Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Crackdown on CEO Bonuses; Blagojevich Booted; Ted Haggard on "LARRY KING LIVE"
Aired January 29, 2009 - 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: We're going to have more on Ted Haggard and his family tonight.
But we begin with breaking news that affects us all: Today President Obama blasted Wall Street executives for paying out big bonuses. And now this evening we're learning that the White House plans to crack down on the fat payouts. A new plan is supposed to be unveiled next week.
The president today expressing outrage that banking executives gave themselves nearly $20 billion in bonuses last year at the same time they were asking the government for billions to bail them out. The president's anger triggered by a new report showing Wall Streets bonus pool for 2008 is the sixth biggest on record.
Mr. Obama had one word for that, shameful. Ed Henry is at the White House -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, what's going on here is the president is trying to connect with Americans who are feeling very anxious about the economy obviously. There's no easier way to do that than to rip into some of these Wall Street bosses over these bonuses as you mentioned.
But beyond the talk, CNN has learned that the president is planning to unveil a major financial reform package and that specifically, senior officials say there will be a provision in there cracking down on some of these bonuses moving forward. And the man who's working furiously behind the scenes right now on all of these is Tim Geithner, the president's new Treasury Secretary. He met in the Oval Office today with the president who absolutely teed off on Wall Street executives.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I saw an article today indicating that Wall Street bankers had given themselves $20 billion worth of bonuses. The same amount of bonuses as they gave themselves in 2004 at a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse and they are asking for the taxpayers to help sustain them.
And when taxpayers find themselves in a difficult position that if they don't provide help that the entire system could come down on top of our heads. That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful and part of what we're going to need is for the folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility.
The American people understand that we've got a big hole that we have got to dig ourselves out of. But they don't like the idea that people are digging a bigger hole even as they're being asked to fill it up.
And so we're going to be having conversations as this process moves forward directly with these folks on Wall Street to underscore that they have to start acting in a more responsible fashion if we are to together get this economy rolling again. There will be time for them to make profits and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.
And that's a message that I intend to send directly to them. I expect Secretary Geithner to send to them.
And Secretary Geithner already had to pull back one institution that had gone forward with a multimillion dollar jet plane purchase at the same time as they're receiving TARP money.
We shouldn't have to do that because they should know better. And we will continue to send that message loud and clear.
HENRY: Now, the president right there, referencing the fact that earlier this week his administration pressured Citigroup to not accept delivery on that $50 million corporate jet that caused so much controversy.
Also yesterday the president had some CEOs here, we were told by White House officials that he told them they need to start leading by example. And also the president's personal credibility is on the line here, that's why he's getting involved.
In his inaugural address you will remember he talked about ushering in a new era of responsibility, he obviously realizes that he needs to get involved to try to hold some of these executives accountable and "Keep them Honest" -- Anderson.
COOPER: We play that extended clip, because it's fascinating to watch the president. I think it's very rare to see a president kind of visibly angry or frustrated. I'm not sure exactly how to categorize his emotions there. But it's very revealing to watch.
Do we really know though what he can do about bonuses that are being paid out?
HENRY: Well, that is being worked out right now behind the scenes by the Treasury Secretary. Because obviously it's going to raise even more concerns by critics. On the other side, he'll say look, the government is now getting even more involved. This is even more towards socialism in terms of dictating exactly what executive pay should be. So it's got to be done very carefully.
Another reason why this is being looked at so carefully by the Obama administration, is if you will remember back in September, as a Senator -- then Senator Obama came off of the campaign trail to vote for that big bailout in September. At that time senators from both parties said they voted for it because it had tough provisions that were going to crack down on these kinds of bonuses and executive pay. There have been a lot of loop holes in there and it actually has not cracked down on that executive pay.
So, again, his personal credibility is on the line and that's why they're looking at it very closely to see how they can make it actually work this time so there are no loopholes -- Anderson.
COOPER: Just from a public relations standpoint, these people on Wall Street are completely blind and deaf to what's going on. I mean, they just seem completely, from a public relations standpoint, ignorant of basic, decent facts and things that they should do.
I'm also hearing tonight, Ed I know you are -- that President Obama is closer to choosing a Commerce Secretary and that he may be a Republican. What are you hearing?
HENRY: Some interesting names circulating, my colleague Dana Bash from the Hill, hearing it in fact now on the record, from Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid that the name of Republican Senator Judd Greg of New Hampshire is now floating around as a possibility.
That's intriguing. I want to caution that I've also heard from two Democratic officials that John Thompson, a high-tech executive in California also a candidate for Commerce Secretary, just got off the phone literally two minutes ago with a senior administration official, insisting to me the president has not yet made a decision.
So you can't go with either one of those yet but that there are various candidates.
Here is why Judd Greg is so intriguing, number one a Republican. That would give this president another Republican in his cabinet where he's talking about so much by partisanship. But also more importantly, there's a Democratic Governor in New Hampshire.
If Judd Greg resigns from the Senate, you've got 59 senate Democrats right now. All of a sudden, if that governor appoints another Democrat, you've got the magic number of 60 senate Democrats. Enough to break filibusters, to cut off debate, something Democrats have been desperately trying to do so they can push through more of this president's agenda.
A very fascinating, there could be a lot of pressure from Republicans on Judd Greg not to take a position like that -- like this in the cabinet just to make sure that Democrats don't get 60 votes -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Ed Henry at the White House. Ed thanks. President Obama insisting the $819 billion bailout will create jobs and jump-start the economy. Not one member of the GOP voted for it in the House.
Here's why, they think much of that money is going to be wasted, spent on programs that have more to do with advancing the Democratic agenda than fighting the recession.
We asked Tom Foreman to look at the items that they are opposing -- the ones that Republicans are most concerned about, and he's "Keeping them Honest."
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, for supporters of the stimulus bill, it is a critical step to get money moving again, to spur buying and selling and most of all, jobs for many Americans, but for opponents, it is something else. What they believe this is, is actually a complex plan that will spend a lot of money and not create many jobs.
Provisions include -- look at this -- $335 million for education about sexually transmitted diseases; $420 million to prepare for a possible flu pandemic someday; $100 million to get rid of lead paint on homes in the United States.
In the arts, it's got something there too, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. $650 million more to help in that transition from analog to digital TV that we have been working on for months and months now.
In the sciences, well, there's something there too; $200 million to improve our geological study facilities, including better volcano monitors; $600 million to help improve our climate-watching capability. Important work, but still this is what they're raising question about.
Transportation, $800 million for Amtrak and the government itself -- this is really a whopper here -- almost $8 billion to modernize federal buildings.
Even the critics say many of these are laudable goals they just don't have much to do with stimulating the economy. And they ask how will the Democrats tell all those government agencies that get this money that they can't have it again next year?
Democrats point out that there are direct job creation measures in this bill and they say again, and some economists share this theory, that this is mostly about getting money moving through the economy and that will create jobs too -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Tom thanks.
So do you think the stimulus bill will boost the economy? Let us know join the live chat happening now at AC360.com. And check out Erica Hill's live web cast during the breaks tonight.
Our panel David Gergen, Dana Bash and Roland Martin are standing by to weigh in, in just a moment.
Also tonight, Rod Blagojevich, gets the boot, the Illinois Governor was removed from office late today. He's out of a job but not conceding anything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS: I love the people of Illinois today now more than I ever did before. Thank you. And the fight goes on. Just because I'm not governor anymore, doesn't mean I'm not going to keep fighting for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Citizen Rod Blagojevich.
Also ahead, Ted Haggard is going public with his continuing struggles over his sexual identity. We'll hear from him and his wife and also from a therapist who says Haggard may still not be fully honest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I know that we stay focused as Lily did and keep standing for what's right as Lily did. We will close that pay gap and we will make sure that our daughters have the same rights, the same chances and the same freedoms to pursue their dreams as our sons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President Obama is talking about the woman he is embracing Lily Ledbetter there, he spoke of her plight during the campaign and how the former factory worker made less than her male co- workers.
Today her case became law, the first Bill Mr. Obama signed in Office, called the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, giving employees more time to sue for discrimination.
Our breaking news tonight: Ed Henry, reporting the president planning to somehow crack down on big bonuses in a plan to be unveiled next week.
Let's talk about that in our "Strategy Session." Joining me now: senior political analyst David Gergen; senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash; and political analyst, Roland Martin.
David, it stuns me how tone deaf these CEOs, these companies are on Wall Street. You'd think after the outrage of auto executives flying down in corporate jets that PR people would at least advise some of these CEOs about these bonuses and about these jets. And it's just -- I find it stunning.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Stunning indeed. You know that book, "Why Smart People Do Dumb Things," this could be a whole three or four new chapters that we've seen here in recent weeks. And it's causing and add insult to injury -- there was a poll taken of people in the financial industry; 46 percent said their bonuses last year were not big enough, were not big enough.
So we've got a real disconnect here from reality and it's causing -- it is causing some heartburn in the Obama White House, not only with what he said today.
I talked to folks at the White House today -- their issue is this, Anderson, their central issue.
Remember the TARP money: the $700 billion bailout that has been so controversial? Well, the first $350 billion were spent under the Bush administration plan. And there's been all hell to pay for the way it's been administered.
But the next $350 billion are going to be spent under the Obama administration. And that's why they're scrambling to come up with a plan for next week to completely revise this program, re-brand it and to bring much more accountability and transparency so they don't have to continue dealing with this. Because they may have to come back for more money beyond that next $350 billion for the banks before this is over.
COOPER: Dana what are you hearing about all this on the Hill? I mean, are Wall Street bonuses something that lawmakers, and particularly Republicans want to deal with right now?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I've got to tell you, there's breaking news and that is I have found bipartisanship on an issue and that is the reaction to this particular story, these bonuses for CEOs.
I was just talking to senators they are working late tonight. And here are some words I got," disgusting, outrageous, unconscionable and those are the words I can repeat. And guess what? Those are Republican senators I was talking to.
The outrage is definitely bipartisan. Chris Dodd, the Chairman of the Banking Committee, he told me that he's going to do whatever he can to embarrass them, legally or otherwise.
As David said, the bailout was a huge, huge issue especially for members of Congress who are still hearing from their constituents who are saying, why did we bail out Wall Street? I will tell you though, there were some words of caution I got from some Republican. They want to see how Barack Obama does this because of the concern about the government telling private companies what to do, even though they are using public money.
COOPER: Roland, it is a fine line; it's a difficult thing for the president to do.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I don't think it's a fine line. I think -- look, if you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy judges tell you what you can and cannot go out and spend money on. I think -- and there's some people sitting at home saying, why is this so hard? If you choose to come to the public trough and pick up a check, you must agree to these conditions, you're not going to hand out bonuses.
And so President Obama's response today was the right response. And we need to see this kind of anger, if you will, coming from the White House to tell these guys, hey, you want to get bailed out, agree to these conditions. If you don't want these conditions, fine, don't sign the deal, you're on your own. They should live up to that.
COOPER: David, how is -- you know, this quest for bipartisanship, this quest to change the tone and the rhetoric of Washington, how do you think its going? I mean, no Republican signed on to this. We saw this cocktail party last night that President Obama had, inviting some Republican lawmakers to the White House. What's your take?
GERGEN: Anderson, my sense is that the sense of euphoria that the country had just after the inauguration that a new day has arrived evaporated yesterday with this vote. It's now apparent that this is going to be -- we're back to maybe not politics as usual, but we still got a lot of partisanship in Washington.
To the president's credit, I think he is helping to change the tone some. One major Republican Senator told the White House in the last couple of days, you know, you didn't get the vote this is time, but believe me, down the road, this kind of approach is going to pay off.
What the White House is hoping is that when this goes to the Senate and especially in conference, they can scrub out a lot of this nonsense that Tom Foreman was reporting on a while back. And when he gets back into the House, they actually can get Republican votes on the final passage.
Some Republicans -- one Republican told me that he thought they could get as many as 50 votes in the House on a final passage. We'll have to wait and see. But there is a sense in the White House that this approach is worth doing and it was worth doing and it will have payoffs over time.
MARTIN: Anderson --
COOPER: Go ahead, Roland.
MARTIN: I think we got to understand something. I'm not shocked by what happened yesterday. That was an ideological issue here, and that is Democrats are all about spending, Republicans say, "We want more tax cuts."
Yesterday's vote by the Republicans was about emphasizing what they are going to be saying over and over and over again, getting back to core Republican principles. So it wasn't much of a shock. The difference is that you have a president who's reaching out to the other side making a real effort. COOPER: Yes.
MARTIN: That to me is the difference, we shouldn't be shocked by that people are going to be split on an ideological issue.
COOPER: Dana, if you could just take me behind the scenes on the Hill. You've been there a long time, you've talked to these people over the years, is there a difference in tone I mean, from Republicans and Democrats? Or is this just kind of politic as usual and everyone puts on a good face when they're in front of the cameras?
BASH: Now there is definitely a difference in tone, but as we saw really clearly yesterday, there's a big difference between tone and actually taking a vote that as Roland says, in many cases really is counter to somebody's philosophy.
But I will tell you that in the Senate moving forward, it could be different. And I'm talking to Republican Senators who are more moderate who are saying I want to vote for this. And they are saying that they do have problems with it that Tom Foreman was pointing out.
Olympia Snow, probably one of the most gettable Republican Senators, moderate from Maine, she just told me the question is does this pass the straight face test. Can I vote for a thing with this kind of spending that really doesn't stimulate the economy.
COOPER: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. Good discussion, thank you Roland Martin, Dana Bash, and David Gergen as always thanks.
COOPER: Next, will they go down and out, a governor turned private citizen, disgraced, removed from office today; convicted of abusing his power and still pleading his case tonight. Hear what he said at his first news conference as a private citizen.
And later, candid confessions from shamed preacher: Ted Haggard speaking tonight about his sexuality and his faith and his wife and about why she is standing by him. You'll also hear from a therapist who talks about what he has been going through, what Ted Haggard has been going through and how he has counseled people in similar situations. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAGOJEVICH: So I believe in all the evidence that has been presented to you, in fact I know, there hasn't been a single piece of information that proved any wrongdoing. You haven't proved a crime and you can't because it hasn't happened. You haven't given me a chance to disprove a crime. But so far a crime has not been proven here in this impeachment proceeding.
How can you throw a governor out of Office with insufficient and incomplete evidence?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Rod Blagojevich at his impeachment trial today. Those are some of the last words he spoke as governor of Illinois just hours ago tonight in a unanimous vote, the Illinois Senate booted him from office and also barred him from ever holding public office again.
Just after being ousted, Blagojevich, not known for being camera shy, made his first public remarks as a private citizen. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAGOJEVICH: I'm obviously saddened and disappointed but not at all surprised by what the State Senate did today, it was something that I knew they would do a long time ago and the fight goes on. Just because I'm not governor anymore it doesn't mean I'm not going to keep fighting for you and for the causes that I have fought for my whole life.
And I'll also want to say that I'm going to keep fighting to clear my name. I'm disappointed in the State Senate's actions because they deprived me of an opportunity to bring witnesses and prove my innocence. I wanted to do that sooner rather than later. I guess I'll just have to wait until I have my day in court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, since he was arrested nearly two months ago, Blagojevich has insisted he has done nothing wrong. He skipped the first three days of his impeachment trials as you know. And when he finally showed up today, he didn't even mention the pay to play charges that led to his downfall.
"Raw Politics" does not get much bloodier than this. Senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin joins me now. What do you make of this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think this is really much more a psychological issue for him than a legal issue. He kept talking and talking about how unfair this case was, but as you said, he never addressed the issues, he never actually responded to the charges against him.
His lawyer quit, he was completely on his own. And he had literally no support at all -- 59-0 was the vote in the State Senate.
COOPER: And what happens to him now? I mean, he's a private citizen. He still gets his pension?
TOOBIN: For the time being. Unless he's convicted and I think that's really what happens now. Is that he is --
COOPER: So if he's convicted, his pension's taken away? Because with Congressmen and Senators as we all know, they get it no matter what. TOOBIN: They get it no matter what, but Illinois, being Illinois, there's precedent for governors being indicted, and George Ryan, the predecessor, has lost his pension after he was convicted, but he had to wait for his conviction to happen.
He hasn't been indicted yet, but he certainly will, that is, Blagojevich. And he's going to have to fight for these charges?
COOPER: What's the current timeline before he actually starts to go on trial?
TOOBIN: It looks like the indictment will be sometime before April. Federal cases don't move that quickly, the trial will probably start sometime before the end of the year.
But he's got no one to defend him. He's all by himself now. He doesn't have the infrastructure anymore.
COOPER: He can't have that much money to hire a huge legal team.
TOOBIN: He doesn't. I mean, this guy has a world of trouble and, you know, he's got that poseur bravado, but I can't see much of what it's based on at this point.
COOPER: All right, Jeffrey Toobin, thanks. I appreciate it.
And we have more headlines from Illinois, unemployment there now at a 15-year high. John King is live in Peoria, the headquarters of Caterpillar which is cutting 20,000 jobs. We're going to talk to him about how quickly relief may come for those workers.
We'll see him on the other side of this break.
And Sarah Palin comes to Washington for the first time since losing; she's going to be in D.C. with President Obama. We'll tell you why they'll be sharing a stage.
And Ted Haggard, he was once an important evangelist before his double life came crashing down. We're going to talk to a noted therapist about Haggard's claims and you'll hear from Ted Haggard and his wife, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, "LARRY KING LIVE" HOST: You still get attracted to men?
TED HAGGARD, FORMER EVANGELICAL LEADER: I have thoughts from time to time but not compelling thoughts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I'm confident that with the recovery package moving through the House and through the Senate, with the excellent work that's already been done by Secretary Geithner in consultation with Larry Summers and Paul Volcker and other individuals, that we're going to be able to set up a regulatory framework that rights the ship and that gets us moving again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President Obama trying to remain optimistic in the face of today's job market meltdown. Unemployment claims reached record highs with the Department of Labor reporting 4.8 million claims in the week ending January 17th. Now, it had extended benefits approved by Congress last summer and the number is closer to 6.5 million?
This, of course, all before Ford, Eastman-Kodak and others announced massive layoffs. John King joins us tonight from Peoria, Illinois, where Caterpillar said today it plans to cut 20,000 jobs worldwide. We are talking about "Your Money and Your Future."
John, a lot of these workers thought the company was actually doing well.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it was doing well last year when the auto industry was being hit, so much of American manufacturing was being hit. Here in Peoria and elsewhere, Caterpillar was doing quite well because so much of its business is dependent on exports overseas.
But this is now a global recession, and Caterpillar and Peoria now feeling the pain. As you noted 20,000 jobs will be eliminated globally by the end of March, by the end of the first quarter, many of them right here in Peoria.
We were down on the factory floor today to see the giant tractors being made, the farming equipment, the mining equipment. Some of the workers working today will lose their jobs over the next few weeks and when you talk to them, they are the numbers now -- the faces behind those unemployment claims you were just talking about.
One woman we met today, Christy Williams, she had worked at Caterpillar, she received a two weeks notice. She's a single mother of five children between the ages of 5 and 14. She said she didn't tell her children until the very last day of her two week notice because she didn't want them to see how worried she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTY WILLIAMS, FORMER CATERPILLAR WORKER: I don't let them see that I'm stressed out about things. That's why I waited. I didn't tell them right away. The two 5-year-olds, I didn't think they would understand what that meant anyway.
So I just waited until I was done working and then I said, things are going to be a little bit different. I'm going to be home in the morning when you go to school and when you get home from school. And we have just kind of gone that route.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
J. KING: And the story Christy Williams tells us is a story you'll hear over and over again. She's been looking for work, she's on unemployment, she has about 10 weeks of benefits left. She's hoping the stimulus package being debated in Washington extends her a lifeline of more unemployment benefits if she needs it.
And Anderson, the most frustrating part, she says she has a four- year college degree, she's been out looking for work. She can't find a job that pays her anywhere near what she made at Caterpillar. She says now because she needs to feed her five children, she's starting to look into retail sales or something that would pay her a lot less or at least give her perhaps -- at least a part time job.
COOPER: How does she and others look at the stimulus plan? Are they hoping that the plan is going to help them on a quick timeline?
J. KING: It's a mixed report you get when you talk to some of these workers either just thrown out of work or about to be thrown out of work. Most of them are blue-collar union workers here who voted for Barack Obama. And they remain incredibly hopeful that he will eventually be part of turning the economy around.
But they're skeptical when they hear about politicians going to spend $800 billion or more (AUDIO GAP). They're skeptical it'll actually reach them. They do think that a company like Caterpillar -- again they make those big earth movers and things like that -- that if you're building roads and highways and bridges -- that some jobs will come back to Caterpillar.
One thing they worry about, Anderson. There's a "Buy American" clause in both proposals, the House and the Senate. Caterpillar is reliant so much on exports; they worry that could set up a trade war. China and elsewhere might stop buying American products and in the short term, they could actually lose more jobs because of those provisions.
Most of them are hopeful, but a tad skeptical.
COOPER: All right, John King, live in Peoria. John, thanks.
A job change for a different reason next. Ted Haggard was an evangelical superstar with a thriving megachurch until a sex and drugs scandal forced him into exile. Tonight he talks about the new allegations against him and how he defines himself now. We'll also talk to a therapist about some new claims that Haggard is now making.
And later, a strange story: dead man breathing, nearly two decades after reportedly drowning, this man was found during a traffic stop alive and using a fake name. That bizarre tale, coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) L. KING: What do you consider yourself, Ted? Are you bi? Are you gay?
HAGGARD: It's a great question. I went through a year of seriously asking that after the scandal. And different therapists have said different things to me.
My first therapist said you are a heterosexual with homosexual attachments and I wasn't sure what that meant. Now that we have processed this through, my current counselor says you're a heterosexual with complications.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ted Haggard talking about his sexuality, a very private matter that he is making public. The former evangelical leader talking about the allegations that drove him from the evangelical church he founded.
Haggard who preached against gays and lesbians admits to buying meth and to seeing a male prostitute and a young male church volunteer. He says he still struggles with, quote, "same-sex attraction" but says he is not gay.
Haggard wants you to know what he did, why he did it and why he deserves to be redeemed. Here's Ted Haggard on "LARRY KING LIVE" earlier tonight in his own words.
L. KING: What you called an inappropriate relationship between you and a young male church volunteer back in 2006, that was Grant Haas, he told CNN about what happened.
GRANT HAAS, FORMER CHURCH MEMBER: I came back to the bathroom, back from the bathroom, and got into bed with Ted, ready to go to sleep. And he pretty much asked me if it was OK if he masturbated in front of me or masturbated in the bed next to me. And I told him no, that would make me really uncomfortable.
Then he grabbed a bottle of lotion and just started masturbating. At that point I was just -- I was frozen. I really couldn't believe that this was happening, that this man was doing this.
L. KING: True?
HAGGARD: Fundamentally true, the specifics aren't quite right, but it doesn't matter, what matters is that is an indicator of the compulsive behavior that was going on in my life during that time period.
L. KING: How long ago was this?
HAGGARD: Over two years ago. Since that time I met with him and one of the church overseers and Gayle and asked for his forgiveness and all of our children. When he decided to come out and talk about that as our kids came in the other night. I said Grant Haas is going to go public and every one of them knew about it and they said oh, really and then went on about their evening.
L. KING: Did that get you in more trouble with the church?
HAGGARD: No, they knew about it. They knew about it two years ago. I wasn't involved in their dealings with that. I was already out. But that's all over two years old.
L. KING: You could have spoken two years ago, it was just the church that stopped you?
HAGGARD: Yes, the church -- and I think they wanted to protect me from myself. They knew I was confused. Disillusioned, disappointed in myself. And they did the best they could.
L. KING: Grant Haas released a recording of what he says was a phone conversation with you at a time he was considering a lawsuit. Let's listen.
HAGGARD: Let's just move on. Drop this thing.
HAAS: I know.
HAGGARD: Move on.
HAAS: I know.
HAGGARD: Let it go. Forgive it.
HAAS: It just hurts so much. You know?
HAGGARD: I know it hurts. Think how I hurt. Think of my little boy, trying to go to football practice without the other kids calling his dad a (bleep) and if you stir it up in the headlines again, then it all happens again.
L. KING: Is that an accurate --
HAGGARD: Yes, that happened. And we were so vulnerable, that's when we were in Phoenix and I was really speaking to myself then too. Forgive everything, let -- including myself. Forgive yourself, forgive others. Move on in life.
COOPER: A lot of people talking about this on the blog, you can join in at AC360, a live chat happening now.
Is Ted Haggard in denial? We'll talk to a psychiatrist and see what he thinks. And we'll have more from Haggard in his own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: when you have the dark thoughts, what do you do with them? HAGGARD: I just dismiss them, where before they were so compulsive, I couldn't just dismiss them, where now I can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Later, Sarah Palin and the president, they'll be together this weekend on the same stage in Washington, why? That story coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAGGARD: I'm not giving it as an excuse, but I knew, that the Bible taught that sexuality was -- I felt like God's plan was for sexuality to be in a monogamous, heterosexual marriage and I wanted that for myself. I wanted to please God. But at the same time I had these other things going on and I ended up violating my wife and family and everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ted Haggard finding faith, seeking understanding and asking for forgiveness tonight. An anti-gay crusader from the pulpit, the once-powerful evangelist is now trying to rebuild his life.
Haggard sat down with Larry King tonight. He was joined by his wife Gayle and their son Marcus; they have five kids in all. They talked about his ongoing struggles with his sexuality, his relationship with a male prostitute and more.
We'll talk to a therapist coming up to see what he thinks about some of Haggard's claims. But first more from Larry King's interview with the fallen pastor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: You reached out to Mike in advance of this interview. He e-mailed us a couple of questions. One thing Mike wanted to know is whether Ted Haggard is prepared to state absolutely that Grant Haas is the only other young man with whom he engaged in inappropriate conduct during his leadership of the New Life Church.
HAGGARD: I have thoroughly discussed the relationship with my wife, and my therapist and to some degree, the family. And we think that's an appropriate boundary for that.
L. KING: So you're not going to comment?
HAGGARD: So it wouldn't be right. And so -- but it's certainly not secret. We have discussed that thoroughly with -- the whole sexual history with my counselors, and I have had very good counselors, and with Gayle.
L. KING: What do you consider yourself, Ted? Are you bi? Are you gay? HAGGARD: It's a great question and I went through a year of seriously asking that after the scandal. And different therapists have said different things to me. My first therapist said, you are a heterosexual, with homosexual attachments and I wasn't sure what that meant. Now that we have processed this through, my current counselor says, "You're a heterosexual with complications."
And so I don't think the boxes work for me. I think I have -- I have some thoughts in my life and some processes in my life that just don't fit neatly into the boxes, which I think is true for a lot of people. And I know that I am in a process. I am changing and so I know I went through -- I was different in college than I was in my 20s and 30s. And then this happened in my 50s and -- but I can tell you this, today, I am 100 percent satisfied with my relationship with my wife and I have no compelling things in my life toward others.
L. KING: And we're going to meet her in a couple of minutes.
Let's take a look at a clip from HBO's "The Trials of Ted Haggard" it debuted tonight it will be playing frequently. This is Ted commenting about some people's views of homosexuality.
HAGGARD: If you Googled me, you would think I was Adolf Hitler or Idi Amin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or worse, gay.
HAGGARD: It's worse in some circles. In some circles it would be better to be a murder than to be gay. So, yes.
L. KING: do you think this whole story would have been different if Mike Jones or Michelle Jones?
HAGGARD: Oh, yes.
L. KING: If it were a woman?
HAGGARD: I do. I do.
L. KING: Your wife might have left you.
HAGGARD: I don't know. I thought Gayle would leave me over this. Actually I recommended that she leave me over this.
I do know with this homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual discussion, when there is a homosexual man that has something go on with a woman, people don't demand that he come out and admit that he's really a heterosexual. And I have had a very satisfying relationship for 30 years with my wife.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Up next, Ted Haggard admits he still has feelings for men. Is he being honest with himself about his sexuality? A therapist weighs in ahead.
And later, why both the current president and the next potential Republican presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, will be sharing the spotlight this weekend in Washington.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: These feelings about men, are these feelings have you have had for a long time?
HAGGARD: The first I remember them is in high school. And but I never acted on them, married Gayle in college, have had a wonderful relationship with Gayle through the years. But I would wrestle with them and I would have to deal with them. And struggle with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ted Haggard from his interview tonight with Larry King; also interviewed Gayle, his wife, and their son, Marcus. They also joined them.
Before the news about the male prostitute and the crystal meth, Haggard was a religious superstar, really, one of the most widely recognized evangelist in the country. He had his own megachurch and gained a reputation as a fierce opponent of gay rights.
But then came the truth and Haggard confessed to his double life, his same-sex attraction. Humiliated, exposed as a hypocrite, Haggard became a pariah in the religious world and the kingdom he built crumbled around him.
Today, Haggard says he's not gay but admits to what he calls homosexual attachments.
Let's dig deeper with Dr. Paul Dobransky, a noted psychiatrist and relationship counselor who's treated many evangelicals struggling with their sexuality.
I'm curious, Doctor, as you watched Ted Haggard speak, what do you think -- what came to your mind?
DR. PAUL DOBRANSKY, PSYCHIATRIST: The first thing that came to mind is that I feel bad for the situation he's in. He's very conflicted. You'll notice that the word choice he uses, I've not heard that phrase, "having homosexual attachments."
COOPER: He said one therapist called him heterosexual with homosexual attachments and then another one said he's heterosexual with complications.
DOBRANSKY: Yes, I think the bottom line is the conflict that this guy is in is that he has a belief system that he needs to maintain for his constituents, his fans, and certainly for his own spiritual beliefs. He needs to keep that part up. But when we talk about gender identity and sexual identity and sexual orientation, we're talking about something that's biological, not something that you choose. There's plenty of research about that.
COOPER: It also seems sad because his belief system, I mean there are plenty of gay Christians --
COOPER: -- who are happily gay and happily Christian and have fulfilling lives. They're not mutually exclusive?
DOBRANSKY: Absolutely, absolutely. We are, in this country, entitled to our opinions, we're entitled to voice them. And at the same time, we all have an animal nature inside. We have an unconscious; we have a sexual identity inside. And it's OK to have both.
COOPER: Every -- we have had a number of people on the show who say they have been cured of homosexuality, that they went through, whatever, reversion therapy or -- but every one of them basically admits that they still are attracted to a member of the same sex, they're just forcing themselves to repress those feelings.
COOPER: That can't be a healthy thing.
DOBRANSKY: Yes. I mean, if you would imagine, maybe a Buddhist monk on a mountain being an esthetic and depriving themselves of earthly pleasures, or imagine a metaphor of what you were a cat born in a dog kennel. It might feel dangerous, it might feel threatening, and you might pretend you're not a cat but you're still a cat. You might pretend you're a dog. It's that kind of forcing one's self to portray an identity that's different than what you are.
COOPER: I want to play something, an interaction between Reverend Haggard and his wife. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: Gayle, when you hear him say as he said five minutes ago, he still has those tendencies, he still has those feelings, still sees men, he doesn't act on them but he might. I mean, I'm not sure he won't.
GAYLE HAGGARD, TED HAGGARD'S WIFE: Well, I do know he's a human being. I know that every one of us have struggles in our life. Every one of us are going to mess up and we are all sinners. But what I also know is that we had a great sexual relationship in our marriage. We had a growing intimate relationship in our marriage, throughout our marriage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You were saying before the break, he has a lot of work ahead of him.
DOBRANSKY: He does, he does. It's possible to love one's spouse and not currently have sexual passion for them. It's possible to be committed to one's spouse and love them and not have sexual passion for them. These operate in different parts of the brain.
If somebody is homosexual in their orientation, it's possible to love their spouse. I've actually had plenty of patients who have been homosexual and yet also married to a woman. And they worked through a process of figuring out their true identity and where they want to go forward with their life in the future.
COOPER: Dr. Paul Dobransky, appreciate your perspective tonight. Thank you very much.
DOBRANSKY: You got it, Anderson.
COOPER: We're following several other stories tonight. Erica Hill joins with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, how's this for a double bill? President Obama and Governor Sarah Palin. The unlikely duo will be appearing this Saturday at the 96th annual Alfalfa Dinner. It's a roast of sorts for Washington's political elite. But they're not exactly appearing together. Some say, though, this could be a preview of the 2012 race. A little early for that.
In North Carolina, a traffic stop raises the dead. After giving police a false name, Bennie Wint (ph) admitted he'd actually faked his own drowning death 20 years ago, saying drugs and paranoia drove him to abandon his fiance and young daughter at the time. No word on whether he's now contacted his daughter, who is 24.
After rallying Wednesday, stocks falling again today. Unemployment claims reached record highs, and new home sales hit record lows. So you can thank that. The Dow lost 226 points. The NASDAQ dropped 50. The S&P 500 off nearly 30 -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right.
Up next, I don't know if you saw this on YouTube. Aretha Franklin let loose, both in song and in style at the presidential inauguration, of course. You can try to imitate her, and this guy really did try. Do we have the video?
There he is. Online, wait until you hear him sing. It's our "Shot of the Day."
COOPER: So Erica, for tonight's "Shot," you knew it was bound to happen. Someone got around to poking fun at Aretha Franklin's headwear and the version of "My Country 'Tis of Thee," also called "America."
First, here's the original from the inauguration. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGING "MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THEE")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. Now let's take a look at the YouTube version of the moment, a reinterpretation, if you will, of the Queen of Soul. We saw this first on AndrewSullivan.com. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(GREG SCARNICI, COMEDIAN: "MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THEE")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's very good. The guy is a comedian named Greg Scarnici. He specializes in parodies and music videos. Let's see a side-by-side comparison.
Impressive. I wonder if he made the hat himself?
COOPER: I don't know.
HILL: It looks like it was made by a professional.
COOPER: We should -- there's many -- there are many imitators. The best, we think, is our own Bob.
HILL: Right here in the studio.
COOPER: Right here in the studio with his -- yes.
HILL: And if you were tuned into the Web cast on Friday, as part of Floor Crew Friday, you actually saw him doing a little singing, as well, in that head gear, which he made himself.
COOPER: I don't think that's the last we're going to see of Bob in that hat.
HILL: I would hope not. Maybe tomorrow. Bust it out with Beyonce, if you catch my drift.
COOPER: Have you guys been practicing that, by the way? Yes? Good. All right.
COOPER: That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now. See you tomorrow night.