down. What set them off? Ahead on 360.
COOPER: The principal called it "a teen pregnancy pact." The story we first told you about on Friday, a story that shocked America. At least 17 girls at Gloucester, high school in Massachusetts, became pregnant this year; 17. One of the fathers is reportedly a homeless man.
Officials of the school say some of the teens may have made an agreement between themselves to become mothers, intentionally getting themselves pregnant.
Tonight, some major new developments, Gloucester's mayor is speaking out saying there's absolutely no evidence that kids made a pact to get pregnant. So let's get the latest.
Here's CNN's Randi Kaye "Up Close."
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Damage control in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
MAYOR CAROLYN KIRK, GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS: Any planned blood oath bond to become pregnant, there is absolutely no evidence of.
KAYE: Suddenly, the mayor and school officials questioning reports of a pregnancy pact at Gloucester High School. This school year, 17 girls got pregnant. More than four times the school's average. Most are sophomores, some as young as 15.
KIRK: There has been no independent verification beyond what the principal has stated as one person that there was a pact.
KAYE: Just last week, school principal Dr. Joseph Sullivan told "Time" magazine the girls were part of a pact. Now says the mayor --
KIRK: He was foggy in his memory of how he heard about the information. When we pressed him for specifics about who told him, when was he told, his memory failed.
KAYE: Still, on Friday, Superintendent Christopher Farmer told me when the girls found out they were pregnant --
CHRISTOPHER FARMER, GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS HIGH SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: There's some talk of high fives.
KAYE: High fives to celebrate they were expecting. And this Gloucester resident told us he knew of a pact.
TED SORENSON, STEPDAUGHTER PRESSURED TO GET PREGNANT: 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: But today, no pact, no principal. He wasn't invited to the press conference. We tried reaching him. No luck. The mayor used the time to point fingers as to why she thinks so many girls from Gloucester high are expecting.
Meeting the under-funded demands of "No Child Left Behind" and state budget cuts she says make it impossible for sex education to be taught beyond freshman year.
KIRK: Budget cuts over the last six years have forced the elimination of almost 100 teachers and staff.
KAYE: Parents were also on the receiving end.
KIRK: Parents and guardians are the primary educators of their children. They are ultimately responsible for the health and well being of their children.
KAYE: Still up for debate is whether the school should dispense contraceptives on site. Only five districts in the state do. This isn't one of them. In fact, Gloucester High's doctor recently resigned after coming under fire for giving out birth control.
DR. BRIAN ORR, CLINIC'C MEDICAL DIRECTOR: We were on our way to trying 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: For Gloucester, it's a PR nightmare with no end in sight and still no clear beginning.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Ahead on "360," "Flash Point," extreme weather hits the west coast. While the latest on the scorching wildfires.
But first, a girl born with eight limbs; villagers called her a goddess. And tonight a look at how doctors transformed her life by doing a risky surgery when "360" continues.
COOPER: Now an update on a story that "360" and Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been following closely.
Last fall, a team of surgeons in India performed a ground-breaking operation on a little girl born with a condition so rare there are no reliable statistics for it. She had what doctors call "a parasitic twin" and her life was in danger. The operation that could save her was incredibly risky, never been tried.
Tonight, Sanjay has a rare look at how a toddler's life was transformed.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: India's Bihar ridge, where Hindu villagers pray to a goddess. Luxury for wealth and grace. It's here that Poonam Tatma (ph) had a dream.
POONAM TATMA, MOTHER OF GIRL WITH EIGHT LIMBS: I had a dream that I had to make a temple to Lakshmi.
GUPTA: In October of 2005, Poonam's daughter Lakshmi Tatma was born, strangely, during the festival of Lakshmi. Like the goddess she was named for, Lakshmi had eight limbs.
Villagers believe she was the goddess reborn and as people flocked to see her, news of Lakshmi traveled to one of India's leading orthopedic surgeons.
DR. SHARAN PATIL, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON, SPARSH HOSPITAL: In spite of all the beliefs of the medical man, I certainly thought she needs help.
GUPTA: Dr. Patil traveled to the village to give her, at 2 years old, her first medical exam.
It was jarring, for both. She had a set of arms and legs, and another full set from a mirror image twin that never fully developed. The Dr. Patil also found an infective sore on what looks like her backside but is actually the twin's neck and worried infection could kill her.
Dr. Patil convinced her parents to bring her to Sparsh Hospital in Bangalore for tests.
DR. PATIL: There we go.
GUPTA: He soon realized transforming an eight-limbed goddess into a little girl presented surgical challenges he'd never seen. She had a heart, liver and lungs.
PATIL: The kidneys, one is located here. Other functioning kidney is located here.
GUPTA: The twins were also fused at the spine.
PATIL: So this is the distance we have to bridge.
GUPTA: Take a look at this remarkable image here. You are looking at the spine and one, two, three, four separate limbs here. This is the pelvis area, the area of so much concern.
So with the world watching and so many unknowns, we asked the Dr. Patil was it worth the risk?
PATIL: We had a very strong feeling that we could go through this procedure. GUPTA: An agonizing moment as Lakshmi goes into surgery; her parents sacrificing their goddess for an operation that may or may not save her.
A team of 30 doctors worked on Lakshmi. They had gone over every millimeter of her body for a month. At 16 hours' end, a critical milestone. After 27 hours, it's over. And Lakshmi, with two arms and two legs, has lived.
PATIL: The hero in this whole story is Lakshmi.
GUPTA: Now Lakshmi attends a special school for disabled children in Rajasthan. The goddess, now a schoolgirl, on a scooter. Surgeons still need to work on her spinal cord and clubbed feet so she may one day walk normally. But all of her body systems are functions. She even has ovaries and a uterus and may one day have her own goddess.
Dr. Sunjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: A remarkable story.
Up next, wine country torched. The latest on the fight to control California's wildfires when "360" continues.
KAYE: Hi there Anderson, let's start out in northern California wine country, cooler weather there. Helping crews get to handle on hundreds of wildfires, this one in Napa County covered more than six square miles. It's now about 40 percent contained.
The price of oil rising again, markets apparently responding to Saudi Arabia's decision to pump more oil, but not enough to meet rising demand. The light sweet crude settled today at $136.74 a barrel in New York, stocks were mixed.
Actor and comedian George Carlin being remembered tonight; he died of heart failure over the weekend at a hospital on Santa Monica, California. He was 71. Just recently, when he found out he would be receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this fall, he said, "Thank you, Mr. Twain, have your people call my people."
And now watch this, a mob of surfers attacking a paparazzi who has been taking pictures of Matthew McConaughey while the actor was out on the waves. The photographer says they tossed his camera in the water. Local detectives are investigating.
COOPER: Hasn't Matthew McConaughey like made an entire career of appearing shirtless on beaches?
KAYE: Yes, he has. He does it well.
COOPER: I guess now -- I guess he no longer wants to be seen shirtless on beaches. So anyway, all right. Now it's just up to Mario Lopez.
That does it for this edition of "360."
Thanks for watching. Larry King starts right now.
See you tomorrow night.