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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Al Qaeda's Message to Barack Obama; Automotive Bailout Stalled; Interview With San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
Aired November 19, 2008 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news: more Obama Cabinet picks emerging, and late word that a deal to bail out Detroit is dying fast, for lack of votes, this on a devastating day, the Federal Reserve warning the recession is going to be deeper and longer than we thought, and stocks hit a more-than-five-year low today, the Dow industrials dropping 427 points, closing below 8000 for the first time since 2003.
Asian markets, open right now, plunging sharply as we speak.
On the auto bailout, tonight, we learned that Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid is putting off a test vote tomorrow on a $25 billion loan package, one of the big why, the CEOs of Ford, GM and Chrysler flying in by company jet, and not winning a lot of friends today, their second day in Washington pleading their case.
It is your money. It's your future at stake.
Ali Velshi has the breaking news.
So, what you make, Ali, of this breaking new that -- that a deal to bail out the Big Three automakers is not looking likely right now?
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
And that is probably what helped the Dow plunge below 8000 for the first time since March of 2008, the idea that, if there were a failure, that would put a lot more people out of work. A lot more people out of work means that we don't see that recovery out of this recession very soon.
Anderson, you and I have been talking about that ban that I have been talking about between 8500 and 9000 on the Dow, where the Dow has spent most of the last month-and-a-half. Well, look at what happened today. We started pretty much below that, barely touched it between 10:00 and 11:00, and then further down, all the way down to below 8000.
That is psychologically and technically an important matter. If this thing starts to come back up tomorrow, we might have hope that that 8500 to 9000 ban is actually holding. But, right now, it looks like this -- investors are thinking this is more serious than it actually was.
This is mainly about the fact that this -- this automobile deal may not be going through, Anderson. COOPER: So, all the Big Three CEOs said that, look, this is not just about Detroit. It's about -- and I quote -- "saving the U.S. economy from a catastrophic collapse."
So, is that true?
VELSHI: Yes, General Motors' CEO, Rick Wagoner, was saying that.
Look, that is the point that they have been making. If there isn't a bailout, one of the Big Three -- and it's most likely General Motors -- could go into bankruptcy. If the bankruptcy doesn't result in restructuring, it actually results in the liquidation of General Motors, those workers are laid off. Suppliers -- they share suppliers between Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.
If a supplier goes bankrupt, that means Ford and General Motors can't get parts from them, and that could cause them to get into further serious problems. We could be talking about more a million jobs laid off.
What They didn't do, Anderson, is give a picture of what would happen if the bailout went through, whether we would have a competitive U.S. automobile industry, or U.S.-based automobile industry. But they did tell us it would be pretty bad if they didn't get their bailout.
COOPER: So, I mean, how far can this go? I mean, where do you draw the line? It is not just the auto industry that is in dire straits. A lot of American manufactures, they can't all be bailed out.
VELSHI: That's the thing to look at.
Let's look over the last -- the last 10 years. We have seen 26 months, by the way, straight of manufacturing job losses in the United States, not just the auto industry. But, look, we have taken this all the way back to 1998. Look at the drop -- the drop in 2001, in the -- in the recession, 1.5 million jobs. There were three million jobs lost in that recession. One-and-a-half million of them were just from manufacturing -- 800,000 jobs in 2002.
Over the last 10 years, we have lost more than four million manufacturing jobs in the United States. So, we have been in a long- term decline. There is no one who thinks these jobs are actually coming back in the United States.
So, maybe what we need to do is, this new government, this new administration and a new Congress, needs to think about what we do to actually retrain all of these skilled workers that have been put out of work, because we have jobs that maybe they can do in the United States.
But, fundamentally, when people in manufacturing industries are put out of work, Anderson, they tend to be out of work, because there's no other jobs for them to go to. That is probably a bigger problem than whether or not we want to save the auto industry -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right.
Devastating day today.
As Ali mentioned, Big Three -- Big Three big shots not exactly winning friends in Congress.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO (D), MASSACHUSETTS: My fear is that you're going to take this money and continue the same stupid decisions you have made for 25 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: One Massachusetts congressman venting today. A lot of his fellow Democrats actually support the Big Three bailout. It hasn't been easy, lawmakers pointing to lousy products, vague promises, lavish pay, and outrageous perks.
360's Joe Johns is "Keeping Them Honest."
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No matter what you think about bailing out the Big Three automakers, and no matter what you think about their CEOs, this just doesn't look good. In fact, flying to Washington in corporate jets to ask for a $25 billion bailout from the taxpayers is a public-relations car wreck.
REP. PETER ROSKAM (R), ILLINOIS: You're talking to people that are schlepping back and forth, going through all the drama in the airports every day, along with the American public. My suggestion is that those types of symbolic things, they really matter.
REP. GARY ACKERMAN (D), NEW YORK: A delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying in to Washington, D.C. and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hands.
JOHNS: In the first place, corporate jets are infamous gas- guzzlers. Flying in one round-trip from Washington to Detroit could cost as much as $20,000, as opposed to the more economic and efficient commercial flight, which could cost a single passenger about $600 both ways.
In the second place, the more obvious question to some is whether a company on the verge of bankruptcy ought to ditch the jet as part of its cost-cutting measures.
REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: I'm going ask you to raise your hand if you're planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show no hands went up.
JOHNS: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors later issued statements, essentially saying that the top executives are required to use the company plane for security reasons. GM went further, saying that "making a big to-do about this, when issues vital to the jobs of millions of Americans are being discussed in Washington, is diverting attention away from a critical debate."
(on camera): Obviously, it is not illegal. It is not even unethical. This was company business for the CEOs. Even so, at some point, it is all about how things look.
(voice-over): And, to some on the Hill, at best, this corporate jet thing flies in the face of -- well, common sense.
STEVE ELLIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: I mean, when you are talking about how you are about to go bankrupt and that you're -- you are hemorrhaging cash, to then fly here in your Learjet is really pretty insulting to the taxpayers.
JOHNS: But, still, one of the perks of being a Big Three CEO.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: I love that: They have to fly on those jets for security reasons.
Let us know what you think about private jets, American cars and CEOs. Join the live chat at AC360.com. I will be checking in without the hour. Also, be sure to catch Erica Hill's live Webcast during the break.
Up next, two new Obama Cabinet choices, we have got the breaking story on that, and the latest on Hillary Clinton -- new information on what Bill Clinton is willing to reveal to help her get the job as secretary of state. But now it is not even clear she wants that.
Plus, a chilling and racially charged message from al Qaeda to Barack Obama. Peter Bergen joins us for the latest on the terror threat.
And a big development tonight in the battle over same-sex marriage -- California's Supreme Court weighs in. We talk about what it means with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom tonight -- ahead.
COOPER: More breaking news tonight: the Obama Cabinet filling up. We have just gotten word of two more major picks, a third likely appointment, and the ongoing drama of a fourth, Hillary Clinton at the State Department.
Handling it all of us in Chicago, a very busy night, Jessica Yellin -- Jessica. JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
That's right. It looks like two new female faces could be added to Barack Obama's Cabinet, if he gets his way, leading candidates for two new jobs. Janet Napolitano, the current governor of Arizona, a former federal prosecutor and attorney general there, we're told, is Obama's leading candidate to run the Department of Homeland Security.
And Penny Pritzker, a Chicago billionaire businesswoman, also the head of Obama's finance effort during the campaign, rose -- raised record-breaking amounts of money for him, being considered for commerce secretary. Both women, we're told, would accept the formal offer of those jobs if they pass the vet. Those vets, we're told, are under way by the Obama campaign.
Also, today, CNN's Ed Henry broke the news that Tom Daschle is being considered the leading choice to be to running -- to run Health and Human Services, and take charge of the health care reform program for Barack Obama, an important initiative.
But all of this takes second billing to the big question right now here in Chicago: Will Senator Hillary Clinton become Barack Obama's secretary of state?
As you know, one of the big dramas surrounding the Clinton choice is whether her husband, Bill Clinton, and his business contacts would preclude her from passing any kind of a vet. And we understand that Bill Clinton has agreed to -- to work with the Obama campaign on a number of issues.
He has said publicly he will do whatever he wants. And I have been told by a -- a top source who is aware of his offerings that he has agreed to release the names of several of his major donors to his charitable foundation, that he will submit future foundation activities and speeches to an ethics review, the Clinton says he will step away from his day-to-day responsibility at his foundation, and he would let the State Department know of any upcoming speeches or business agreements he would reach, all of these major concessions to pave the way and allow his wife to become secretary of state, if she chooses to do so -- Anderson.
COOPER: And that is the big question, if she is choosing to. I mean, we are hearing now that the Democratic leadership kind of may have a new role for Senator Clinton. What is that -- what is the new role, and what does that actually mean, that this thing is being floated now?
YELLIN: Well, multiple who are sources close to Senator Clinton say she is immensely flattered, considering this seriously, but has not yet decided whether she would accept a secretary of state job, were it to be formally offered.
And the Democratic leadership in the Senate has made it clear that, if she chooses to stay in the Senate, there will be a special role for her. So, I have talked to multiple people in Congress or Democrats associated with this process who tell me Harry Reid, the leader of the Senate Democrats, is willing to create some kind of new leadership position that doesn't currently exist, but something that would be special for Senator Clinton, so that, if she chooses to stay, she would have an important place in the Senate.
YELLIN: Her mind is not made up, we are told.
COOPER: All right, Jessica Yellin, thanks so much.
Whatever Hillary Clinton's next step turns out to be, one thing is certain. Even though she lost her presidential bid, her political capital only seems to have increased. We're going to talk about that with our panel in a moment.
Also, the drama over Bill Clinton is really just the latest chapter in the fascinating history of this power couple.
Up close, here is Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Bill Clinton was running for his first term and under attack over his personal life, Hillary Clinton famously declared she was not just standing by her man.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FOREMAN: But the Clintons have stood by each other, through good times and bad, ever since -- his agreement to open up some of his foundation's donor records the latest evidence.
HILARY ROSEN, EDITOR AT LARGE, THEHUFFINGTONPOST.COM: I think that Bill Clinton would do anything that Hillary Clinton asked. You know, this is really a partnership.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you think of Hillary, think of our real slogan: Buy one, get one free.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FOREMAN: The Clintons have been married for 33 years. Through a governorship, a presidency, eight years in the Senate, their dynamic duo approach has made them one of Washington's all-time premier political couples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM REHNQUIST, U.S. SUPREME COURT: The question is on the first article of impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: When he struggled in his presidency, her support never wavered. When her campaign was staggering...
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I just don't want to see us fall backwards.
FOREMAN: ... he pushed on to the bitter end.
B. CLINTON: My family's not big on quitting. You have probably noticed that.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FOREMAN: All of it built both their reputations among friends and foes.
ROSEN: Hillary Clinton got 18 million votes in the primary. They are both still young. This couple is going to be around in the American political life for a long time.
FOREMAN: They have certainly become twin powers in politics.
(on camera): In this most recent campaign, a late summer poll that, while Bill Clinton remains wildly popular with voters, they now like Hillary Clinton even more. You could call it one more win in the wake of their toughest loss.
(voice-over): No wonder one political opponent suggested, if politics were a sport, our top team might be the Clintons.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: We will have more on the Clinton factor, the concessions, the leaks, and the drama, coming up. We will talk about that with David Gergen, Paul Begala, and Jamal Simmons next.
And, later, the fight against California's same-sex marriage ban getting a boost from the state's Supreme Court, but should a court be able to overturn the will of California voters? We will ask San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Also, the law was supposed to let parents leave unwanted babies at local emergency rooms. So, how did parents end up ditching unwanted teenagers there, legally?
A mind-boggling installment of lawmakers do the darndest things -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: Updating our breaking news, President-elect Obama's dream Cabinet is slowly coming into shape, three new names mentioned today, the possibilities, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary, Tom Daschle for Health and Human Services. There's also, of course, Eric Holder for attorney general, and possibly Hillary Clinton for secretary of state.
But the Clinton factor is dominating the headlines. Will she take the job? How much will Bill Clinton reveal? And are there too many Clintonites already in the new administration?
Let's talk strategy with CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen, CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and Democratic National Committee adviser Jamal Simmons.
So, David, former President Clinton is offering some pretty big concessions, it seems, in order to pave the way for Senator Clinton to become secretary of state. Do you think she really wants it?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I don't think he would make these concessions unless he thought that she might really want it, and he wanted to clear the way to make sure, if that is what she wanted, the's what -- that is what they would do.
I -- I think, in effect, Anderson, that they have -- they have an understanding. It was his -- it was his turn first, and now it is her turn. And he wants to be just as supportive of -- of her as she was of him. Whatever else you may say about this relationship, I think they have both been deeply loyal to each other, in that sense.
COOPER: But, now, Paul, others on Capitol Hill are floating this idea of -- of -- of her staying in the Senate and having a -- a more pronounced role there. Why would they be floating that idea if Hillary Clinton was really behind the idea of the secretary of state?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think she is authentically torn.
And I -- I suspect her colleagues know that. And I think they probably could use her leadership on issues like health care. Look, no one in America knows more about health care than Teddy Kennedy. He is the chairman of the Health Committee in -- in the Senate. He has been a hero and champion of that cause for decades.
And I think it was today -- it might have been yesterday -- he announced that he is going to create three task forces to help him with this, and ask Hillary to chair one of those task forces. That is an extraordinary generous gesture from a very senior senator to a rather junior senator.
Now there is talk that perhaps the Senate Democratic leadership is looking for some sort of a new role for Hillary as well.
I think it's because they like her. And I think they would like her to stay there. And I think she's really torn, because she loves the Senate.
BEGALA: But, you know, secretary of state is a big -- it's a good gig. COOPER: Jamal Simmons, Barack Obama has talked about change. Is having Hillary Clinton on a task force about health care change? I mean, don't -- haven't we been through this?
JAMAL SIMMONS, ADVISER, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, you know, Senator Clinton really reestablished herself as a national political force during the campaign.
And, then, if you look at her role in the Senate, I think she will -- she will do fine. If she wants to be secretary of state, she also brings the international heft, the strength, the toughness to do that job as an international figure, so she can do that job also very well.
You know, I was in Orlando with Bill Clinton and -- and Barack Obama, when they spoke down there at -- right before the end of the campaign. And I saw them backstage. I saw the way they interacted with each other. And it was very interesting to see Bill Clinton behave sort of deferentially toward Barack Obama. He arrived first. He greeted him.
And I think that's the kind of thing he is -- he is willing to do whatever it takes to make this work. And I believe that, based upon what I have seen with the two of them together.
COOPER: But -- but, David, how much do we really know, though, about the finances of Clinton's library and all these business dealings that -- that he has been engaged in?
I mean, obviously, he has done a tremendous amount of work with his Global Initiative, a lot of amazing work around the world on HIV and other issues, and poverty. But there's still a lot of questions. And it doesn't seem like the concessions that he is making, it is all very forward concessions about, you know, he will name some major donors. He will -- he will -- he will do future speeches. He will -- he will clear them in advance. And he will, you know, go away from the day-to-day operations.
It doesn't seem to be much looking back. Does that matter?
GERGEN: Well, I think, Anderson, that it is a two-part process. One is the past. And, for that, they're -- they seem to be trying to arrive at an arrangement where all major donors to his foundation, in effect, his library and the Clinton Global Initiative, would be disclosed.
We already know there are a lot of Arab powers in that, Arab governments, other Arab investors. And I think that has been a -- that has been a concern here in the last few years -- few years, given all the -- 9/11 and everything else that has happened in the -- in the Arab world.
But, beyond that, I think the -- they are putting -- obviously putting the emphasis on the future and to make sure that there are no conflicts of interests in the future. They think they can live with whatever the embarrassments, if there are any embarrassments -- and we don't know that -- of the past, as long as they protect the future.
But let me just say one other thing about her Senate role. The naming of Tom Daschle today was really important, because it not only puts a top-flight former majority leader in that chair, but CNN reported he will be the health czar. And that is, he will have, in effect -- not like former previous secretaries, who had to sit there and watch the White House, you know, develop the health care policy, as it did in the Clinton administration, but, actually, he would be the prime architect.
He is going to be the lead player on this. Teddy Kennedy is going to play a major role. Whatever they offered Hillary Clinton on health care will be very much as a team player, not as a prime architect.
So, I would -- that -- for that reason -- I think these are nice, what they are doing, but it seems to me it is more likely she will go to the State Department. I will not be surprised if she doesn't, but I think it is more likely she will do that.
SIMMONS: Anderson, Anderson, let's not forget that Barack Obama really owes his presidential run, in many ways, to Tom Daschle, who brought a lot of that team together, from Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director, to Steve Hildebrand, and Paul Tewes, all those guys who were Daschle guys who came over to that campaign, and really helped him get him over the finish line.
COOPER: You know, Paul, for all the talk, though, that we have heard about Doris Kearns Goodwin's book and the team of rivals and stuff, I don't see many Republicans up to this point. And it is a lot of people with ties to the Clintons.
And, I mean, of course, who would want to have people who actually know something about peace and prosperity?
COOPER: I knew you were going to say that.
COOPER: But for those people who say, you know, Barack Obama...
COOPER: ... all about change, they are some who are saying, look, is this really change?
BEGALA: Like, asking me if there are too many Clintons would be like if I asked you, do we have enough of the best political team on A.C. 360?
BEGALA: I mean, the more the merrier, 40, 50 of them.
BEGALA: No, look, they did a pretty good job, you have got to say.
BEGALA: And I do believe that that change message was first about changing the policies of George W. Bush. It was Bush who was the foil on that.
But, also, cleaning up the corruption in Washington, there is a long way to go on that, but I think he has made great strides in that, the way he conducted his -- his own campaign. But I think you make a good point about partisan diversity.
I do -- and I'm a professional partisan, as you know -- I do want to see Republicans taking on important jobs in this government. It's important. But let's give the president-elect some time.
I -- David has a longer memory than I do, but I can't recall a president-elect naming any major Cabinet offices before December 1. And this president-elect seems so far down the road on so many. And we have talked about it, an attorney general, a health and human services, homeland security.
I think he is really actually moving at quite a rapid pace.
COOPER: David, I want you to have the final point. Did you want to weigh in on this?
GERGEN: He has -- he is moving very rapidly.
And, yes, what -- today, Anderson, it was interesting that they leaked Janet Napolitano and Penny Pritzker, two -- as well as Tom Daschle -- all three not from the Clinton tradition...
COOPER: That's right, yes.
GERGEN: ... not from the Clinton administration.
COOPER: Not a coincidence, perhaps, there.
David Gergen, Paul Begala...
GERGEN: Not a coincidence.
COOPER: ... Jamal Simmons, thanks very much, guys.
GERGEN: Still ahead: Think Washington has changed? We have been talking about change there. You have got to see this next story: lobbyists already paying to schmooze with and no doubt try to influence newly elected Democratic congressmen. Drew Griffin is "Keeping Them Honest."
Also ahead, a big court weighs in on California's same-sex marriage ban. Could it mean the end of Prop 8? San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom joins us -- coming up.
COOPER: A convicted felon, now a future former senator, Alaska's Ted Stevens made it official today, conceding defeat today in the race against Democrat Mark Begich.
Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, was found guilty last month of lying about thousands of dollars in gifts and money on federal disclosure forms. But he's going to leave with a yearly pension of $122,000 a year.
It is a lot of money, but there is more than enough cash, apparently, going around in Washington these days. Case in point, some Democratic leaders, they are making sure the new freshman class arrives at the Capitol with plenty of change in their pockets. Call it pay-to-play politics.
Special Investigations Unit correspondent Drew Griffin is "Keeping Them Honest."
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You may not know Ric Fenton, but you can bet the freshman Democrats in Congress who turned out at Democratic Party headquarters might not forget him. Fenton is a lobbyist who unabashedly showed up at a fund- raiser this morning, introducing the newest Democratic members of Congress to how the old boys do business.
(on camera): Is this, cynically, buying access?
RIC FENTON, LOBBYIST: No, absolutely not. We're just educators. We provide an important function, as an education function.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Fenton is a lobbyist who educates members of Congress on mining interests. He was one of a string of lobbyists and political action committee contributors who responded to this invitation to a new member debt retirement reception. There was even a suggested contribution amount, from $2,500 to $20,000, and a dance card, so you, the contributor, can make sure you don't miss anyone.
(on camera): How much money are you giving today?
FENTON: I think we're giving $5,000.
GRIFFIN: To one or a bunch?
FENTON: No, to several. We go through that fairly thoroughly.
GRIFFIN: Oh, is that right?
(voice-over): "Keeping Them Honest," we watched who went to the early-morning breakfast, which was sponsored by Congressman John Dingell, who didn't talk to us, and Congressman Nick Rahall, who did.
(on camera): It seems like same old business as usual, retire the debt, and introduce the new members to the old PAC money.
REP. NICK RAHALL (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Well, do you have an alternative?
GRIFFIN (voice-over): If this looks, sounds, and seems like old- fashioned pay-to-play politics, that's because Joan Claybrook of the watchdog group Public Citizen says, well, it is.
(on camera): This is change?
JOAN CLAYBROOK, PRESIDENT, PUBLIC CITIZEN: Yeah, right. This is the old-boy network at work. This is all strings attached. They know who gave the money. And when the key issues come up, key bills, key amendments, these members are going to be approached by these special interests and asked to vote with them, because they gave them money.
GRIFFIN: Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, with his arm around the newest member of Congress from Michigan, told us it's way overplayed. Members of Congress vote in their donors' interest.
(on camera) So what do these people who come in with the $5,000 and $10,000 checks, what are they getting if they're not getting access in votes?
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, of course, they're getting access, just as a citizen gets access when they go to a town meeting and spend some time there or when they volunteer in a campaign. They have an ear that they can talk to. That's true.
But the fact is, you'd be surprised at how many people in this room are Democrats fist and interest representatives second.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): No one is saying just how much money was raised.
(on camera) Did you get a lot of money?
(voice-over) But those new Democrats who may have come to Washington with change on their minds, at least left the DNC with some change in their pockets, too.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: I'm going to remember that. A lobbyist is an educator. Remember that, folks.
Let's check some of the other stories we're following tonight. Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: It's been noted, Anderson.
India's navy says one of its warships, the bigger of the two ships which we're about to show you, exchanged fire with a pirate vessel off the Horn of Africa and badly damaged it. Merchant vessels like this one use the waters as a superhighway, as do many supertankers carrying oil to the U.S. Piracy there is surging. And it really is not a joke. Eight ships have been hijacked just this week alone.
The father of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver has been hospitalized in Houston following an alleged beating by police. Relatives of Marvin Driver Jr. say he was beaten sometime after his arrest for outstanding traffic warrants early Monday morning. The two officers involved remain on duty pending further investigation.
A Texas judge says he'll allow Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to waive their arraignment on Friday on charges of prisoner abuse. The alleged abuse happened at a federal detention center in South Texas. The judge also said he would not issue warrants, allowing both men to avoid arrest.
A bit of a consolation prize for John McCain. Today he was declared the unofficial winner in Missouri, bringing the final electoral official count to 365 for Obama, 173 for McCain.
And at the Obama transition headquarters in Chicago, Senator Joe Biden getting a little early birthday celebration today. The next vice president turns 66 tomorrow. Starting off with some cupcakes there from Barack Obama.
COOPER: How about that? And it was Larry King's birthday today.
HILL: Happy belated birthday, Larry King. Well, still his birthday, I guess. Not belated yet.
COOPER: He's still got a few more hours on this birthday.
Still ahead, it sure was not -- wasn't to wish him a happy birthday. Al Qaeda's racist message for President-elect Obama. Did you hear this thing? We'll play some of it for you.
Plus, the fight over California's same-sex marriage ban reaches the state Supreme Court. Will Prop 8 be overturned? The mayor of San Francisco weighs in.
Also, parents abandoning their teenagers, and it's perfectly legal. Where this is happening and why, ahead on 360.
COOPER: Protesters this past weekend against California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. There was a major new development today. The state's highest court said the initiative can be enforced. They're not going to try to delay it. But at the same time, the court agreed in March to hear arguments on its validity.
And they're going to focus on three questions: does Prop 8 revise the state's constitution instead of amending it? Does it also violate the state's constitution separation of powers doctrine, violating judges' ability to guarantee equal rights? And the court is going to try to decide what happens to the thousands of gay marriages that have already taken place.
Mayor Newsom joins us now.
Mayor Newsom, you said you were optimistic today that the court is, in fact, going to side with those who oppose Proposition 8. What gives you hope?
MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO: Well, I mean, the question in front of the court now and the question that they're willing to adjudicate is the validity of Proposition 8. And the question really is this, Anderson: whether or not it's an amendment to the constitution in the state of California or it's a revision.
The court has, in nine previous occasions over the last 100 years, made a determination in three of those instances that amendments were, in fact, not amendments but actual revisions. We believe there is some continuity to those decisions, and that gives us confidence in the context of this one.
COOPER: But for something to be ruled a revision it has to be decided as a fundamental change in government structure. How is gay marriage, or overturning gay marriage, changing state government structure?
NEWSOM: Well, remember, something was legal in the state of California, as legal as my ability to get married to my wife. And that was simply stripped away and taken away by a simple majority vote. Leaving the courts with what?
If you change the law that's one thing. The courts adjudicate the constitutionality of that law. But if you change the constitution, what role does the court have now in terms adjudicating whether or not that's constitutional?
COOPER: There's also the issue of whether or not -- basically, it boils down to who should be able to determine what is right for a group of people. The people or a judge.
NEWSOM: Yes. I mean, this is an interesting point. Look, if we were having this conversation in 1967, we would have had a U.S. Supreme Court, the loving court, that unanimously decided to get rid of all of those laws in the remaining 16 states that denied interracial marriage.
If we had gone to the voters, almost every public opinion poll showed that the overwhelming majority of voters would have overturned that court decision. The question is, is that appropriate? Should we go in front of the voters every time there is an adjudication in the courts that we don't like and submit the rights of minorities to the whims of the majority, based upon the morality of the day? That's what's happened here in California.
COOPER: The supporters of Prop 8, though, say look, the will of the people have spoken. This thing has been voted on twice now in California.
COOPER: And this is the result and folks should live with it.
NEWSOM: Well, what's next? I mean, now, if this is the basis of principle, what other rights should we take away? And is the court powerless in each and every case when the voters by a majority decide to change the constitution, again based upon the issue of the day?
COOPER: A political question for you. As a Democrat, how disappointed are you that President-elect Barack Obama and then- candidate Obama did not really speak out forcefully on this issue at all?
NEWSOM: I'm a pragmatist. I'm a pragmatist. I'll leave it at that. You can read between the lines. I'm getting used to it.
Look, I understand it's a tough issue. I have very strong convictions about this. They're not shared by the majority of the elected officials in Washington, D.C. I'm hardly their favored nation status with some of these elected officials, because the issue is a tough one. Good people can disagree, and I respect that. But if they don't disagree, and they're doing it for political expediency, that's something I have a difficult time with.
I don't know Barack Obama's position on this except what he's stated. He disagrees in fundamental equality in the context of equal protection on the issue of marriage versus civil unions. Good people, again, can disagree. I'm just proud that he's our president and hopefully one day, he'll come around to our point of view.
COOPER: All right. There's going to be a hearing in March. Probably a ruling, maybe three months after that. We'll be watching.
Mayor Newsom, thank you.
NEWSOM: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Still ahead on the program tonight, just 15 days after becoming president-elect, Obama gets a message from al Qaeda, the language offensive, the tone taunting. How significant is it, and how is the battle against al Qaeda going? CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen joins me live.
Also ahead, why the Arizona 8-year-old charged with murdering his father and another man -- we told you about him last night -- he's going to get out of jail soon. We'll tell you why and for how long when 360 continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: A new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the message President-elect Obama sent to al Qaeda and others on election night. And today he got a response. Osama bin Laden's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri released an audio message today in Arabic with subtitles in English. Zawahiri taunts the president-elect and uses racial insults.
The authenticity of the tape, we should point out, is still being confirmed.
Joining me now, national security analyst Peter Bergen.
Peter, I just want to play for our viewers one or two of these sound bites. Let's listen to one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, SECOND IN COMMAND, AL QAEDA: (speaking in Arabic)
GRAPHIC: And in you and in Colin Powel, Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X (may Allah have mercy on him) concerning "House Negroes" are confirmed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sorry. I thought we had an English translation of that. That would probably have made it easier for our viewers to actually listen to what was being said.
He also says that Obama represents the direct opposite of honorable black Americans. Why all these Malcolm X references? What's he trying to accomplish here?
PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, of late, Anderson, both Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, obviously, they've got a lot of time on their hands, sitting around, trying to avoid being killed by a Hellfire missile strike. But in between those, they're doing a lot of reading.
And they're reading Noam Chomski, and they're reading Malcolm X, because in recent statements from both of al Qaeda's leaders, they've mentioned these books. Probably because of the influence of an American member of al Qaeda, a guy called Adam Gadahn, somebody from California, a Jewish family converted to Islam, is now with al Qaeda. And I think he's introducing al Qaeda's leaders to these texts. COOPER: I wanted to -- I'm not going to play that other bite, because it's again -- it's in Arabic. I'm going to read it. He goes on to say, "You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be Christian in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America."
I mean, why bring up his father?
BERGEN: Well, Anderson, I think it's quite an important point for Zawahiri, basically because President-elect Obama had a Muslim father but is, in fact, not a Muslim. In Zawahiri's world view, he's actually an apostate, which is the worst thing you can be, which is somebody who's actually rejected Islam. And therefore, that allows you, actually, to be killed in Zawahiri's view. So he's leveling a quite serious charge in -- in his own world view.
COOPER: There has been an uptick, uptick in drone attacks against al Qaeda targets in Pakistan. And cyber attacks by the U.S. against al Qaeda Web sites. How is the fight going?
BERGEN: Well, I think that these attacks seem to be somewhat effective. I mean, we haven't heard from Osama bin Laden. Widely expected to come out with a videotape or audio tape before the presidential election, as he did four years ago. That tape may be still in the pipeline, but it may also be possible but the missile strikes you referenced, of which there have been nine just this last month, according to a count by Pakistan's -- by CNN's Pakistan bureau, that these strikes have, A, taken out members of al Qaeda and, B, disrupted operations quite -- quite significantly.
COOPER: Do we know to what extent they are still capable of -- how much of this is still kind of centrally organized out of, you know, northern Waziristan, the border regions of Pakistan and how much of it is now sort of a multi-headed hydra around the world?
BERGEN: Well, I think if there is a major terrorist attack in Britain or somewhere against American targets outside of the United States. Almost all have been organized from that area. But clearly, these missile strikes are having, I think, some effect. And -- but their ability -- Al Qaeda's ability to attack the United States right now is pretty much close to zero.
COOPER: All right. Peter Bergen, we'll end on that note. Thanks, Peter.
Up next on 360, teenagers being discarded by their parents at hospitals. Teenagers. It's happening in one state and for now perfectly legal.
And later, on a much lighter note, "The Daily Show's" take on John King and the magic wall. Did you see this? It's our "Shot of the Day." Coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I shot my dad because he was suffering, I think. I think I shot him because he was suffering so I might have shot him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: An interrogation of an 8-year-old boy questioned by two female police officers about the killings of his father and another man. We told you about this last night. Authorities said the child confessed to shooting both the men with a rifle. But the interview was conducted without a defense attorney or any family member present, and the boy was not read his rights.
His lawyer calls it improper. The child is being charged as a juvenile. Just a little 360 follow-up. Today he was in court where a judge said he could be released from custody for 48 hours so he could be with his mother for Thanksgiving.
In Nebraska, the legislature will vote on Friday to amend a controversial safe haven law. You may have heard about it already. As the law stands tonight, parents of unwanted kids can drop them off at hospitals. But it's not just for newborns or infants. See, there's no age limit involved.
And the result, boys and girls and even teenagers as old as 17 are being abandoned by their moms and dads. The question is how did this happen and why?
In tonight's "Uncovering America" report, here's Sean Callebs.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A short trip through the doors of the Emanuel Medical Center ER in late September, and Lavennia Coover surrendered custody of her 11-year-old son Skyler (ph), protected by Nebraska's safe haven law.
LAVENNIA COOVER, DUMPED CHILD AT HOSPITAL: That night, I gave Skyler (ph) a kiss and a hug, and I told him that I loved him, and I went home.
CALLEBS: She went home alone. Coover said she didn't want to leave Skyler (ph) in the hands of the state but testified before Nebraska lawmakers that her son was violent, bipolar and she couldn't control him.
COOVER: He would kick at my face when I tried to wake him up. He would hit at me, cuss at me and throw things at me.
CALLEBS: Social worker Courtney Anderson, who's handled many safe haven kids, says think about the child.
COURTNEY ANDERSON, SOCIAL WORKER: Some children have been begging their parents or guardians not to leave. They might not really understand why they're being left at the hospital, but they know that they are being left and the parent or guardian might be fleeing.
CALLEBS (on camera): The safe haven law is designed to protect infants when stressed parents feel they just can't take care of them, allowing children to be dropped off safely at hospitals.
Unlike other states, Nebraska's safe haven law did not include an age limit. Well, no one here thought so many children would be dropped off so quickly. Nearly three dozen in just a few months and not one of them an infant.
BRAD ASHFORD, NEBRASKA STATE SENATE: We didn't think that it would be used to the extent it was. We didn't anticipate children coming from -- from other states.
CALLEBS (voice-over): Social workers say many kids dropped off had serious mental health issues. A lot end up in Nebraska's Boys Town, the state home for boys started by Father Flanagan nearly a century ago and featured in the famous Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy film.
The executive director of Boys Town today says Nebraska's law has exposed a dirty little secret.
REV. STEVEN BOES, DIRECTOR, BOYS TOWN: I think it shows that what's going on is there are parents who are so desperate to get their kids help that they just don't know what to do.
CALLEBS: Lavennia Coover still doesn't know what to do, saying she has become a target.
COOVER: I have endured judgments and criticisms ranging from "these parents do not want the responsibility anymore" to "how could anyone abandon their child?" to being accused of neglect.
CALLEBS: Despite discovering Nebraska's dirty little secret, state lawmakers say they will change the safe haven law to allow abandoning only infants less than 30 days old, and families like Lavennia Coover and her son Skyler (ph) will have to fend for themselves.
Sean Callebs, CNN, Lincoln, Nebraska.
COOPER: Well, coming up at the top of the hour, economic free fall. The Dow hitting a five-year low as hopes of an auto industry bailout dim.
But first, "The Shot." John King's acting debut, turning in an Oscar-worthy performance during a "Daily Show" sketch about the magic wall. You don't want to miss this. Stay tuned.
COOPER: Time now for our "Beat 360" winners. It's our daily challenge to viewers -- are you cold there? HILL: You 're kidding, right? Do you have a heater over there?
COOPER: I like it frosty. A chance to show our -- you know how it works. All right. Let's show the picture. The picture is of a dog, a little Yorkie, preps for the 26th international dog exhibition in Prague. Any day now.
HILL: There is a dog.
COOPER: There we go. There's the dog.
HILL: You know why?
HILL: Because the machines are cold, and they couldn't get the picture up in time.
COOPER: All right. Our staff winner tonight is Kirk. His caption: "NOW I'm hypo-allergenic."
(SOUND EFFECT: DOGS BARKING)
COOPER: The dogs liked that one. Our viewer winner is Michael from Plymouth Meeting. That's it. That's in Pennsylvania, we believe. His caption: "Wouldn't it be easier to just give me Botox -- bow-tox." Botox. Bow. Bow-wow.
(SOUND EFFECT: LAUGHTER)
COOPER: I messed it up, Michael. I'm sorry. It was funny.
HILL: He should get two T-shirts for that.
COOPER: He should. Your 360 T-shirt is on the way. I think we can only afford one, though.
COOPER: You can check out all the entries we received in our blog. Yours really was the best one. Thank you. AC360.com. Tell you tomorrow there.
Time for "The Shot." Now, if you like John King, and frankly, who doesn't, and you like paranoid techno thrillers, and I know Erica does.
HILL: Love them.
COOPER: We just have the thing. On "The Daily Show," correspondent John Oliver becomes obsessed King and the magic wall. He can't escape the two. But is it in his head or not? Soon, Oliver believes King is part of a military conspiracy involving the magic wall. King tracks him down, popping up in the cookware section of Williams Sonoma. In the end, Oliver and his Bond-like antagonist meet. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
JOHN OLIVER, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": I'm really sorry to have wasted your time.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're not wasting my time.
OLIVER: Thank you.
KING: Thank you, John. Take care.
OLIVER: I knew it. No! No! Damn you, King. No! Don't touch me. No. Don't you make me dance.
KING: Goodbye, John.
It's good to be King.
HILL: Good comedic timing, that John King.
COOPER: That was very, very good. Yes.
Coming up at the top of the hour -- are we out of time already? I guess we are.
HILL: Really? It's a sad day.
COOPER: No more time? All right. No more time.
HILL: OK. Well, goodbye.
COOPER: Coming up at the top of the hour, we'll update you on your breaking news. An auto rescue plan out of gas. And the corporate outrages that helped tank it.
Also, the latest new twist in a possible Hillary Clinton State Department pick and all the Bill Clinton complications. A lot more ahead. Stay tuned.