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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Tax Troubles for Another Obama Cabinet Nominee; Wall Street Outrage
Aired January 30, 2009 - 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, a 360 exclusive: more embarrassing tax troubles for the Obama Cabinet, another nominee in the spotlight, Tom Daschle, for Health and Human Services.
Now, he's a key player for getting important legislation through the Congress. The question now, will his nomination actually make it through the Senate?
We have got two key correspondents on the story tonight, each with new details, Ed Henry at the White House and Dana Bash on Capitol Hill, with exclusive access to a confidential report detailing what Mr. Daschle allegedly did.
Dana, what have you learned?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have this confidential memo, as you were just talking about there, Anderson.
And it was compiled by the Senate Finance Committee. And they are reviewing Tom Daschle's nomination. And we obtained this earlier today. And it notes that Tom Daschle has more than one tax issue that this committee has been investigating.
We reported evening this week on one, the fact that Tom Daschle used a chauffeur and a car for more than three years. It was a chauffeur that was owned by his friend and actually -- actually, a business associate. It was income he never paid taxes on.
But we have more than that, according to this memo. It also says that the committee is looking into the fact that there was, for one month of income, that's $90,000 in consulting work, that Tom Daschle didn't pay taxes on back in 2007.
And one more thing, that he actually deducted charitable contributions to organizations that don't qualify as charities. Now, all told, what Tom Daschle did at the beginning this month, after he was nominated to be Barack Obama's secretary of the health and human services, he paid nearly $150,000 in back taxes and interests.
Now, I can tell you, I just hung up the phone with a source close to Tom Daschle, who insists that on this one new issue that we're learning tonight, the fact that he didn't pay income taxes on a month's worth of consulting, they insist that it's simply that didn't get the right 1099 form for that company. But I can tell you that this is all information that committee will be not just investigating, but meeting on, on Monday at 5:00, as they review this nomination, because this has been going on for about a month that they have been investigating this. And it's been very, very secretive.
We're just now getting this information about this. But just as we're getting this information, Anderson, the Senate majority leader, the top Democrat here in the Senate, was very quick to put out a statement, insisting that, despite all of this, Tom Daschle will be confirmed as Barack Obama's HHS secretary -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, Dana, beyond this $90,000 that we're just learning about, on this drive -- this limo and chauffeur, he had a limo and a chauffeur for three years that he wasn't paying for?
BASH: That's correct. And according to...
COOPER: Who -- why was someone giving him a limo and a chauffeur?
BASH: That's a great question.
It's a good friend of his and, again, a business associate of his, who lives sometimes in Washington, sometimes in New York. But according to this memo and according to a source close to Daschle, he offered to give him his car and his driver, and he used it for more than three years.
It's not just that. According to this report, it says that he actually used it 80 percent of the time for personal use. So, apparently, according to people close to Daschle, it was in June of 2008 that he kind of looked at this and said, maybe I should be paying taxes on that -- on this and started the ball rolling on it.
But, again, it wasn't until the beginning of this month, this year, that they actually did pay taxes on it.
COOPER: Are there a lot of folks on Capitol Hill who are driving around in limos and with chauffeurs that are being provided to them by mysterious friends?
BASH: Well, he is a former person on Capitol Hill. He obviously was the Senate majority leader and minority leader back in the -- in the day,.
But, at this point, he was acting as a private citizen. And, you know, he has a rich friend, and he gave him a car. Unfortunately, for Tom Daschle, he didn't pay taxes on that.
COOPER: All right. Dana, thanks for that.
For the latest from Capitol Hill, Ed Henry at the White House, what's the reaction there?
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, anyone, obviously very embarrassing for this White House. This is now the second high- level appointee of this president who got tripped up by tax troubles. Tim Geithner was the first.
Obviously, at a time when a lot of Americans are struggling, the fact that two people didn't pay their taxes at first could be a problem. And the fact that Tim Geithner was confirmed could put more political pressure on Tom Daschle. Maybe Republicans on the Hill will feel that, since Tim Geithner got through, they may need to make an example out of Tom Daschle.
But I can tell you that, tonight, Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, is telling me that the president is still standing behind Tom Daschle, Gibbs saying that -- that Mr. Obama has confidence in the former senator, and still believes that he will be confirmed.
And do not underestimate a big, big factor here, which is that Tom Daschle, as Dana has been noting, is a former Senate majority leader. He's a member of the club. And the Senate has a way of protecting its own. And that could be a big, big help to this White House if you have some of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill rallying behind him -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Ed Henry with the latest reaction from the White House.
We will continue to follow this story throughout this hour and bring you any updates as warranted from the White House or Capitol Hill.
But let's talk strategy now with "TIME" magazine's Mark Halperin, also contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and contributor and conservative analyst Amy Holmes.
Mark Halperin, another tax problem. The Obama vetting process was supposed to be second to none. We had all those stories about, you know, endless pages of documents. They had Bill Richardson, Tim Geithner, now Tom Daschle. What's happened?
MARK HALPERIN, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, "TIME": Well, it's difficult, in a complicated world, with very rich people living extravagant lifestyles, to often get them to know everything about their own finances.
I think it's kind of surprising that someone in such a high- profile role, Tom Daschle, a former Senate leader, a lawyer in Washington working in this private company, would have an accountant who clearly was at best careless.
And I think, while it's an embarrassment, until we hear and unless we hear Democrats expressing concern about this, he will be confirmed. And I don't think, as sexy as some elements of this are, that it's likely to catch on as a public issue or one Republicans made that big a deal of. COOPER: Paul, maybe I just have lousy friends, but do a lot of people in Washington have friends who give them cars and drivers?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This show the other night sent a car and driver for me. I drove myself tonight. I wasn't very tired. I felt good. But that's work.
Apparently so. Again, I don't actually run in those circles, except when "A.C." is sending me the car, Anderson.
BEGALA: But, you know, no, it's pretty common in Washington.
But the problem, I think, as Mr. Halperin points out, is that, if, in fact, as Dana reports and apparently the committee reports, is, he was using this 80 percent of the time for private use, you have got to pay taxes on that, right?
I mean, if -- obviously, if CNN sends me a car, that's a business thing. And I don't use it for private use. But this is -- I think Mark also has the right take, which is, as a senator, respected senator, former Democratic majority leader, he gets a lot of benefit of doubt, I think, from his colleagues.
But that would be the thing to look for. Right now, Max Baucus is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He's got a life-or- death hold over this nomination. We haven't heard from him yet on this.
It is instructive that the current Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid, did put out such a strong statement. His spokesman told me tonight he described Senator Daschle as the best person to help reform health care and said he's confident Daschle will be confirmed -- a pretty good sign from Harry Reid.
COOPER: Amy, what do you make of this?
AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think, actually, having been a former senator, it can cut the other way, that he had to fully disclose his income when he was an elected official.
He's well-acquainted with a lot of these disclosure rules and Senate ethics laws. And let's not forget he sat on the Senate Finance Committee, the committee that writes the tax laws for the rest of our -- Americans. So, Tom Daschle knows better.
He's well-acquainted with this. He used this car for three years. You know what? Anderson, you don't get a car and driver given to you by your rich friend for personal use. We know from "The Washington Post" report today that, last year, he made upwards of $4 million. He couldn't pay for it himself? Use the car -- maybe your friend gives you a car and driver to get you to the airport, not to get you around for three years.
HALPERIN: Anderson, I think it's important to point out that the guy who gave him the car is not some shadowy figure. He's a very respected businessman. He actually ran the chairmanship of the Democratic Party a few years ago. And he is one of Tom Daschle's best friends and -- and closest political allies.
So, that doesn't necessarily mean anything in terms of whether Daschle will be confirmed or whether he did anything wrong or not. But this is not a shadowy figure. This is a very well-known New York businessman with a long-term relationship with Daschle, both personal and professional.
COOPER: Paul, is this going to be handled, though, do you think, than Tim Geithner's problem? There were a lot of folks who said, look, Tim Geithner is instrumental, he is crucial in this economic stimulus plan. He's the guy for the job.
You read that statement saying someone thinks he -- that Daschle is the man for the job. But it's not an economic position. Do you think they're going to be handled differently?
I think, if you -- if the same committee approves of Mr. Geithner, now Secretary Geithner, in some ways, the Geithner thing is more embarrassing, because, after all, it's the Treasury Department that runs the IRS and collects the taxes. And when you have a tax problem and you're the secretary of the treasury, that's, if anything, even worse.
Senator -- and I think Ed Henry is right to report -- generally take care of their own.
The last senator I can remember, the last senator who I think was busted when up for a nomination was John Tower back in 1989. And then it was an influential Democrat who took that Republican down, Sam Nunn, who was one of the most respected Democrats on these national security issues.
So, again, I would watch Charles Grassley, the Republican from Iowa who is the ranking Republican member, the top Republican on that committee, and obviously the committee chairman. But, so far, we haven't heard anything from the senators. That may be good news from Tom Daschle. When he's got the White House standing behind him and the current Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, standing behind him, as well, it's good news.
COOPER: Amy, do you think this thing is really in trouble? I mean, do you think this something which, the merits aside, just, politically, Republicans are going to go after?
HOLMES: Well, look, 34 senators voted against Geithner. So, yes, there will be Republicans that go after this, and for good reason.
I don't think that it's just, you know, pure partisanship. And we even heard some Democrats in the Geithner nomination say, under normal circumstances, he would not have gotten through. But because of this economic crisis, we need a treasury secretary in there.
You know, Mark and Paul are right that senators may rally around him. And it certainly was very -- very good news for Tom Daschle that Harry Reid did put out such a strong statement.
But there is political grist for this mill.
COOPER: We're going to have more with Paul Begala, Amy Holmes, Mark Halperin coming up throughout this hour.
The other big story we're covering tonight, the growing outrage over those big Wall Street bonuses. Let us know what you think. Join the live chat at AC360.com happening now. Also, check out the live Webcast during the break with Erica Hill.
We will also have the latest on White House reaction and Capitol Hill reaction to the bonuses being paid out to executives at companies you and I are helping to bail out. What, if anything, can or should our government do about it?
Also, some never-before-seen images and interviews with the Obamas, long before America knew them so well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you lead him into politics?
MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Oh, no, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you encourage him to run for the state Senate?
M. OBAMA: No, in fact, I -- no, I encouraged him against it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
M. OBAMA: Yes. I thought, you're a nice young man. You're smart, and you're intelligent. You're cute. Why would you want to get involved in politics?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's a "60 Minutes" interview that hasn't been seen before. We will show it to you coming up.
Plus, new questions and growing concern about the mother of newborn octuplets. We have now learned she is single, lives with her parents, and already had six kids. What kind of risk was she taking, and why did she make the choices she did?
Stick around. We will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Not that time, and it shows, the economy shrinking by 3.8 percent in the last quarter. It's better than expected, believe it or not, sort of like getting hit by a bus, instead of a truck.
With that as a backdrop and hundreds of billions of your dollars bailing out Wall Street, Wall Street executives are still writing checks to their employees, giving them nearly $20 billion in bonuses. No wonder the president is upset. And he's far from the only one.
Once again, here's Ed Henry with the "Raw Politics."
HENRY (voice-over): While the president used stark terms to warn the American people the crisis is far from over...
OBAMA: This is a continuing disaster for America's working families. As worrying as these numbers are, it's what they mean for the American people that really matters and that's so alarming.
HENRY: Outrage over billions of dollars in Wall Street bonuses continued to build.
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: We have a bunch of idiots on Wall Street that are kicking sand in the face of the American taxpayer. They don't get it. These people are idiots. You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18 billion in bonuses.
HENRY: Senator Claire McCaskill, who was co-chair of Mr. Obama's campaign has a simple proposal. No employee of a company receiving a taxpayer bailout can earn more than the president of the United States, $400,000 a year.
The president's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, made clear the administration is putting together a reform package that will target excessive pay.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And I think it's very safe to assume that, when a plan is outlined for financial stability, that it will include and address executive compensation and bonuses.
HENRY: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse wants a temporary oversight court that would empower the government to restrain reckless spending.
SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D), RHODE ISLAND: If something is going to change, we in Congress have to change it. We need to do it now and we need to do it in a way that sticks. HENRY: But we have heard similar promises before, such as when Mr. Obama left the campaign trail last fall to vote for the $700 billion bailout. He, like many in both parties, claimed then that the bill would be tough.
OBAMA: Number three, I said that I would not allow this plan to become a welfare program for Wall Street executives, whose greed and irresponsibility got us into this mess.
HENRY: It turns out that expressing outrage is the easy part. Actually taking action and getting it to stick, now, that's tough.
COOPER: Ed, you were reporting last night of details about the president's plan, that it's going to -- maybe going to be announced next week.
Now you're hearing, what, it's going to be pushed back?
HENRY: I'm hearing from senior officials that it may be the week after now.
And I think that may be a sign that the administration is struggling a little bit behind the scenes on how to exactly to craft this, so it will actually stick this time. David Axelrod, the president's senior adviser, is telling Bloomberg TV tonight that coming up with some way to sort of curtail executive -- excessive executive compensation is sort of building public support for a wider financial rescue plan, because the public is so outraged right now.
But they realize they have got to do this just right. And, so, it's probably going to take a little longer. It's going to be interesting. Pressure is going to be building on them to get this plan out there.
COOPER: All right.
Busy night for you at the White House -- thanks, Ed.
HENRY: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up: There are some who support these bonuses, and we want you to hear all sides of this issue. That's only fair. We will show you what Wall Street has to say for itself.
Our panel also joins us as well, talking more about what President Obama and Congress -- Congress can actually do about the bonus outrage, how to put teeth in the plan.
And, later, eight babies, a lot of questions now, including a big one -- why a single mom who already has six kids chose to have octuplets at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It's like the American dream in reverse. It is the families who have by no fault of their own been hit hardest as the economy has worsened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The dream in reverse, the outrage in overdrive. You have heard the criticism of bonuses, but the system does have its defenders.
And, on this program, we believe in presenting all sides of an issue, so you can make up your own mind.
Jessica Yellin has been listening to Wall Streeters and others who defend the bonuses. And, tonight, she's "Keeping Them Honest."
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly $20 billion in Wall Street bonuses during a financial crisis? There's outrage in the White House.
OBAMA: That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.
YELLIN: As the titans of boom are increasingly discredited.
ALAN GREENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: I made a mistake.
YELLIN: So, what does Wall Street have to say for itself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't really comment on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, unfortunately, we can't comment on...
YELLIN (on camera): Why is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're under a contract not to talk about that.
YELLIN (voice-over): At this Wall Street lunch spot, there are some willing defenders.
(on camera): Do you think bonuses should be abolished?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, bonuses are part of the pay that they get. They get bonuses. That's how they get paid.
YELLIN (voice-over): In fact, for many Wall Street employees, the majority of their pay comes in their end-of-year bonus. They say cutting that would be like slashing anybody else's salary in half. They don't want a pay cut, so they're making an unpopular case, defending Wall Street bonuses.
One, eliminating bonuses will hurt the economy. RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: I mean, it really will create unemployment. It means less spending in restaurants, less spending in department stores. So, everything has an impact.
YELLIN: Already, sales are down for mega-yachts, Bulgari jewels, and even for Porsches. Unthinkable what could follow.
Two, you need to pay for talent. According to an informed source, bailout culprit AIG gave $450 million to just 400 employees. That comes to roughly a million dollars per person. Sound good?
They say it was necessary to keep the Michael Jordans of the insurance business on AIG's team.
Then there's the, "We didn't start the fire" defense.
Jordan Schreiber has been in finance for almost 40 years. He says Wall Street is being scapegoated.
JORDAN SCHREIBER, PORTFOLIO MANAGER: They are trying to find blame, to target blame. And the blame should be more pervasive. It should include the American public that had a zero savings rate for quite a few years.
YELLIN: And, on the cocktail party circuit, he says his friends worry about losing their jobs.
SCHREIBER: They hope they are not next.
YELLIN (on camera): They also point out, bonuses were slashed, down 44 percent from 2007. Still, even without a bonus, your average Wall Street employee still makes three to four times what most Americans take home.
Jessica Yellin, CNN, New York.
COOPER: We're going to have more on the outrage over CEO bonuses. Our panel weighs in.
Also tonight, there are new and controversial details about those octuplets born Monday in California. Just ahead, an up-close look at the treatments that can result in risky multiple births. How carefully are patients screened and how closely are fertility doctors regulated?
Plus, the latest on a deadly bus crash near the Hoover Dam in Arizona. The bus was carrying tourists. This developing story, we're following it ahead.
And, later, the Obamas -- before he decided to run, before many Americans knew their names, a rare look backstage back in the day.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Another bad day on Wall Street, another hideous month for the market and the economy, six banks failing in January, three just today.
Back with our panel talking about the bonus outrage, Ali Velshi, Paul Begala, and Amy Holmes.
Ali, OK, explain this to me. I understand companies giving out bonuses when times are good and everyone's making money. That seems totally fair. But, by the same token, if your company is failing and you're being bailed out, why should these people be getting bonuses?
VELSHI: Well, a lot of these bonuses were bonuses that were set and prepaid. They were determined ahead of the time.
But now these companies have been so unprofitable in the last year, on Wall Street, a bonus is a share of the profitability. It's not about your performance in many cases. It is for senior executives, in some cases, but, generally speaking, everybody on Wall Street, from the first-year account executive, or first-year analyst, gets a bonus.
And, sometimes, it's 50 percent or 60 percent of your salary. So, it's an expectation that they get it. But I think you're going to have to see that start to change some.
COOPER: But if it's a share of in the profits of the corporation, if you're not making profits, if you're losing money, that's -- I don't get it.
VELSHI: The issue is how much -- Jessica was talking about how much was paid out in bonuses in 2008, given how much Wall Street lost in general in 2008.
Should tell you, though, a lot of job losses. Wall Street lost between 150,000 and 250,000 jobs in 2008, and 150,000 in 2007. So, there are a lot of people there who are hurting from this economy as well.
COOPER: Paul, do you buy this argument?
There are those who say, well, look, if you don't give them bonuses, they're going to go somewhere else, where the pay is better. Where else are they going to go right now? There's a lot of folks on Wall Street looking for jobs.
BEGALA: That's right. The laws of supply and demand apply to Wall Street bankers as well.
And Ali is right. Hundreds of thousands of many of them perfectly competent bankers are now out of work. The notion that they need to pay retention bonuses, as the man said in Jessica Yellin's piece, is preposterous. There's huge competition for every job on Wall Street.
And I bet a lot of bankers would like to get a job at $400,000 a year, like the president makes, instead of the millions and millions that the others were making.
COOPER: Amy, Obama says he wants to crack down on these bonuses. Do you think this is something that Republicans, well, there actually will be bipartisanship? The Republicans are actually going to get behind that notion?
HOLMES: Indeed, I think that they will. This is hugely a political embarrassment.
But you know what? That's what you get when you accept $700 billion of taxpayer money. You don't just answer to your board. You answer to 300 million Americans. And that was something that a lot of conservatives actually warned, that, if you accept this money, it means you get -- you're not just a politician now -- I'm sorry -- you're not just a banker. You have now become a politician.
Remember, you know, the Ford -- the car executives, when they came to Washington asking for bailout money, and they flew here in a private jet, I mean, that was a huge political blunder, a huge outcry. They had to come back in their green cars or something. So, the politics of this don't look good.
VELSHI: Just, the distinction, though, Amy, is that when you talk about the rest of the world and the rest of the corporate world, and you talk about bonuses, talking about top executives.
The thing that a lot of people don't understand is that the pay structure of almost every single person on Wall Street is tied to the bonus structure. So, it's different.
HOLMES: But the problem is, when you're explaining, you're losing in politics. So, to have to explain that the average bonus is about $112,000, that it's from everybody in H.R and secretaries and all the way...
HOLMES: ... that's hard to explain.
COOPER: I also just keep coming back to, if the whole reason bonuses were created was that people get a share of profits, they also should -- if your company's doing badly, you should take a hit as well.
VELSHI: Well, we typically don't. The rest of the world doesn't operate that way, so that Wall Street is not used to operating that way.
The fact is, you think you're getting $150,000 a year. Well, your salary is $50,000 or $60,000, and the rest of it is bonus. So, ultimately, the word is complicating things...
COOPER: Right. VELSHI: ... because we think of bonus as something you get that is a share of what your company makes, or something you get because you did well.
On Wall Street, it's just a way of determining your pay.
COOPER: Paul, though, it's sort of stunning. It's as if people on Wall Street are not reading the newspaper and don't realize that times have changed.
Just from a public-relations standpoint, they are being moronic.
COOPER: The way -- the choices they are making are damaging their viability.
BEGALA: Well, yes, the arrogance is staggering.
The new -- the newest, latest poster boy -- probably not the last -- is John Thain, the now former CEO of Merrill Lynch, who apparently spent $1.2 million of shareholders' money redecorating his office, all the way down to apparently a $30,000 commode.
That's outrageous if you're a Merrill shareholder. But I think Amy draws the proper distinction. We're no longer talking about just Merrill Lynch shareholders, who we free to sell the stock -- or were free to sell the stock any time they wanted to.
Now taxpayers, who, of course, give their money to the government, by compulsion -- if they don't, they go to prison -- now they're taking our money. And there's a completely different standard. And I think it's going to be a really rude awakening for a lot of these Wall Street hot shots.
COOPER: Amy, Senator Claire McCaskill wants CEO pay to be capped at $400,000. Do you think that's -- I mean, is that something that's actually feasible? Or is that just kind of, you know, something that's good for a sound bite?
HOLMES: You know, I think it's good political theater. I don't think it actually makes any economic sense. You do not want the government involved in price setting, you know, our wages. It starts there. Where does it end?
COOPER: But you're saying Republicans are going to get behind some sort of limitation on bonuses, so isn't that getting involved?
HOLMES: Well, they might get behind some sort of, you know, plan, but this has to be structured differently so that this makes sense. You need to come to Washington and explain yourself. You'll see political theater, I think, from Republicans, as well.
But you know what? It's fun to bash bankers. It's easy to do. I mean, we're in this mess. But let's go back to what Mayor Giuliani was saying. The bankers, they're not just, you know, the big fat cats. These are also New York consumers and the New York tax base.
And we just saw that Mayor Bloomberg said he's going to be having to cut back on services and raise sales taxes because of this tax base shrinking. So Ali makes a point, this is their salaries. This is how they get paid.
COOPER: We're going to be talking about money throughout the next -- in the 11 p.m. hour. Ali, you have the "CNN Money Summit." What's that about?
VELSHI: Yes, we got some great minds and great journalists. I'm talking about what the administration needs to address head on right now. And there's some people who think it's jobs. There are some people who think it's the credit and banking sector and others who think it's housing. But it's the same discussion that they're having in Washington, to try and decide how we fix this problem now. And that's coming up at 11 p.m. Great panel. You don't want to miss that.
COOPER: All right. That's 29 minutes from now. You might want to check that out. Amy Holmes, set your VCR. Paul Begala, as well. Thank you very much. Appreciate both of you.
Still ahead, new details about the octuplets born days ago, details that many in the medical community say are troubling. Coming up, why some ethicists, medical ethicists are calling the baby's birth a failure of fertility medicine, not a success at all.
Also ahead, the dangerous and deadly ice storm that is gripping Kentucky. At least nine deaths tied to the storm, the worst in the state's history. We'll have the latest ahead.
And up close with the Obamas. Long before they became the first couple, behind the scenes moments from "60 Minutes," some shown for the first time tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The options were to continue the pregnancy or to selectively abort. The patient chose to continue the pregnancy. We, as physicians, our goal is to provide the best possible care for our patients, no matter what the situation or circumstances are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's one of the doctors who helped deliver a set of octuplets this week in California, eight babies born nine weeks early.
Octuplets are extremely rare. It's virtually unheard of for them to be conceived without fertility treatments, and now it appears that is exactly what happened in this case. And that is raising all kinds of questions tonight, and even to outrage among many fertility doctors. Also adding a new level of complication to the story, we've learned the octuplets have six siblings already waiting for them. Their single mom is apparently living with her parents.
David Mattingly has an up close look.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight babies, one mother, the news was startling enough. And then we learned the mother already has six children at home, and that's produced a frenzy of questions.
ED SULEMAN, OCTUPLETS' GRANDFATHER: She's fine. The babies are fine. Everybody's fine, except us because of you.
MATTINGLY: The grandmother told "The Los Angeles Times" that the mother had undergone some kind of fertility treatment, why we don't know. Hospital doctors say the mother came to them in her first trimester, and they advised her she could selectively remove some of the fetuses. She declined.
(on camera) What kind of a risk was this woman taking when she chose to have these babies?
DR. MICHAEL TUCKER, REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGIST: In my mind at that point, with seven and ultimately eight babies on board, an extreme risk.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Reproductive physiologist Michael Tucker says the case goes against modern fertility treatment practices of limiting multiple births. He says the case will be scrutinized for how fertility drugs might have been used or how many embryos might have been implanted.
TUCKER: Somebody who's already known fertile, to transfer more than one or two embryos is -- is quite, quite unreasonable, to say the least.
MATTINGLY: Guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says doctors normally would not implant more than two embryos at a time for any woman under 35.
(on camera) Her age has not been confirmed, but with eight new babies, she now has a total of 14 children. So far, she's trying to hold onto her privacy, but through the California hospital where she's recovering, she called the octuplets a miraculous experience.
(voice-over) But the questions about these births address more human concerns. The baby's grandfather says multiple births were not part of the plan.
SULEMAN: She did not seek to have more children. She thought she was going to have one more child, and it happened.
MATTINGLY: And the surprises continued up until delivery on Monday. Mom thought she was having only seven babies. She was carrying so many that the eighth escaped detection until the landmark C-section.
David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: From a safety standpoint, how many kids is -- are too many in the womb at one time? And should there be more regulation of fertility treatments? We'll have more on that in a moment with a medical ethicist.
Also a never-seen-before interview with Barack Obama before he became president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you get all this confidence?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My wife asks me that all the time. I think it's as a consequence of having grown up in a lot of different kinds of circumstances. You know, my family was unusual, to say the least. My upbringing was unconventional.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Barack Obama also answers the question if he ever had any doubts about his readiness to be president.
Also, protests in Oakland turn violent after a police officer enters a "not guilty" plea in the shooting of an unarmed black man shot in the back while laying facedown. Find out why the officer says he is not guilty.
COOPER: The octuplets born Monday in California are tiny. The biggest was just over three pounds at birth, the smallest a pound and a half. But the debate they set off is enormous. We now know the babies were conceived with the help of some type of fertility treatment, and many in the medical community say that suggests the mother's doctors broke with accepted practice.
Let's dig deeper with bioethicist Arthur Caplan, director of the Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Good to have you on. Thanks for being with us. You say -- you say there are really four major ethical concerns raised with the birth of these octuplets. What are the four?
ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL ETHICS, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Well, the first one is, how did this mom, who's a single mom living with her parents, has six children in the house -- I think they may be hers; they may be foster kids. We don't know. How did she get to a position where she got the infertility services in the first place? What kind of screening was done? I think most clinics would some minimal psychological screening, a little bit of financial screening, a little bit of social investigation, make sure you got a house, make sure you got money. Fourteen kids all at once back to a two-bedroom bungalow, not a good situation for the kids.
Second big issue: if you look at what's going on with the multiple birth, how did we get to a point where they either put in eight embryos, which to be blunt, Anderson, if you transfer eight embryos in a fertility treatment to anybody, I think it's malpractice. I mean, you're begging for a megamultiple birth. That's trouble.
Or didn't they monitor her to see how many eggs she had, if they gave her drugs, advise her not to have any sexual relations, that it's too risky in terms of making too many babies? What was the informed consent, what was going on here?
Third, cost. These babies are going to cost a bundle of money, they're all in neonatal ICUs, and they're going to cost money. There's never been an eight-baby birth without a lot of disability. Who's going to pay that? You and I are, because it's either going to be in insurance premiums or it's going to be in some sort of government program to cover these costs. I don't think she's going to be doing what is going to amount to tens of millions of dollars of cost.
Last big issue: if you look at what's going on in the whole infertility industry, no regulations, no oversight, no accountability. Each clinic handles things -- it gives a funny meaning to the notion of "cash and carry." If you show up with the money, apparently you can get treatment no matter what your story is.
COOPER: So really, there's not much oversight at all? No oversight, you're saying?
CAPLAN: There's really no oversight at all. Nothing -- nothing at all. There's a little bit of guidelines that have come out from a couple of the associations, but no enforcement, no accountability. No one is saying, "Here's the minimal thing you have to do to get informed consent from a patient. You better warn them in advance they could encounter multiple pregnancies. Maybe they want to think about selectively reducing or aborting some of those in advance. You'd need to have some sort of psychological screening, what should it be? Nothing. They don't have anything in place.
COOPER: You know, when this first -- when this story first broke, we had no details about this. And a lot of people, I think, probably ourselves included, you know, reported this eight births, it's this, you know, amazing story. Do you think the media, though, plays -- has, you know, a part of the blame in this?
CAPLAN: I do. There's a little bit, whenever we see these megamultiple stories -- they're not that common. But when they pop up, it's kind of a "Brady Bunch" moment. Everybody's, you know, "Wow, instant family. This will be great." We get a little bit of this reporting when celebrities are out adopting many, many kids. We even see a little bit on some of the shows that are tracking families that have large numbers of children through multiple births all at once. It all looks good.
You don't see that the people that we're really talking about have a lot of money, a lot of help, probably two or three maids, assistants. They're in there -- they've got a ton of help with these kids.
A single mom trying to deal with eight births all at once, much less six kids already there, it's almost unimaginable the work and the effort that that's going to require, even if she gets the -- her own parents to help out. And I don't think the media gets that story across.
Other problem: we don't really convey the fact that these babies are all at risk of severe disability. That's what multiple birth means. It's not simply, you know, launched all at once; let's see how they all turn out. They're going to encounter some problems.
COOPER: A lot of good questions raised, and wish we had more information about it. I know you do, too. We'll -- we'll try to continue to follow it. Art Caplan, good to have you on. Thank you.
Coming up, the end of the second week of the Obama presidency. A look back at the first family long before the country knew who they were. It's a new interview and some images you've never seen before. Candid words from the Obamas: why he never doubted he would be president, why Michelle Obama tried to talk him out of it.
Also tonight a developing story: a tour bus overturns near the Hoover Dam. You've seen the pictures. A number of passengers have been killed. We're trying to find out more information. We'll have the latest ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. OBAMA: We're at a moment of history where I think the most important thing we need to do is to bring the country together. And one of the skills that I bring to bear is being able to pull together the different strands of American life and focus on what we have in common.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have any doubts that you're ready?
B. OBAMA: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: No doubts, but a world of pressure. Tonight we take you behind the scenes with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama including some never-before-seen images and interviews from the family that's making history. It's part of a new DVD produced by "60 Minutes." From Mr. Obama's declaration of his candidacy and winning, to the election, to his search for a puppy, we get an insider's view of the road to the White House. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you lead him into politics?
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Oh, no. In fact I...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you encourage him to run for the state senate?
M. OBAMA: No, I encouraged him against it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
M. OBAMA: Yes, I thought, you're a nice young man. You're smart, and you're intelligent. You're cute. Why would you want to get involved in politics? You know?
I was a cynic, and in some ways I am still somewhat cynical about what you can do to change the world through politics. And we would have these debates all the time about whether you could actually change -- make change through politics. So I was always saying, you know, "You could teach; you could write; you could -- you know, you could do a whole range of things." So -- but he ran for office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three years ago, you were a state legislator here in Springfield. What makes you think that you're qualified to be president of the United States?
B. OBAMA: You know, I think we're in a moment of history where probably the most important thing we need to do is to bring the country together. And one of the skills that I bring to bear is being able to pull together the different strands of American life and focus on what we have in common.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have any doubts that you're ready?
B. OBAMA: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you get all this confidence?
B. OBAMA: My wife asks me that all the time. I think it's as a consequence of having grown up in a lot of different kinds of circumstances. My family was unusual, to say the least. My upbringing was unconventional. I had to -- I was tested, I think, in a lot of different environments and had to adapt to a lot of different environments and situations. And over time, I came to be confident about my capacity to connect with other people, regardless of their station in life, or their race or their -- their political perspectives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the biggest influence on your life?
B. OBAMA: My mother, no doubt. I mean, my mmyy mother raised me. And you were asking earlier where I get my confidence from. I think if you ask a lot of children where do you get your confidence from, it's the love of your mother. You know, the devotion, that they've shown you, the values they've instilled in you, the hopes that they've placed in you. She was one of the -- one of the finest people that I've ever known. And a lot of what I do reflects the values she instilled in me.
COOPER: We're following a developing story, also, out of Arizona to tell you, where a tour bus has crashed. Erica Hill has the latest in a "360 Bulletin," a news and business bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and Anderson, it's really an unfolding story for you tonight. In fact, we're just getting updates during the show now. A horrific scene in Arizona. We're now learning at least seven people have died in the bus crash; another 16 are injured.
This happened about 27 miles from the Hoover Dam. Officials are saying right now it was a single vehicle accident. We'll continue to follow that for you.
In Oakland, California, tonight there are new protests over the former transit cop now charged with shooting to death an unarmed black man in New Year's Day. Those crowds are upset that the judge granted bail in the case. They wanted the defendant behind bars, no matter what.
Breathing room for thousands who cannot pay their mortgages. Freddie Mac says it is suspending foreclosure evictions to some homeowners. That measure goes through March. Freddie Mac says customers who qualify can rent out their properties.
And they're calling it the worst ice storm in Kentucky history, and the numbers are just staggering: more than 600,000 customers without power. At least nine deaths reported as a result of the storm. Seventy-eight of the state's 120 counties have now declared a state of emergency.
COOPER: Wow, it's terrible.
All right. Still to come, what can President Obama do to get the economy back on track? What should he tackle first: jobs, the housing mess? Our panel of experts weigh in on that in a 360, the first "CNN Money Summit." That's coming up in about eight minutes.
But first, "The Shot." President Obama had his Beyonce dance moves down, and we've seen others impersonate the sexy moves. Tonight, the 360 floor crew can't contain their enthusiasm for Beyonce any longer. It's our "Shot," ahead.
COOPER: Time now for our "Beat 360" winners. I'm so excited about this video that's coming up.
HILL: I know. I can't stop moving. COOPER: I know. Let's get through this "Beat 360." It's our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than one that we can think of for a photo that we put -- excuse me -- on our blog every day.
HILL: It's exciting.
COOPER: I know. Tonight's picture: piglets. These little guys were on display at a fair in Berlin.
Our staff winner tonight was Joey with a little assist from me, actually.
HILL: Nice work.
COOPER: Here's the caption: "This little piggy crashed the market. This little piggy foreclosed on your home. This little piggy got a bailout, and this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all over your loan."
(SOUND EFFECT: DRUM BEAT)
COOPER: Thank you.
HILL: Moving along.
COOPER: The -- yes. Our viewer winner is J.C. from Los Angeles with the caption: "Corporate executives gather for a group shot before meeting with Congress to discuss bailout requirements."
Very good. I like that, J.C.
HILL: J.C., very good. Yes.
COOPER: Congratulations, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
(SOUND EFFECT: KISS)
HILL: I'm a little verklempt myself. I understand it's a big moment.
COOPER: I know. All right. So it's Floor Crew Friday, which is a celebration of all things having to do with the floor crew. Tonight the guys are giving us their take on Beyonce's "Single Ladies." This is, of course, the steamy original, widely popular song. It's become a classic video. Everybody seems to be copying it. This week you saw Barack Obama give his version.
HILL: It's Anderson's ring tone.
COOPER: The 360 -- no, it's not. The 360 floor crew decided, if the president can do it, so can they. So releasing the fury, here's Bob, Frank and Jerry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC: "SINGLE LADIES")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: I like that. I'd like to say, Bob -- was in there. Yes.
Amazing. Very good, guys. Just -- yes, incredible. Very nicely done.
HILL: This, by the way, Bob let me borrow. Not only did he craft an Aretha Franklin hat. That's right, Beyonce. He can make your jewelry, too.
HILL: Jay-Z wants to talk to the boys.
COOPER: All right. Yes.
HILL: Good night. I'm on the air.
COOPER: I'm flabbergasted. Wow. I don't even know how to -- how to respond to that.
HILL: There are not words.
COOPER: If you want to see more of the magic, that will be on AC360.com, of course, as well. Congratulations, guys. You did a very, very good job. Very nicely done.
HILL: I just hope they come back to us on Monday.
COOPER: All right. All right, coming up at the top of the hour, it's not going to be able to top that. But it's a 360 special, the first "CNN Economic Summit." Some of the sharpest minds in the business, and women (ph), looking at how President Obama plans to fix the economy and the growing challenges that still may be out there and how it all affects your bottom line. An hour you cannot afford to miss, next.