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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Authorities Visit Another Jackson Doctor; Afghanistan Votes
Aired August 19, 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, ballots and bombs in Afghanistan. We're live on the scene.
But, first, though, late new details in the Michael Jackson case. Another Jackson doctor gets another visit by authorities.
Randi Kaye has a preview -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, just when you thought this whole investigation was over, another twist and turn. Tonight, we have the details of yet another visit by the L.A. County coroner's chief investigator to the office of Dr. Arnold Klein, who was Jackson's longtime dermatologist. We know the singer saw Dr. Klein just a few days before he died. Did he see him again even closer to his death? We will let you know what we have learned.
Also, the coroner's investigator says he was looking for -- quote -- "additional information." Why the second look? Is Dr. Klein emerging as another key figure in this case? Remember, this is now the second time his office has been visited for records related to Jackson. We will get to the bottom of all of it in just a few minutes.
COOPER: All right, Randi, thanks very much.
Now we begin, though, the program with breaking news, history and hope unfolding right now in Afghanistan. It is election day. Take a look. It is morning in Kabul. That's a live picture of the capital city, polls opening within this hour in a city that has been rocked, along with much of the country, by Taliban bombings, rocket attacks and a campaign of voter intimidation -- 60,000-some American troops on the ground, a major battle under way, a shaky government now in place, high stakes, high pressure, no ordinary election this.
Ivan Watson is watching it unfold, joins us from Bamiyan, northwest of Kabul.
Ivan, what's the situation today? What are you seeing?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, just to give you a sense of the change here, behind me is a cave that held a 1,500- year-old Buddha statue that was destroyed by the Taliban in 2001, attracted international condemnation.
And now, in this province, you have elections going on. You have some 17 million people registered across Afghanistan in its second ever presidential election, a historical moment. That said, much of this country is at war right now. Three American soldiers were killed in two separate incidents yesterday alone. That brings the death toll for American and Western troops to more than 50 just this month.
We have reports of two of -- of seven election workers killed over the last two days. And I just got off the phone with a U.S. military spokeswoman, who says there were cases reported overnight of small-arms fire at some polling stations across the country.
We do know that many, perhaps hundreds, of polling centers are not going to be operating today because they're located in areas controlled by the Taliban insurgency. In this province, however, we're seeing elections taking place.
It's one of the safest provinces in the country, Anderson. And when the polls open, election workers expect that some 200,000 people in this province alone will be registered and able to vote for their next president -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, as we said, polls open within the hour. Ivan, we are going to check back within you -- with you later on in this hour.
We're joined now by Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst in Washington, and also by our own Michael Ware, who has certainly spent a lot of time both, we know, in Iraq, and also in Afghanistan.
Peter, let's start off with you. A big day for this country. What is at stake right now?
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, at stake is the entire project that the international community is engaged in.
I mean, if this election goes off fairly well, many of the naysayers, I think, will be shown not to be correct. I think the main indicator to look for, Anderson, is voter turnout. Karzai's going to win this election either in the first round or the second round. That's a virtual certainty.
But if voter turnout is significant on the day, certainly about 50 percent or 60 percent, something like that, I think that sends a message that the Afghan population were not intimidated by the Taliban, were actively engaged in this very important election.
The last election was in 2004. There was 80 percent turnout. I think that's very unlikely that we will see that kind of turnout. But a significant turnout would be a big -- a big signal to the Taliban that the Afghan population were not intimidated.
COOPER: Michael Ware, Secretary of State Clinton says the U.S. is impartial in this in terms of who actually gets elected. Does it matter to the U.S. who gets...
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, no, it really doesn't. It doesn't -- in some ways, it doesn't matter to the Afghan people, and, to some degree, it doesn't -- it doesn't matter to the U.S. interests in Afghanistan either.
I mean, I -- I think I would disagree with Peter to some degree. I think this election's going to happen, no matter what. It might not be pretty. It's going to be disrupted in certain areas. Would we consider it a complete clean, legitimate election? No. There's going to be deep flaws within it.
But will it be enough for the Afghan people? I would think so. And we're going to see a lot of disruption in the south. And maybe the Pashtuns in the south, the people from whence the Taliban came, are going to feel even more disenfranchised, which is one of the Taliban goals.
But I don't think this election is going to mean a great deal in terms of going forward, either for Afghanistan or for U.S. strategy, because, whether it's the return of Hamid Karzai or whether it's Abdullah Abdullah or anyone else, we're going to see a hodgepodge of warlords, corrupt officials, and another government that cannot deliver services to its people.
COOPER: Peter, is corruption that deeply entrenched in Afghanistan right now, I mean, narco corruption, other forms?
I mean, according to Transparency International, the NGO that tracks this thing, you know, Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, perhaps only beaten by Somalia. So, that's a pretty low bar.
So, yes, there's no doubt, as Michael says, it's a -- it's a highly corrupt country. A third of the economy is basically generated by the drug business. And that's just a fact.
COOPER: And -- and, in terms of the U.S. policy, Michael, clearly, the -- the Obama administration has tried to scale down what the -- what the -- the endgame or what the goal is. At this point, is the goal, as the U.S. has set it, achievable?
WARE: I think it is. And we saw this begin under the Bush administration. It started to tone down its goals, as it did in Iraq.
The word democracy was dropped, for example. And, certainly, we're not looking at, you know, shining models for that region, nor in the Middle East, as Iraq was meant to be. Essentially, a stable country that can hold itself together, won't host al Qaeda will be more than enough for U.S. interests.
And I have to tell you, I visited D.C. not so long ago and went to the Department of State. And it was made very, very clear to me that Afghanistan nor Iraq are considered strategically important to U.S. interests.
They are important countries, but they're not strategically vital. As it was said to me, and is -- is accurate, Afghanistan's a pile of rocks. It just so happens that -- that al Qaeda had bases there at one point.
If the Taliban want to reengage, reenter the political process, end their insurgency, as long as they don't host al Qaeda, America doesn't care beyond that.
COOPER: Peter Bergen, appreciate it.
Michael, stick around. Michael, we will talk about Iraq. I want to talk about an especially -- especially terrifying day in Baghdad -- Iraq's prime minister blaming al Qaeda in Iraq and Saddam Hussein loyalists for a wave of grisly bombings at the capital, a half-dozen explosions across the city, including nearly simultaneous truck bombings of the foreign and -- foreign and finance ministries, nearly 100 dead, hundreds more hurt.
Michael, what do you make of this, six bombings, 95 people dead, the deadliest day of violence since the U.S. pulled back from the cities? What happened?
WARE: This is, welcome to Iraq.
This was happening under the U.S.-led offensive, under the U.S.- led war. I remember, when I was there just not so long ago, just before I left, 80 died in one day. Today, the death toll's 95 or 100. This is part of a long-running campaign.
COOPER: Well, the prime minister said that they're going to have to -- quote -- this is going to lead to the -- quote -- "reevaluation of our plans and security mechanisms."
Is it possible that they would reevaluate the U.S. position of pulling out?
WARE: Well, I know that the U.S. command there would like to redeploy some troops to the north, certainly around Mosul and some of the more vulnerable villages up there, because, at the moment, that's one of al Qaeda's latest strongholds. That's going to be a very interesting question, because the Maliki government has been dogged about running this war on its own in its own way.
It wants America to underwrite it, but it doesn't want America to participate. It wants to do this its own way. It's tearing down the blast walls in Baghdad. And, for example, it's ludicrous to hear the prime minister of Iraq blame these bombings on Saddam loyalists or -- or Baathist loyalists.
The Baathist loyalists went on the U.S. government payroll. They opposed al Qaeda during Saddam. They oppose them now. That's just a sign of the Shia-vs.-Sunni rivalry. That's got nothing to do with the real security threat.
COOPER: A rivalry which is alive and well.
Michael Ware, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
A quick program note: Starting the week of September 7, Michael, Peter Bergen, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and I are going to be reporting from Afghanistan with American forces on the front lines in their battle with the Taliban. I hope you join us for that week.
As always, let us know what you think. Join the live chat at AC360.com.
And, up next, with Democrats still taking town hall heat over health care reform, will those be able to stick together when it comes to passing a Democratic-only plan? New details on how that might happen, and Barney Frank's reaction to one questioner who compared Obama to a Nazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Later, Randi Kaye is back with more on Dr. Arnie Klein, Michael Jackson's former dermatologist, and why investigators came calling again on him today.
COOPER: President Obama appealed today to faith-based groups for their health on -- help on health care reform. He spoke on a conference call estimated streamed to an estimated 140,000 people online.
Meantime, on the ground, opponents again speaking loudly face to face, protesters there in Macon, Georgia, confronting Congressman Jim Marshall, a Blue Dog Democrat. He's on the fence about a public option, but told the local chamber of commerce today he would consider any reasonable reform plan.
The question tonight, will he help President Obama and other Democrats if it comes down to going it alone or without bipartisan support or even the votes of some of his fellow conservative Democrats?
Let's talk about "Raw Politics" now with senior political analyst David Gergen, along with Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and Amy Holmes, an independent conservative.
I want to play for you all this Barney Frank exchange that he had with one young woman at a town hall. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama has expressly supported this policy? Why are you supporting it?
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Let me -- on what planet do you spend most of your time?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
FRANK: Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: David Gergen, what do you make of that?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well...
GERGEN: ... I think there are a lot of Democrats out there who will be cheered by that clip, because they felt that their Democratic members haven't known how to handle these -- these -- the thrust and parry of these town halls. Claire McCaskill has done a very good job. A couple of others have.
But Barney really nailed it, I think, there for a lot of Democrats.
COOPER: Paul, you're -- you're beaming like a Cheshire cat.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, because some things ought to be beyond the pale.
You know, I think it takes a lot of guts for that young woman to stand up and confront presumably her congressman. Let's assume she lives in Congressman Frank's district. But when you say that the president is pursuing a Nazi policy, that is beyond the pale. And I think -- I think Senator -- Congressman Frank was right to say, OK, next person. I'm not going to take you seriously, when you use those kind of epithets.
COOPER: Amy, you agree?
AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I agree that Nazi is beyond the pale, but I think Barack Obama does need to take public opinion seriously.
Barney Frank doesn't need to worry about this young lady. He's safe in his district. But Barack Obama needs to worry about the public polling that is going against him, and particularly among seniors. Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, he rang the bell on this way back in June.
And we see now with poll -- Pew and Gallup, that seniors are -- are -- they're scared. They're nervous. They don't have details. On my radio show, we talk with him, and even Obama supporters say, they need to know more.
COOPER: Paul, we got a text 360 question based on the -- I guess, the Barney Frank thing.
Patty says, "Do you think the Obama administration is considering moving ahead because of negative Republican reaction at town hall meetings?"
I mean, do you think this -- this idea of -- of going it alone is in response to what they have suddenly seen at all these town hall meetings?
BEGALA: I think, frankly, less the town hall meetings. That hasn't moved a lot of Democrats. I have talked to a whole lot of them. They don't seem terribly rattled by that. But I think what they're seeing is...
COOPER: What about independents?
BEGALA: Well, I mean, Democratic members of Congress.
COOPER: Oh, OK.
COOPER: Among independents, it's -- Republic opposition has hardened. And that's fine. They're the opposition party.
But to try to pass something in a bipartisan fashion is just going to be very difficult, and almost impossible. Look at this. There's four committees that have already passed out versions of health care, three in the House, one in the Senate.
If you add all those committees together, they accepted, the Democrats who run the committees, 183 Republican amendments in those four committees, 183. Despite taking all those 183 amendments, you know how many Republican votes they got? Zero, zilch, as we say in the Catholic Church, bubkes, nada.
Now, at what point do you start to get the idea that the Republicans are just not going to play along? More recently, you know, we have the Senate Finance Committee as the last hope of bipartisanship. Senator Max Baucus, the chairman, is trying to negotiate with Charles Grassley, the leading Republican on the committee.
And he's been reached out to, Grassley has, and the president has praised him in the past. And, so, what does he do? He goes home. And, you know, grandpa Twitter gets on his BlackBerry and says, the president wants to pull the plug on grandma, and then he calls the president of the United States intellectually dishonest.
That's who Obama is trying to deal with. So, there's no hope of bipartisanship.
HOLMES: Well, Grassley has said -- Grassley has said that he does -- Grassley said that he does want to sit at the table and try to work this out.
But, you know, I talked to Blue Dog Democrat Jim Cooper of Tennessee, and he said he, as a Democrat, does not think Democrats have the vote, in the Senate in particular, those 60 votes, in order to move forward on this legislation.
And he said that this government plan option, this -- that's just not going to make it for a lot of those moderate Democrats. So, when the presidents says that he can move ahead without Republicans, perhaps he can, but he might not be able to move ahead without Democrats.
COOPER: David, are you surprised at how the White House has -- has, I mean, I guess, fumbled this whole rollout over the last week or so?
GERGEN: I have been very surprised by their failures on -- on -- on persuading people. Their messages are obviously not getting through.
But I think they also have substantive problems with this package, just as Paul and I discovered with the Clinton package. There are a lot of Americans who do not want the kind of things Democrats are putting forward.
But my friend Paul, I think, will understand that I -- I disagree with him on the question of what's in the national interests and what's in the president's interest. And that is, I think it's in the president's interest to push forward as far as he possibly can to see if he can find a way to bipartisanship.
There was a Quinnipiac poll just two weeks ago that found that 59 percent of Americans would oppose a health care plan that was passed only by Democrats, as opposed to only 36 percent of Americans who would support such a plan.
And it does seem to me, given this big a bill, 16 percent of the economy, if you can find a way to bipartisanship -- and it may not be possible. These town halls, I think...
COOPER: But, David, what about the argument that a year -- that they push it through, and, a year from now, no one's going to remember, you know, who was for it and who was against it; they're just going to see whatever results...
GERGEN: I -- I...
COOPER: You don't buy it? GERGEN: I don't think that's true. I don't buy that.
You know, we saw, with catastrophic passed in the last year of President Reagan's administration, a year later, the protests were so big, they were chasing Danny Rostenkowski down the street, elderly people with umbrellas. And they had to -- and the plan got canceled.
These things can continue to roil the American political populace for some time to come. I just think, if they reach the end of the day, and it's apparent to the public that the Republicans don't to want play ball, that they -- they embrace the Paul Begala argument, that makes it much easier for Democrats then to go forward on their own...
COOPER: Paul, you say, we're already there.
BEGALA: Well, I think we're going to be there.
David is right. And I have written about this. I praise Senator Max Baucus, who a lot of my friends on the left are criticizing. And I -- what I would -- what I would counsel my Democratic friends is, the end of the day that David cites is September 15.
That's the day Senator Baucus has said, by then, I will either have a bipartisan bill, or Baucus himself has suggested he will go it alone with Democrats. I think that's giving Republicans -- you know, nine months and 183 amendments, probably a lot more by the time you count up those that Senator Baucus accepts in the Finance Committee.
I would like nothing better than to see this as bipartisan. So would President Obama. I mean, look, Barack Obama ran for president believing in the myth of the reasonable, rational Republican. It's a lovely myth. And it's like, you know, the unicorn or -- or the Tooth Fairy, or a humble pundit.
BEGALA: You know, it's this thing you will never find. You will look all your life. And there aren't any left in Washington.
HOLMES: Paul, speak for yourself on the humble pundit side.
But, you know, I also talked with my former boss Senator Fritz, and he said that he could support a co-op plan if it was at the state level, if it was at the local level.
COOPER: Anyone -- anybody know what a co-op plan actually means? I mean...
HOLMES: It is complicated. It's folks getting involved in covering one another.
COOPER: Yes. It's a theory, though. I mean...
HOLMES: It's a theory.
But -- but, getting back to Paul's point, yes, Republicans can support a co-op plan. He said that if, in the Senate, they could...
COOPER: We got to go.
HOLMES: ... squeeze this plan to $500 billion, that could be something that he could support.
COOPER: All right, Amy Holmes, appreciate it. Paul Begala, David Gergen, thank you very much.
Coming up next: Levi Johnston's mom could be heading to jail.
Also, a return visit to Michael Jackson's dermatologist. The coroner trying to figure out what killed the singer says he needed more information from Dr. Arnold Klein. Randi Kaye is live with the latest developments on that.
And, later, a swimsuit model stuffed in a suitcase that was left in a dumpster. The question is, who killed her, and why do police to want talk to her ex-husband, a former reality show contestant?
More on that ahead.
COOPER: Want to update you now on another top story, a new development in the Michael Jackson investigation.
The focus is not on Dr. Conrad Murray tonight. It's on another M.D., this man. Prominent Beverly Hills dermatologist Arnold Klein, who treated Jackson over the years, was paid another visit today by the coroner's chief investigator, who said last week his report was complete.
So, the question, of course, is, why did he return to Klein's office again? What was he looking for?
Randi Kaye joins us with more.
Do we know what was at the coroner's office?
KAYE: We are trying to get some answers on that exactly.
But we do know that Dr. Klein's attorney says that the coroner's chief investigator came to the office to confirm or negate new information that he had received. This is significant, of course, because, just last week, the L.A. County Coroner's Office announced its report was complete, calling it thorough and comprehensive. Well, obviously, it's not as complete as they thought it was with -- it was, with the chief investigator back at it today, serving yet another subpoena at Dr. Arnold Klein's office. He was Jackson's dermatologist for decades.
And this marks the coroner's second visit there seeking information -- the last one, July 14. Now, here is what one of his attorneys told reporters outside his office after the coroner's investigator left.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Arnold Klein wants to maintain his utter cooperation with any and all law enforcement authority with respect to the investigation into the cause of death of Michael Jackson. He has done so. He will continue to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Dr. Klein's lawyer does not believe his client did anything wrong. He said, in his opinion, Dr. Klein did not give Jackson any drugs that were inappropriate.
He also said he sees no reason to be concerned on behalf of his client, that he sees no evidence to support a charge of medical malpractice, which has been floated as a possible, possible charge against Dr. Klein.
COOPER: If their investigation was complete, though, and seemingly, it had focused on -- on Murray, why, all of a sudden, the focus now on Dr. Klein?
KAYE: That's what we're trying to figure out.
And I do want to point out that these are really two very different circumstances -- it's -- it's important to point that out here -- because Dr. Murray's clinics and his home have been searched by investigators seeking charges of manslaughter. That hasn't happened in this case with Dr. Klein.
In his case, he falls into that appropriate window of time, as it's being called. Investigators are looking at more than a dozen doctors who were in touch with Michael Jackson or treating him during what authorities see as a critical time frame in this case.
My source with knowledge of the investigation told me weeks ago that Dr. Klein is on the list of doctors investigators are focusing on. They're trying to determine what drugs Jackson was taking, who prescribed them, and under what name, of course. We know that Michael Jackson was getting drugs under 19 different aliases, including the name of his own son and his personal chef.
COOPER: Well, Klein himself doesn't believe he's under investigation?
KAYE: No. He really... (CROSSTALK)
COOPER: ... last month, he said this.
KAYE: Right. He really thinks that he's in the clear here. He doesn't believe that he's on the list of doctors being scrutinized, and that the most dangerous drug he ever gave Michael Jackson, he says, was Demerol.
Still, coroner's chief investigator has told me that he had visited at least two other medical offices in the Beverly Hills area not too far from Dr. Klein's office, seeking records related to the Jackson case. It's unclear, though, at this point, still, if Dr. Klein was ever affiliated with these clinics, if he ever did surgery there. His lawyer told me, Anderson, that he just doesn't know.
COOPER: And when was the last time that Dr. -- time that Dr.Klein saw Michael Jackson? Do we know that?
KAYE: I did ask that today, because, really, all this time, we have been -- we have been told that it was just a few days before Michael Jackson's death, he was at Dr. Klein's office -- three days, in fact, before his death -- and that he was talking to other patients.
Dr. Klein told CNN the pop star even danced for patients in his office that day. But, today, when I spoke to his lawyer by phone, I asked him, was that definitely the last time the two saw each other? Because we know Jackson had seen him numerous times in the weeks prior to his death. And Dr. Klein's lawyer told me he wasn't sure when the last time his client saw Michael Jackson was. I asked him if he had seen him possibly within 24 hours of his death.
And he told me, flat out, Anderson, he just doesn't know.
All right, Randi, appreciate it. Thanks for the latest.
Still ahead: We all know smoking isn't healthy, but should it stop someone from getting a job? What about obesity? Smokers can't get jobs at one of the country's top hospitals. And President Obama, apparently, is all for it. The CEO of the Cleveland Clinic is going to join us coming up to explain that.
First, Erica Hill has a 360 bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the terrorist convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 will soon be a free man. Senior State Department officials tell CNN a Scottish court will release Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds, despite objections from the U.S. Al-Megrahi, who has terminal prostate cancer, is serving a life sentence for the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Two hundred and seventy people were killed, many of them Americans. Hurricane Bill, the first of the 2009 Atlantic season, is now a dangerous Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 135 miles per hour. Forecasters say it should begin pushing large swells toward Bermuda and part of the southeastern U.S. coast by the weekend. It's not clear just how close that storm will come to land.
Levi Johnston's mother today pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to deliver the painkiller oxycodone. Sherry Johnston's lawyer expects her to serve three years in prison, although she won't be formally sentenced until November. Levi Johnston, of course, fathered a son with Sarah Palin's oldest daughter.
And Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett speaking publicly for the first time today since he was beaten Saturday night. Barrett was leaving the Wisconsin State Fair with his family that evening, when he heard a woman holding a baby yelling for someone to call 911.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BARRETT, MAYOR OF MILWAUKEE: And our immediate thought was that there was something wrong with the baby. And, so -- so, I quickly pulled out my phone, as I think Molly did, and we started calling 911.
Within seconds, we realized that the problem was not with the baby; it was with the -- the man. And he came up, and was very, very agitated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Police arrested that man the next day. They say the 20- year-old attacked the woman, and then hit Mayor Barrett with a metal pipe.
Barrett suffered a fractured right hand, several cuts on his face and head as well, Anderson. And a lot of people have asked about security. The mayor didn't have any security with him because he was there in a private capacity. He had just decided, sort of spur of the moment, to go with his family to listen to some music and spend some time together.
COOPER: Man, unbelievable. Amazing.
Still ahead: Should someone be denied a job just because they're obese? It's already happening to smokers at one of America's top hospitals. Could the trend spread? We will dig deeper on that.
Also ahead, the real CSI -- crime labs vital to convicting criminals, we all know that, but may they also be responsible for putting innocent people in prison?
360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta goes inside to get some answers -- coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: There's no getting around it: too many Americans are obese. According to the CDC, there's been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States over the past 20 years.
And as the fight over health care heats up, there's one thing both sides seem to agree on. It costs less to take care of healthy people. So should employers have the right to turn away the unhealthy?
The renowned Cleveland Clinic is doing just that. Two years ago it stopped hiring smokers as part of a wellness initiative, a plan that's getting high praise from President Obama. And the president and CEO, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, told "The New York Times" if it were up to him, if there weren't legal issues, he would not only stop hiring smokers, he'd also stop hiring obese people. I asked him about that earlier tonight.
COOPER: I read something that you recently said, you already stopped hiring smokers and you said in an article that, if you could legally do it, you wouldn't hire obese people. Is that -- is that accurate and is that fair?
TONY COSGROVE, CEO, CLEVELAND CLINIC: Well, I think that's -- I did say that but it was taken out of an hour conversation and the parts that got left out of that, the conversation, were that we're very concerned about people, overweight. We're not against people who are obese. We're against obesity.
COOPER: There's a stigma about smoking. Do you think there needs to be a similar stigma about being obese?
COSGROVE: I think we try to help people. We think it's a disease, and we think that disease brings on more diseases. And I think that we need to try to help people get past this -- their problems.
COOPER: Employees who smoke or employees who are obese, should they pay more for insurance?
COSGROVE: Well, I think what we're going to do is do it the other way. We're going to incent people to have good health. And right now we're doing exactly that. And people who lose weight will get an additional positive incentive, financial.
COOPER: As you look at the health-care debate as it's happening now, what is missing in this debate? I mean, there's a lot of heat. Not necessarily a lot of light.
COSGROVE: Yes, I'm really concerned about the debate. I think there really is -- we started out talking about costs and access and quality. And now really we've gotten down to access. And clearly, all of us agree that we need to have access to health care. I've never heard anybody who would debate that. But the concern is that we're seeing an increasingly expensive health-care program across the United States, for several reasons. First, more people, more elderly people who require pore health care and more things we can do for them.
Right now, 40 percent of the premature deaths in the United States are secondary to inactivity, obesity and smoking. That's the No. 1 preventable cause of premature death. And that leads to a lot of chronic diseases.
COOPER: What you're able to do, though, is not something that a lot of employers are able to do. I mean, not all employers can give free Weight Watcher meetings or Curve meetings to employees. For them, it's a huge burden.
COSGROVE: And there's no question about it. But the things that they can do are really simple. They can serve good food, which really doesn't cost any more. Almost all buildings where people work have stairs, and people can be encouraged to take the stairs, to walk. There are a lot of things that you can do that really cost very little.
COOPER: President Obama visited Cleveland, your office, last month. He really used it as a platform for his health-care reform plans. Did you ask him about his own smoking?
COSGROVE: No, that subject didn't come up. We talked about the things that we thought that we could do to reduce the costs. No longer are we in the situation where we can expect all hospitals to be all things to all people. Care's just gotten too sophisticated.
COOPER: Doctor Cosgrove, we appreciate your time. Thank you.
COSGROVE: Thank you.
COOPER: A lot more online. go to our Web site, AC360.com, to read more about dr. Cosgrove's take on health-care reform.
Let us know what you think. Do companies have the right to refuse to hire smokers and perhaps, one day, the overweight? Join the live chat happening now at AC360.com.
Still ahead, crime scene fraud. 360 M.D. Dr. Gupta goes inside a crime lab to put cutting-edge technology that we see on shows like "CSI" to the test.
Also, he had one simple rule at "60 Minutes" for making great television. Tell me a story. We remember CBS's Don Hewitt. We tell you his remarkable story, just ahead.
COOPER: In our crime scene fraud series tonight, we're putting high-tech forensics, the time you see all the time on "CSI," to the test. More juries are relying on things like bite marks, fiber analysis, ballistics test to determine when somebody guilty or innocent. It's science, but it's not as foolproof as you might think.
We've heard, of course, by now endless stories of innocent people being convicted. To find out if cutting edge techniques really lead to the truth, we sent 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta inside a crime lab. Here's his report.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here is where forensic investigation begins. Investigators cobble together a theory based on evidence: a swath of hair torn out during an assault, blood spatters, fingerprints, gun residue. If this were "CSI," that's a motherlode of forensic evidence, the case as good as solved.
But is it really that foolproof?
(on camera) I really wanted to see to myself, so we got this special access here to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Pretty nondescript building. But inside, some of the most powerful tools to investigate crime scenes.
High-powered microscopes looking at hair and fiber. There's also DNA technology. And amidst all this we're trying to answer a question that's been plaguing forensics for some time: is all of this rooted in any science? Let's take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the trace evidence section of the GBI crime lab, and this is the section that examines hairs and fibers, paint chips, gunshot residue, glass -- glass chips that are found at crime scenes.
GUPTA (voice-over): This hair was found at a crime scene. It's compared to hair on the right taken from the victim. They seem to match. The techs next show us fiber analysis. In this case they compare a fiber from a different crime scene to one that comes from a suspect's sweatshirt.
(on camera) Can you say that it's the same fiber?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can say it came -- either came from the same source or it came from another source, possessing fibers of the same characteristics.
GUPTA: I imagine people want to know, look, did that fiber come from the same sweatshirt that fiber came from? And again...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can never give that exact answer.
GUPTA: People want that answer, though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want it, but that's not -- that's beyond the limit of this particular science.
GUPTA (voice-over): But what about ballistics? On TV it sounds infallible.
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(on camera) So we're in the shooting room now with George. He has a weapon, as you can see there. This is a tank. It's filled with water. This is how they test the bullets to try and find out if there's potentially a match.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I magnify these items and get them to a certain magnification. I look for the similarity or dissimilarity of the remarks.
GUPTA: Can you say with 100 percent confidence say this bullet came from this barrel?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can tell you based on my experience, training and background, that a certain bullet was fired by a specific gun, yes.
GUPTA (voice-over): But remember, this is the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, its lab, among the best in the country. But outside of labs like this, that kind of certainty about forensic science is rare.
(on camera) In fact, the National Academy of Science released a scathing report saying reform was needed, new research was needed.
So what is indisputable? What is irrefutable? Some say it's DNA.
DNA is the gold standard, is that fair to say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's certainly -- it's a very specific and accurate test, you know.
GUPTA: Everybody wants it. That's all you hear about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is -- it is the one that everybody wants in homicides, sexual assaults. That's the test that everybody wants.
GUPTA: Is it possible for you to say at the end of this process, "We have irrefutable DNA evidence"?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In most -- in a lot of cases, yes. I mean, there -- there are certain cases in DNA, just like in any other science, where, you know, the answer is inconclusive.
GUPTA: (voice-over) Such as, where the sample is old, tainted or too small. But in most cases Doctor Harren (ph) insists conclusive forensic testing is possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answers that we give, they could be used in a court of law to have a jury convict someone, who could go to jail for their life or be put to death.
GUPTA (on camera): That's a lot of responsibility.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A huge amount of responsibility.
GUPTA: On what is a science but maybe an imperfect science.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't call it an imperfect science. I would call it a science that has limitations.
GUPTA (voice-over): Limitations, in a field some believe should have none.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
COOPER: Tomorrow our series on crime scene fraud continues with a medical examiner under fire. Tyler Edmonds was 14 when he was accused of killing a man. The testimony of the expert who conducted an autopsy of the victim helped lead to a conviction. But was the expert willing to bend the facts to please the prosecutors? The incredible story and surprising outcome tomorrow night.
Ahead on the program tonight, though, more on our breaking news. Polls open in war-torn Afghanistan. Ballots and bullets. We are live on the ground. You're looking at a polling station right there.
And next, a model murdered and her millionaire ex missing. Who killed the swimsuit beauty and why do police to want to talk to her former husband, who's a former reality show contestant? We'll have the latest on that.
Also tonight, joking before a midair collision. The phone call that had the air traffic controller laughing just moments before a helicopter crashed into a plane over the Hudson River. We can tell you what he said, coming up.
COOPER: In California tonight a reality show contestant is now wanted for questioning in the murder of a swimsuit model. This is a picture of the victim, Jasmine Fiore. Her body was found in a suitcase over the weekend. Police want to talk to her ex-husband, who once appeared on a reality TV show. But first they have to find him. And he's not a suspect, not even being named a person of interest at this point. They just want to talk to him, they say.
Once again, here's Erica hill with the latest in the case in tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Early Saturday morning in Buena Park, California, a man looking through a trash bin for recyclables finds a small, unzipped suitcase.
FRANK DISTEFANO, DISCOVERED VICTIM'S BODY: It was partially opened. I lifted it up one time and saw skin, but I wasn't sure so I lifted it up again. Then when I saw the birth mark -- or the marks on the body and everything, I verified that it was a body. I immediately called 911.
HILL: The body was Jasmine Fiore.
LT. GARY WORRALL, BUENA PARK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Our preliminary results and findings from the Orange County coroner were that she was strangled.
HILL: Police are now looking for this man, Ryan Jenkins, who was reportedly briefly married to Fiore. He and Fiore were last seen on Friday night at a poker game in San Diego, about 100 miles south of where her body was discovered Saturday morning.
On Saturday night, Jenkins filed a missing persons report for Fiore. He hasn't been heard from since.
WORRALL: Our fear is that he might possibly be en route to Canada. He was the last person seen with her.
HILL: Jenkins, most recently a contestant on the VH1 reality show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," is described on the show as an investment banker from Calgary. Police believe he is driving either a black BMX X5 SUV like this one with an Alberta license plate, number HLY-275, or he may be in Jasmine Fiore's white Mercedes. Neighbors described Fiore as outgoing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was cool. She was well-intentioned. And didn't -- her roommate, her roommate is very friendly. She was friendly to everybody else. And it was just, you know, a shocker.
HILL: A former boss at the modeling agency where she worked in Las Vegas said Fiore seemed to have her head on straight.
KEN HENDERSON, OWNER, BEST AGENCY: She seemed very responsible. She seemed very driven, focused on, you know, just wanting to do -- get into the business but not -- you know, wasn't enamored by it.
HILL: Henderson says the last time he saw her, she looked really happy. And mentioned, she had this great guy. The question tonight, whether that great guy may know something about how Jasmine Fiore died.
Erica Hill, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, votes and violence in Afghanistan. The polls now open. It's election day there. We'll take you there live. CNN's Ivan Watson joins us from just outside Kabul, next.
And later, the "60 Minutes" master, Don Hewitt, died today. Tonight, we remember his life and his legacy and the extraordinary way he changed television.
COOPER: Breaking news from Afghanistan. Polls now open. It's a live picture in the city of Kabul. Seventeen million people are registered to vote in today's presidential election. Ivan Watson is watching at a poll, joins us now from Bamiyan, northwest of Kabul, just outside a polling station.
Ivan, what's the scene there?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
These gates just opened about 20 minute ago. It's 7:20 in the morning here. And you can see -- you can see voters being patted down. They show their registration cards, and then they come right over here to these tents where the ballot boxes are assembled.
They'll be voting in here for -- there are some 41 presidential candidates. Some have dropped out at the last minute. There are also provincial council members, hundreds of provincial council members running for election at the 34 provinces around the country. This is a $223 million election. And of course, large parts of the country are facing this bloody Taliban insurgency, Anderson.
This is a safer part of the country. We can see the people lining up. Some of these people already were waiting an hour for the gates to open so that they could cast their ballot -- Anderson.
COOPER: Even there, security tight. Ivan, thanks very much.
More news back home. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the man responsible for almost everything we do in the news has died. CBS's Don Hewitt is perhaps best known as creator of "60 Minutes," but that is really only the beginning. He also devised the first half-hour nightly newscast. He pioneered live shots, came up with what we call supers, that information you see in the lower third of your TV, and produced the Kennedy/Nixon debate.
He died of pancreatic cancer. Hewitt was 86.
New details in the Hudson River midair crash. The Associated Press reporting phone records reveal the air traffic controller making an improper phone call at the time, just actually joking about barbecuing a dead cat, just moments before a small plane hit a helicopter, killing nine people. Seconds before impact, the controller reportedly cursed and hung up.
The number of woman arrested for DUI up nearly 30 percent in the past decade. And while men who drive drunk do outnumber women by about 4 to 1, the Transportation Department says male DUI arrests actually fell 7.5 percent during that same period.
In Manhattan "Vogue" cover model Liskula Cohen winning a court ruling against a blogger she says defamed her. The court ordered Google to identify the name of the blogger who posted photos of Cohen and awarded her the, quote, "First Place Award for Skankiest in New York City."
Now, armed with the blogger's identity, Cohen's attorney plans to sue for defamation, Anderson.
COOPER: Just on the Don Hewitt passing, it's so sad. As an employee also of "60 Minutes," it's -- it's remarkable to think the kind of career he had. We should all be so lucky to have such a remarkable career. This guy basically, as you said, is responsible for just about all the things that we take for granted now in television news.
HILL: He did everything. You know, it's wonderful. The nice part, though, has been all of the stories that you're hearing today and that you'll continue to hear as people remember what a wonderful person he was.
And not just what he contributed to TV news but also what he contributed to so many people he work directly with for so long.
COOPER: And he was still walking the halls of "60 Minutes" up to a short time ago. I used to see him in my office over there. So he certainly will be missed but certainly will be remembered for a very long time.
And at the top of the hour, seeking new information from another one of Michael Jackson's doctors. And investigator visiting the office of Dr. Arnie Klein today. He was the singer's dermatologist. New details on that development.
Also coming up, something light before you go to bed, "The Shot," a snapshot of a squirrel, how it has spawned a cottage industry for this little guy. We'll explain, ahead.
COOPER: All right. Time for "The Shot," Erica. It is about the squirrel crasher. And he's become an Internet sensation after popping up at the moment a couple snapped this vacation photo, which we're showing courtesy of "National Geographic."
Since then -- so I guess that's a real squirrel, right?
HILL: It is. They were -- they had set the camera on self- timer, and literally the squirrel just popped up in one of the shots.
COOPER: Since then others have taken the squirrel crasher to other places. There's the critter next to Nick Nolte's infamous wild- haired mug shot.
HILL: One of the best mug shots ever.
COOPER: Then half a world away the squirrel's chilling there with Vladimir Putin. Putin seems to be groping the squirrel, which is sort of a term the kids are using these days, groping the squirrel.
He's also in a time machine when Nixon calls it quits. Even before he started crashing the place, some other squirrels were already a web hit. Check out this dance mix. I haven't seen this. It's good stuff.
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HILL: I love that squirrel.
COOPER: That's good.
HILLS: It's a good thing those squirrels aren't really in the park. My poor dog would go crazy.
COOPER: Oh, no, it's a raccoon.
HILLS: It's a crazy one. We have our own "Dramatic Animal Video." Is he not there? Oh, he's up there. Maybe we don't have it. There he is. There's our guy.
COOPER: I think it's the same one. You can see all the most recent squirrels at AC360.com. Check it out there.
Coming up at the top of the hour, more on the breaking news, election day live in Afghanistan, how many people will actually vote, with the war raging around them.
COOPER: Tonight, ballots and bombs in Afghanistan. We're live on the scene.
But first, though, late new details in the Michael Jackson case. Another Jackson doctor gets another visit by authorities. Randi Kay has a preview -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just when you thought this whole investigation was over, another twist and turn. Tonight we have the details of yet another visit by the L.A. County coroner's chief investigator to the office of Dr. Arnold Klein, who was Jackson's long-time dermatologist.