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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Libya and Bahrain Crack Down; Wisconsin Budget Battle
Aired February 18, 2011 - 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: Good evening.
Late new developments in the Wisconsin standoff, thousands of state workers occupying the capitol. They are not backing down. They say the governor is destroying their livelihood. He says the state is going broke and he's not budging either. Tomorrow, the Tea Party comes to town. We are live in Madison coming up.
But we begin with breaking news, new video from Bahrain, shocking video of peaceful protesters being shot point blank. The video you're about to see is disturbing. There's no doubt about it. But we think it's important, because it directly contradicts what officials from Bahrain claim is happening in that country.
The government of Bahrain, the government there says they're using proportional force against protesters. But the violence that we are about to show you is not by any definition proportional.
The government of Bahrain talks about law and order and keeping security. What you're about to see is the opposite of law and order. It is exactly what repressive regimes do when they think cameras are not rolling. Only, this time, the cameras were rolling.
You will see in a second protesters marching down a boulevard, totally out in the open, hands in the air, chanting "Peacefully, peacefully." That's when the shooting by government forces starts. Watch -- video from two cell phone cameras we have edited together to show you.
You saw they had no weapons, no place to take cover and no warning, ordinary people, peaceful people paying an awful price for it, the aftermath of it also caught on cell phone cameras. And I want to warn you, this video is also disturbing. With troops still firing, a man scrambles to get his badly wounded friend to the hospital.
Just moments after this video, CNN's Arwa Damon arrived on the scene and asked the man you see in that video what just happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Covered in blood, Mohammed says: "I told everyone to put their hands up as a sign of peace. Then I saw the military crouch down like this."
A man standing next to him was shot in the head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is what happened in Bahrain today.
Arwa Damon joins us now live from Bahrain.
Was there any warning that you know about given to these people? They were advancing with their hands up, saying "Peacefully, peacefully" over and over again.
DAMON: No, Anderson, there wasn't, not based on any account that we heard when we were down there, getting on the scene, as you mentioned, a few minutes after this took place, people in complete shock, trying to express themselves, but angry, petrified, but still determined that they were going to continue to move forward, despite the fact that the Bahraini military was literally mowing them down, it would seem, in cold blood.
They tried to push forward another time. They stopped. They were praying in front of the military and the police, moving forward. And then we actually had the police opening fire and the military, not just with bullets, but also in this case, in the final case, with tear gas.
And that is when everybody eventually was forced to flee the scene. But this use of force that you saw exhibited in such cold blood is truly, Anderson, astounding.
COOPER: It sounds like there was also a second round of shooting. What did you do when you heard the gunfire? I mean, we saw you were standing there. You had just been interviewing the man who's soaked in blood who had carried, I suppose, his friend or somebody he was protesting with. What did you do after the shooting began?
DAMON: Well, we ran back with everybody, and we saw the ambulances actually moving forward at that point in time, placing themselves in between the military and the people.
And then we saw the demonstrators begin to push forward once again, and then there was a second round by the police, military. They were firing tear gas, that taking place right after we were actually talking to another man who was just saying to us, yes, I am willing to die for this, for freedom in my country, when that barrage broke out.
It was so chaotic. People were running, screaming, shouting. Bodies were being thrown into the back of ambulances, and everybody repeating, they're for -- the use of force that they were coming under by their own troops, their own army...
DAMON: It really seems, Anderson, as if the government has given orders to the military and to the police to, no matter what, not let these protesters take the streets.
COOPER: Were they shooting as far as you know directly at the protesters or will the government say, well, we were firing in the air and just some people were accidentally hit? I mean, that man is saying he saw them firing directly at protesters.
DAMON: Yes, Anderson, it will actually be interesting to see what the government says. Based on the eyewitness accounts there that we heard, the soldiers actually got down on one knee, fired into the crowd.
When we were there in the moments that it was happening, we could not be sure if they were in fact doing that. However, when we came back to review the footage afterwards, we realized that in some of the clips where the camera was pointing back towards the military, you could actually see the flash coming out of the barrels of the guns, and it did seem as if they were firing directly down the center of the crowd.
COOPER: Do we know, was it bullets, rubber-coated bullets, buckshot? Do we know?
DAMON: Not 100 percent.
Based on what doctors were saying in the hospital, it does seem as if it was those pellet bullets, but also live ammunition. There was at least one person who had taken a bullet to the skull. And based on what we heard, it sounded like it was live ammunition. And you saw in that video that you showed at the beginning of the show how people just fell to the ground, mowed down.
And it does seem as if they were using live ammunition, which would be in clear contradiction to anything the government has been saying about trying to use minimal force, if they are opening up with live fire on a group of demonstrators, their hands in the air that are shouting, "Peaceful."
COOPER: And for the government, what we have heard them say now for days on television, on CNN, is: We are responding proportionally.
That video is not a proportionate response.
Arwa, appreciate it. Stay safe.
President Obama spoke by phone today with the king of Bahrain, reiterating his condemnation of violence against peaceful protesters. The White House did not reveal how the king himself reacted, but events today suggest the Bahrainians don't seem to be listening to outside advice.
In fact, they seem to be flouting it. Listen to what Bahrain's special enjoy to the U.S. told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux today. And, yes, you're going to hear him use the fact that some stores were losing money to justify opening fire on unarmed human beings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDUL LATIF BIN RASHID AL ZAYANI, BAHRAINI SPECIAL ENVOY TO UNITED STATES: The force that was use were proportional, according to the law. They were legal. They were necessary, because they were stopping the shops. The economy, it was hurting our national economy. We had to take action, and action was taken by the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Action was taken. And you just saw what they did.
On the other side of the Arab world, in Libya, people are confronting the brutal Gadhafi dictatorship head on. This is the city of Tobruk. They're ripping down a statue of Gadhafi's Green Book, the Green Book for Democracy, it reads, scenes like this happening all across Libya, marchers burning ruling party headquarters, destroying images of Gadhafi, but mostly walking in funeral processions, marching today to bury their dead and coming under gunfire as they did, reports of 20 killed today alone.
All the while, Libyan state television, well, this is what they keep pumping out, images of the beloved leader surrounded by adoring crowds. This in Tripoli. But for the first time in his four-decade rule, ordinary Libyans are standing up and speaking out.
Earlier tonight, just a few hours ago, I talked to a man in the city Benghazi. It's Libya's second largest city. He says there's about 50,000 people who have been protesting in that city today. I asked him, was he afraid to be calling? Did he fear for his life?
Because, no matter what he says -- and he knows this -- he's risking his life to talk to us tonight to tell all of you the reality of what is happening there.
And what he said to me was that, in Gadhafi's Libya, you fear for your life every single day. He also said, though, enough is enough.
COOPER: Moftah, you live in Benghazi. There have been several days of demonstrations there. What have you seen today?
MOFTAH, LIBYAN PROTESTER: Today, there was demonstrations, especially after last night, massacre of many people. So, today is the day of rage that -- well, this is the day everybody agreed to start the demonstrations, even though we started a couple days earlier.
COOPER: We have heard estimates up to 50,000 people taking part.
MOFTAH: More than that, believe me. I don't know the number, but I tell you something. We had in the streets about three kilometers long and 30 meters wide was back, truly backed.
I don't know the -- I guess you have people who can calculate the numbers. It's three kilometers, 30 meters wide. And it's fully backed, fully backed by demonstrators, carrying the coffins of the people who are died. Until we reach a place for the Revolutionary Guard, and that's when they start shooting heavily at us with live ammunitions. Later on, I found out that four people died and many other people were wounded, critically wounded.
COOPER: Are you afraid?
MOFTAH: When you are faced -- when you are unarmed and faced by ammunition, nobody -- nobody is not going to tell you I'm not afraid. But we are determined. We are determined to change this regime, this brutal regime for 40 years.
They have no morals, no decency, no sense of decency. And they are willing to take whatever measures to keep them in power. They will kill people. They don't care. They brought thugs now on the street. They are roaming the streets right now a few minutes ago, thugs from other countries. They are not Libyan. Definitely, they are not Libyan.
They mimic the same actions the Mubarak regime took. They let people out of prison, criminals. Anyway, this is the regime for 42 years. And he says this is the rule of the people. It's the rule of Moammar Gadhafi. It's the rule of Moammar Gadhafi and only Moammar Gadhafi and his thugs and cronies.
COOPER: There have been attempts by the regime to shut phone services, shut Internet. Obviously, there are secret police all over the place, as you say, thugs on the streets. You asked us to use your first name.
We -- we offered not to. You said you wanted your first name used. Why?
MOFTAH: This man always play on fear. He makes you afraid of your family, of your friends. He will tell you that his secret police are everywhere.
It's time to break this fear barrier. We have reached a point that we don't care anymore. We want this regime to go away. He should go to (INAUDIBLE) join Mubarak and join Ben Ali in Tunisia. The Tunisian people showed us the way how to do it. And we will do it. We are determined. I know it's not going to be easy, because this man is insane.
COOPER: We have heard reports in Benghazi of police or military handing over their guns to protesters and walking away, soldiers saying they're on the side of the people and mostly pulling out of the city. Have you seen or heard anything like that?
MOFTAH: There were soldiers. They didn't interfere with us.
And at the (INAUDIBLE) in the front of the courthouse came three armored cars, tanks. And after a few minutes of discussion with them, they said, we are with you.
There is nobody to document what's going on. He wouldn't allow the media to come to Benghazi. He wouldn't allow the media to come to the (INAUDIBLE) of Libya.
I saw what happened to you in Egypt. If you come to this country, if you come to this country, they will kill you.
COOPER: Do you fear for your life talking on the phone right now? You're taking a great risk.
MOFTAH: With this regime, you fear for your life all the time, not just talking on the phone. You fear for your life when you're walking on the street, when you're talking to your friends.
You notice when in Libya, when you come to Libya, when you are talking to somebody, they are always looking off over their shoulder, seeing who's coming, and who is -- maybe somebody is listening. He made us live in a fear environment for 42 years. Enough is enough. Enough. He has to leave.
COOPER: What do you want the world to know about what you and other protesters want?
MOFTAH: Well, we want -- we want democracy. We want freedom. We want to live free. I want to go on the street feeling that nobody is looking after me -- you know, not looking off over my shoulder.
I need to enjoy the wealth of my country. I am -- I have a master's degree and I have been working for 40 years. With the salary they're giving me, if I take the money they have given me, without spending a penny, I cannot buy a piece of land, a couple of hundred meters piece of land.
COOPER: On state television in Libya, they're showing pictures of pro-Gadhafi levels I think in Tripoli. Is that -- when you see those pictures, what do you think?
MOFTAH: Well, you know, two things. If you look at the pictures, when they (INAUDIBLE) the demonstration, they are taking the children, schoolchildren, and they bringing them out as supporters of Gadhafi.
Look at them. They're ages 7, 8, 9. Look at most of the pictures. All you find are military man. You find the regime men, the security men. That's -- Gadhafi has no support in Libya. And I'm not -- I don't know the words. I'm not just saying that.
This is the reality of it, 40 years, him and his children, you know, controlling this country, squandering the wealth of this country, treating the people as the words, I wouldn't say it, you know, but -- because this man is insane, and he has to go.
COOPER: I want to cut this phone call, because I don't want you to be on the phone too long.
Moftah, I appreciate you talking. The world will hear your voice tonight. And... MOFTAH: Mr. Cooper, Mr. Cooper...
MOFTAH: ... I appreciate the opportunity. The world has to know what's going on in Libya. There's massacres now happening in Libya. There's massacres. This man would not let go unless somebody force him. We want the world to know and we want the world to stand with us.
COOPER: The world will hear your voice tonight. We will continue to check in with you. Please stay safe.
MOFTAH: Thank you.
COOPER: You know, we have started to get some e-mails from viewers saying, there's other things happening in America and happening elsewhere, and you should kind of move on.
Just talking to that man, that man risked his life tonight to make that phone call, to let all of us know what's happening in Libya. So, we are going to continue to follow these developments and continue to cover this, because the world should know what's happening.
A dictator cannot be allowed to shun the foreign press and to shut off his country and kill his people, and not have anybody know their names and know the struggles they are -- are undergoing.
So, I just wanted to say that.
The live chat is up and running at AC360.com. We're going to talk with our correspondents in Bahrain and Egypt. We will also talk with Mideast scholar Fouad Ajami about the history unfolding, as well as the horror as this uprising continues.
And, later, Casey Wian is in Madison, Wisconsin, where teachers and other public employees continue their standoff with the governor over his budget plan -- Casey.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, here in Madison, teachers and other state workers again surrounded the state capitol today, closing schools and forcing Democratic lawmakers into a showdown with a Republican state governor over union power and a growing budget deficit -- we will have details coming up.
COOPER: We continue to follow the breaking news at this hour, just extraordinary violence in Bahrain, evidence, video evidence of peaceful protesters just being gunned down in the streets by Bahrainian -- by the military and possibly police as well.
Every day for nearly a month now, we have been almost unable to predict what happens next. Today, Libya, as tightly run as they come, is coming apart at the seams, at least in the second largest city in the east, which has always been a little bit more restive.
In what used to be seen as moderate Bahrain, the government launches a brutal, deadly crackdown, seemingly thumbing its nose as American calls for restraint.
Helping us to make sense of it all is Professor Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and the Hoover Institution, also Nic Robertson in Bahrain. In Cairo, Ben Wedeman joins us.
Professor, you saw the video in Bahrain. It goes exactly against what the envoy from Bahrain keeps claiming, that these are proportional responses.
FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, look, I think we witnessed two revolutions, one in Tunisia and one in Egypt. And these are very different revolutions.
They are in places which have a national identity, where both the protesters and the people in the armed forces belong to the same nation. They partake of the same national ethos. They may be -- they may be engaged in a fight.
Now, when you look at Bahrain, this is a very different land. The Khalifas who run Bahrain, they came from the mainland. They conquered Bahrain. They still have this idea that they're a conquering race, and they rule a group of Shia. So, this alienation between ruler and ruled runs right through the heart.
COOPER: And the royal family is Sunni. The population is Shia. And many of the soldiers and the police come from other countries.
AJAMI: Well, there's a great controversy about this. I believe, and I think there's ample evidence that the forces of order, of security in Bahrain are for the main part Pakistanis and Jordanians and even Sudanese and other mercenaries. They're imported to Bahrain to do the work of repression.
So the bonds between the protesters and the security of all the forces of security which we saw both in Tunisia and Egypt do not exist in Bahrain.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, you are there. You have seen these security forces up close. What are they like? How do they compare to what we saw in Egypt, for instance?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, in the hours before the big clashes with the police in Egypt on the 28th of January, we looked at the police outside the mosque where they were gathered. They were young boys. They had riot gear on, riot helmets. They didn't look trained. They didn't look confident. They were quickly beaten off the streets. When you look at the police here, you get a feeling of intimidation. They're big. They're wearing really top-line riot equipment. They're all -- there's a lot of them that we keep seeing all carrying weapons of some sort or another, be it shotguns, rifles or as we see a lot of tear gas, and not only they're there. They're there in very big numbers, in very new vehicles.
We saw the other night hundreds of GMC type, suburban type vehicles, large, new, black, all flashing lights, many police coming out of them, well equipped and well organized. It's a completely different force than that than we saw in Egypt. This is, you might say, in some ways, a mercenary type force, Anderson.
COOPER: And, Nic, the face they show in Washington is very polished, very nice in suits. How difficult are they making life on the ground for reporters trying to document what is happening there?
ROBERTSON: Well, we -- as we approached that area were the people were gunned down today, there's two tall buildings. We were there pretty much at the same time as Arwa, just a few meters away, but in all the chaos we didn't even know that until we both ran away and were trying to gather our breath from the tear gassing on a street corner.
There were other journalists there who were telling us there was a sniper on the roof of one of the buildings there. This is in contrary to what the government said. And it's not just the envoy to the United States. We have it here from the foreign minister as well saying that they had to do this; the country is facing a sectarian abyss, and they had crack down and it was for the sake of the economy.
But, at the same time, the crown prince here has been given authority by the king to negotiate with all sides. But the protesters are saying, how can we trust this? You're saying negotiate and talk, and it's time for reflection, time for calm and time for everyone to gather themselves when all this is going on.
Yet all of this continues to go on. They say the government is speaking with two voices, one a voice and the other guns -- Anderson.
COOPER: I want to go to Ben Wedeman in just a second to talk about Cairo and also Libya, but, Professor Ajami, will the -- can the government there, can the regime there hold on? Will their crackdown work?
AJAMI: Well, I think, look, there's this causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. This is the lifeline of Bahrain. Bahrain is very important to the House of Saud. Bahrain is that flash point between Iran on the one side with its influence in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia on the other.
This regime will have the support of Saudi Arabia and of the Sunni dynasties in the Gulf, because this regime is really very important to them. This is the test case, whether the autocracies can hold or the people could win. One interesting little thing. When we -- the Americans, we are implicated in Bahrain. We have this base for the Fifth Fleet. And when you read the WikiLeaks documents, the famous one, I just pulled a couple of things.
Here is this repressive king, and here -- the way he's described in these WikiLeaks documents by American diplomats: "personable and engaging, personable and engaging."
Now, the man who runs the national security in Bahrain is "frank and likable." Well, they are likable to the American diplomats. They're not likable to these people being bloodied in the streets. So we are there in Bahrain and what happens in Bahrain is very important for America's honor, America's reputation, and for the way our strategy in the Gulf is built and secured.
COOPER: And, frankly, those are the same words we heard to describe Vice President Suleiman, who, before he was vice president, when you said he was a man of the catacombs, when he was head of these intelligence units, he was the guy Washington would deal with because he was a guy you could have dinner with and he wore polished suits.
AJAMI: You have covered power, and you have covered abuse of power in many places. It's not very difficult for the king of Bahrain to charm American diplomats and American generals.
The question is the relations between the Khalifa family with this conquest ethos that they brought with them two centuries ago. You think they would make their home in Bahrain. They still aren't. They still view themselves as a conquering dynasty and a conquering community.
COOPER: Let's move on to Libya.
Ben Wedeman joining us from Cairo tonight.
Ben, amazing pictures from Tahrir Square today filled with protesters, people celebrating one week since the revolution, also wanting to send a message, though, to the military to uphold their demands in Egypt, correct?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's correct.
What we heard was people are celebrating. There really is this feeling of joy that it's as if today they had just heard the news that President Mubarak had been ousted, a real celebration, but a growing feeling that the military isn't quite in step with the spirit of the times, with the spirit of Tahrir Square.
One man I spoke with, Anderson, saying it's time for Mohamed Tantawi, the defense chief, the head of the Higher Military Council, to leave and bring in somebody younger, who is more willing to listen to the voice of the people. I think, as yet, there's not that sort of confrontation between the protest movement and the military, but the feeling is that it might be coming -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, let's talk about Libya, because I know you have been checking with sources in Libya.
We just had a phone conversation with a man who, again, I can't emphasize this enough, risking his life to make a phone call to tell the outside world what is happening. I don't know that I would have the courage to do that, given his circumstances.
What are you hearing about what's going on in Libya, Ben?
WEDEMAN: Well, what we're hearing is that basically the Eastern part of the country, Benghazi, Bayda, and other cities in the east, are in open revolt against Moammar Gadhafi, that, in many cities, the people have taken over. The military, the police are essentially staying in their bases, ion their installations out of fear of the local populace.
But people in Benghazi were telling me that their fear is that Gadhafi is going to muster his sort of foreign fighters, all the people that he's been financing for years in places like Sierra Leone, Libya -- I mean, Liberia, Chad, and others, who are training in Libya, who are going to be unleashed on the local populace, because, like Egypt, there's a feeling that the Libyans, the Libyan army, the Libyan police, simply might not do the dirty job, the dirty work of defending the regime -- Anderson.
COOPER: Now, Professor Fouad, you called Libya a penal colony last night on this program. Someone who runs a penal colony doesn't care about killing all the prisoners.
AJAMI: Well, he doesn't care. This guy is a warden, and he's also such a decadent and corrupt man. You know, again, these WikiLeaks documents, he never travels anywhere, it's said, without his chief Ukrainian, quote unquote, "nurse." He has four Ukrainian voluptuous blonds, as the WikiLeak document says. This is a man who's a sick man, who's used the wealth of this poor, tormented nation.
My family lived in Libya for some years. I didn't myself. But you know, what he has done to this poor population...
COOPER: And poor population in an extraordinarily wealthy country.
AJAMI: Absolutely. But the wealth belongs to him and belongs to his retainers and to his cronies and to his children. And it is devoted to these adventures abroad that Gadhafi has been doing. It's almost like -- and then there's the ridiculousness of the man himself. It's like Halloween every day. What costume is he going to come up with today? And the buffoonery of the man was almost a cover for the tyranny of the man.
And I think there, too, we are going to see a state willing to kill in a way that the Egyptians and the Tunisians were not willing to kill. This man is in what I would say a rule or die. He only knows his own turf. He has no respect for his country and no use for his population. It's a -- it's a tragedy unfolding.
COOPER: We're going to continue to follow it. Fouad Ajami, appreciate it as always, your expertise. Nic Robertson, stay safe. Ben Wedeman, as well, thank you very much.
Coming up, thousands of people converge on Madison, Wisconsin, protesting a proposed budget bill that would cut teacher benefits and collective bargaining rights. Is it an attack on unions or a necessary action to keep the state afloat? Two very different opinions, depending on who you talk to on what side of the political aisle. We'll get the latest, next.
And later, the bizarre story of a man who somehow didn't know that he had a four-inch knife blade stuck in his head for years. How that's possible, I don't know. And Isha Sesay has a lot more she's following -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, two Arizona media outlets are being waging a legal battle to secure the release of two new mug shots of accused Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner. They are also demanding the findings of the search of Loughner's family's home. Just a short time ago, a judge handed down the decision. I'll have all the details ahead on "360."
COOPER: Well, tonight in "Raw Politics," the budget battle in Wisconsin that has left schools closed, protesters swarming the capital, and lawmakers missing in action.
Republican Governor Scott Walker is defending his budget bill, saying it is time the state pays its bills and avoids a $3.6 billion deficit. The bill cuts benefits for public workers, including teachers and their collective bargaining rights.
Now, opponents say this is a pure attack on unions, plain and simple. And as crowds of protestors converge on the capital, a group of state legislators, Democrats, left the state in order to stall a vote on the bill.
Casey Wian joins us live from Madison with the latest -- Casey.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it's been a really kind of wild scene here today in Madison, Wisconsin. As you mentioned, schools closed. That's for the third straight day schools in many parts of the state were closed. That's because so many teachers, tens of thousands of them, were here at the state capital, protesting this budget deficit reduction effort that's been proposed by the state's governor, Scott Walker.
What the teachers and other state union workers are angry about is the proposal that would require them to pay more for health and pension benefits. That's a problem, they say. What's a big problem, they say, though, what they're most angry about is the effort to reduce their collective bargaining rights. That, they say, is something they are not willing to budge on.
The governor says he has no choice but to propose this measure. Otherwise, he would have to lay off 6,000 state workers over the next two years to help close this budget gap.
Now, these protesters that were here all day had some very powerful allies in the minority party here, the Democratic Party in the state, and as you mentioned, they left the state, which deprived the state Senate of the quorum it needs to move this legislation forward. What they said they were trying to do is force the governor to the negotiating table with the unions.
The governor held a press conference late today, and he said, I quote, "We can't make a good-faith effort to negotiate, because the state does not have any money."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We have bill collectors waiting for us to collect bills, and it's time we step up and take care of the bills that we owe, and the fact that the bills will be forthcoming even more so in the future. We're going to do what it takes to get this budget on track.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you for abandoning our children today. At least there's a few teachers out there who have the guts to stand up against you union thugs and actually teach our children! You're AWOL! You're AWOL! You're AWOL!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIAN: Now, the unions say that they are more than willing to negotiate the financial part of this deal, but they are not willing to negotiate their collective bargaining rights away. The governor says he is just following the mandate of the taxpayers who elected him in November, Anderson.
COOPER: And it seems like this is kind of only growing. You're going to have more groups coming tomorrow and in the days after that. I've even heard Tea Party groups are expected to join in.
WIAN: Absolutely. They're expected to be here tomorrow afternoon. We've heard many of the protesters say you've got to come up -- come out here again tomorrow, because the Tea Party is going to be here.
We know that the state police and the local police are implementing more -- tighter security measures, because these two groups are going to be here this weekend, just to make sure that nothing gets out of hand.
As for what happens next week, when schools are going to reopen, when those Democratic lawmakers are going to come back to town, we just don't know. Both sides are really digging in, Anderson.
COOPER: It's a remarkable situation. Casey, we're going to have more on the money fight in Wisconsin and the possible political fallout for state lawmakers, even President Obama. There's also, obviously, a budget battle on Capitol Hill. We're going to talk about that with two folks from both sides of the aisle in just a moment.
First, let's get a quick update on both stories. Isha has the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, the Republican-led House of Representatives approved an amendment that bars any federal agency from spending money to implement the new health-care law for the rest of the year. The amendment likely won't survive negotiations with the Senate. Republicans say this is just their first attempt to defund the law.
More than 100 doctors, nurses and health-care executives across America have been arrested in nine cities. Federal authorities are calling it the biggest crackdown ever in a single day on Medicare fraud. The alleged billed fake Medicare billing totals $225 million.
To China now, where these X-ray images, Anderson, show why a man had a severe headache for the last four years.
COOPER: What? How is that possible?
SESAY: That is a four-inch knife in his skull. He underwent surgery today to have it removed. The man says he was stabbed in the lower jaw in an armed robbery, and no one realized the blade broke off inside his head.
COOPER: Come on.
SESAY: I know. He's doing better.
And a new study suggests speaking two languages may delay dementia. Toronto researchers studied 450 Alzheimer's patients. Those who were bilingual were diagnosed with Alzheimer's about four to five years later than those who spoke just one language.
Anderson, there are advantages to working with me. I am here to teach you a whole new language.
COOPER: Yes, British English.
SESAY: Indeed. Your cookie, my biscuit.
COOPER: Exactly. Interesting choice you picked of all the things.
SESAY: I just thought it would resonate.
COOPER: All right. We'll -- we'll come back to that in a moment.
Coming up, more on the Wisconsin budget battle. Protests, schools closing, lawmakers fleeing the state. Is the proposed budget an attack on teachers and other unions or responsible budget cuts? We have two sides squaring off in a moment.
And later, a pretrial hearing for accused Tucson gunman Jared Lee Loughner. A judge deciding whether to release information about what was found when Loughner's home was searched. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Back to what's happening in Wisconsin, where a battle over the proposed budget has closed schools, spawned protests, sent lawmakers fleeing the state to avoid a vote. Governor Scott Walker says the bill is necessary to avoid an impending multi-billion-dollar deficit.
Critics don't like cuts to teachers' or other public employees' benefits and collective bargaining rights. President Obama has weighed in now. He says he understands the need to make cuts but that some of what's happening in Wisconsin seems like more like a quote, "assault on unions."
Joining us live from Washington, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and in New York, CNN political analyst and Republican strategist Ed Rollins.
Maria, it's hard to believe that the Democratic lawmakers are basically on the lam right now. Do you support them leaving the state to avoid a vote?
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely, Anderson. Because what they're doing, as Democratic senators, is they are upholding their values of democracy, fairness, and trying to protect Wisconsin's working families from being railroaded by a Republican legislature and governor who is trying to take away their rights.
COOPER: But wait a minute. Does anything actually -- and I'm not taking sides here, but does anything justify abandoning your job and leaving the state to avoid a vote? I mean, they are -- that is their job to vote on things.
CARDONA: Absolutely. And what they have said is they're willing to come back when the governor is willing to lead and actually willing to come to the table and meet with these employees.
Anderson, these employees have tried to meet with the governor more than 17 times. They have said over and over again that they're willing to take pay cuts. They're willing to make contributions to their pensions, but they are not willing to give up their collective bargaining rights that they have had for more than 50 years. Let's talk about it.
COOPER: OK. So let me ask about that. I understand the need to cut pay and slash budgets. Why go after collective bargaining?
ED ROLLINS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know. I don't know what the governor's reason -- rationalization is. I think the bottom line here, and where I take issue, is there is consequences to elections. And for the first time in many, many years, Democrats lost in the state.
So their premise, and where I really take issue is you say they don't want to do their jobs. They want to uphold their values. Many, many days as a minority, for months, years, Republicans have gone in, voted, done what they're supposed to do, the loyal opposition. It's now these Democrats' obligation to go be the loyal opposition. They basically have to make their case in the chamber where they're being paid.
The teachers, who should be teaching every day -- and I'm sympathetic to unions. My father was a union leader. At the end of the day, is it better to go back and teach the kids and be paid, as they are, to fight day and day out in the election box...
COOPER: But do you think this is an effort to bust unions?
ROLLINS: No, absolutely not. This is an effort to balance the budget. Governor said he's got to let 6,000 people go if he can't -- they can't cut back. These are tough choices.
No governor -- Governor Cuomo here in New York, Democrat icon family. Basically has to make tough cuts. Every governor across this country -- we have billions and billions of dollars in shortfalls in the states as we have trillions of dollars at the federal level. The consequences of that is you've got to make cuts and set priorities.
COOPER: Maria, is -- I mean, what about that? I mean, that sounds rational, that you've got to make cuts.
CARDONA: Absolutely. There's no question about that. And these public employees have said time and again, they are willing to share the pain fairly. They are willing to have their pay cut. They're willing to contribute to their pensions. The governor will not meet with them. How is that leading?
The governor needs to lead. He needs to show some leadership. What he is doing is showing an abuse of power. He is showing huge political grandstanding.
And by the way, cutting -- cutting the collective bargaining rights does absolutely nothing to plug -- to plug the budget hole. It is all political grandstanding on his part. He needs to lead. He needs to meet with these employees and come to the table to find a solution.
COOPER: Ed, do you think it was appropriate for President Obama to weigh in on it?
ROLLINS: No. It's absolutely absurd. A president has got his own problems in Washington, D.C. That's -- that's the difference between Republicans and Democrats. We believe state government, cities, what have you, you elect people, they basically make the decisions at that level. The president of the United States should never be involved in a state or city issue. Go deal with the Congress today. That's the biggest problem.
COOPER: Is that politics, then, him weighing in?
ROLLINS: Sure, it's politics. And then they'll launch his groups out there, basically, all over the country. This is the start maybe of the 2010 -- or 2012 re-election.
But at the end of the day, he's got a job to do. This governor has a job to do. Those legislators have a job to do. And more important, those teachers have a job to do. They should be back in the classroom. They don't want to be in the classroom, surrender their paycheck, let some substitute teacher come in and teach those kids.
COOPER: Maria, I saw some folks online, saying today that -- you know, showing some signs where protesters were saying, you know, this is about democracy.
Isn't this the result, though, of the election? I mean, they did just have an election. This governor did just win. He's doing what he said he was going to do or indicated he was going to do. How is this -- how is this different than, you know, any, you know, minority group not liking what the majority group that's suddenly in power is doing?
CARDONA: Except for he's not doing what he said he was going to do. He said he was leading. And when you are a true leader, you bring everybody to the table who is involved and needing to share the pain equally and fairly. It's been done in other states. Why can't he do the same thing?
He's refused to meet with the employees. They have said they would take the pay cuts. They have said they would make contributions to their pensions. They have said that they would not accept collective bargaining -- the taking away of their collective bargaining rights. And I think they are absolutely right in doing so. It's been something that they've had for 50 years.
But it does nothing to plug the budget hole.
Let's come together, have the governor meet with these employees, have him be a leader, and let's find a real solution.
ROLLINS: We don't believe in mob rules. Governors get elected. Legislators get elected. They have to make the decisions. You can't bring the 15,000 people that are out there protesting and let them all have a vote. They have a vote every November when there's an election.
The people of the state voted. The consequences are that you now have Republican control of the legislature. Republicans basically promised to reset some priorities, and it's their turn to do it.
CARDONA: We also don't believe -- don't believe in an abuse of power, and that's exactly what this governor is engaging in.
COOPER: Maria Cardona, appreciate your perspective.
Ed Rollins, thanks.
ROLLINS: Thank you.
COOPER: Both have a good weekend.
CARDONA: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, a big step back for Republicans in the U.S. House. Details on that.
And with the royal wedding of Kate and Wills just months away -- Will, really? I don't think I'd call him Wills. No, not at all. Many people are trying to make money off the couple. We'll tell you about the latest venture, next. Wills?
COOPER: And seems like only moments ago, but Isha is back with the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, ruling today in a pretrial hearing for Jared Lee Loughner, the accused Tucson gunman. A federal judge denied a request by media organizations to release information on what police found when they searched Loughner's home. They also want new mug shots to be released, but the judge did not rule on that request.
A big setback for fiscally conservative Republicans today in the House. A majority, including many fellow Republicans, voted down their plan to cut an additional $22 billion from the budget, which would have been on top of the $60 billion the House leadership has already vowed to cut.
Prices for coffee beans have hit a 14-year high due to growing demand and smaller bean harvests. Several companies say the higher prices will be passed on to consumers.
And Anderson, in honor of the upcoming wedding of Wills, or Prince William to you, and Kate Middleton, a British brewery will produce a beer called Kiss Me Kate. Legal.com (ph) says it will be a limited brew to be released before the April 29 nuptials. The people making it are saying it's going to be elegant and tasteful. It's a beer! How elegant and tasteful can it be?
COOPER: That's what England needs, more beer.
SESAY: That's right. It's what my people need.
COOPER: So people can pour out of the pubs and just...
SESAY: Are you judging?
COOPER: Well, it's the one thing that shocks me about England every time I go. That when the pubs open -- when the pubs close down, people pour out in the street. It's not very elegant.
SESAY: We all have our quirks.
COOPER: I love England. Don't get me wrong.
A lot more ahead at the top of the hour. Again, we lost time to do the "RidicuList." I'm sorry, but we have important breaking news out of Bahrain, where new video exposes government brutality against peaceful protesters. We'll be right back.