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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Leading Republican Presidential Contenders?; Interview With Texas Congressman Ron Paul
Aired April 12, 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: We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the headline-grabbing words of a congresswoman who might soon be running for president, Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann has been spending a lot of time in Iowa lately, testing the waters for a presidential run and it's in Iowa yesterday that she launched into an attack on Planned Parenthood. Now, it's not my job to support or oppose Planned Parenthood. My job is to report what's true and what's not.
And some of what Michele Bachmann is claiming about Planned Parenthood simply is not true. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The executive director of Planned Parenthood in Illinois said, they want to become the LensCrafter of big abortion in Illinois. They're the largest provider of abortion in the United States. And not only that, they are one of the largest political organizations that you can imagine as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, Planned Parenthood says it performed some 330,000 abortions a year out of some 1.2 million abortions in the country, according to the Guttmacher Institute. So they are a big abortion provider, although that's only a small fraction of what they do.
But Bachmann is claiming a Planned Parenthood executive said they want to become the LensCrafter of big abortion. And she's also claiming they're one of the largest political organizations you can imagine. Neither of those statements is true.
And what's interesting is it's not the first time Congresswoman Bachmann has made these claims. This is her talking about Planned Parenthood back in July 2008.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACHMANN: This organization has now become a big box retailer, big abortion in other words. The executive director in Illinois for Planned Parenthood said, we want Planned Parenthood to be the LensCrafters of big abortion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So it's a catchy quote. The question is, where did she get this quote from the executive director? Well, we believe she's referring to a quote made by Planned Parenthood's Illinois executive director Steve Trombley a month before that statement in 2008.
He was quoted in "The Wall Street Journal" back in June of 2008 saying of Planned Parenthood -- quote -- "I like to think of it as the LensCrafters of family planning." Again, "I like to think of it as the LensCrafters of family planning," not big abortion.
So what Congresswoman Bachmann has repeatedly done is taken out the family planning part of the sentence and inserted the term big abortion. She's made up a quote. In the article, Mr. Trombley was talking about setting up express locations in shopping malls for family planning services, like birth control, pregnancy testing, STD screening, the kind of services which make up the vast majority of what Planned Parenthood does.
He wasn't talking about performing abortions in malls. Congresswoman Bachmann, we should point out, is not the only lawmaker who has been making up things about Planned Parenthood. Here's Senator Jon Kyl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JON KYL (R-AZ), MINORITY WHIP: If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood. And that's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, later Senator Kyl retracted that and his office saying -- and I quote -- "His remark was not intended to be a factual statement."
Not intended to be a factual statement, even though it was made on the floor of the Senate. We asked Congresswoman Bachmann to join us tonight, she declined. We did get some reaction from Planned Parenthood, they said -- quote -- "The continued misleading attacks on Planned Parenthood expose a cynical and cold-hearted willingness to further a divisive political agenda even if it will deny women access to life-saving cancer screenings and birth control."
As for the congresswoman's other claim that Planned Parenthood is one of the largest political organizations you can imagine, that is not really true, either. According to OpenSecrets.org the two top donors in the 2010 midterm elections were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Service Workers Union, depending on how you measure it. Depending on which measurement you use, SEIU spent about $53 million and the Chamber of Commerce spent about $33 million. Planned Parenthood spent less than a million. A lot of money, no doubt about it, but compared to the others, hard to call it one of the largest political organizations you can imagine.
Some other hard facts, new polling numbers putting Michele Bachmann seventh right now among possible Republican presidential candidates. Donald Trump interestingly enough and Mike Huckabee tied for the lead. However, Bachmann is considered especially strong in Iowa in part because of her conservative beliefs and partly due to the fact she's been living there practically lately, making a lot of trips and she said she was born there.
Joining me now our political panelists to talk about Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Republican field, former Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, senior political analyst David Gergen, and Carol Moseley Braun former Democratic senator from Illinois.
David, is Michele Bachmann a real contender in this Republican race?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, she's gradually replaced Sarah Palin as a lead spokesperson, spokeswoman in the social conservative cause. And she has made some speeches out in Iowa that apparently had knocked people's socks off. She's been a very, very effective speaker. I do think when she makes statements like this, she obviously diminishes herself nationally and I think there are a lot of people who don't take her very seriously. But you have to say she is cutting a deep furrow in Iowa.
COOPER: Senator Braun, do you think she has replaced Sarah Palin for now?
CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, I think that is what's so pathetic about it, about the whole thing is that to demagogue and lead the assault on women's health like she has is just tragic.
I mean, there are women who go to Planned Parenthood for mammograms, for HIV screening, for contraception help, for all kinds of health issues for which there are no alternatives other than Planned Parenthood. And to have a woman lead the charge against Planned Parenthood, to demagogue the issue of women's health like that I think is just tragic and pathetic.
COOPER: Ari, to David's point about Sarah Palin, is it just that Sarah Palin hasn't been in the news cycle lately, and these things are cyclical or do you think Michele Bachmann really has risen in the last few weeks?
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, what makes a personality in politics rise or fall is whether they are on a trajectory to run for the presidency.
And if it increasingly looks as it does that Sarah Palin is not running, she will of course gradually fall out of a lot of the mainstream commentary. And if Michele Bachmann actually does get into this race, she's going to attract press coverage.
So it's interesting, because it's less personality driven and it's more job title search driven. If you're running for president, you get a lot of scrutiny and a lot of attention. That's the direction Bachmann looks like she's heading. COOPER: Senator Moseley Braun, to hear that Donald Trump now tied with Mike Huckabee, do you think Donald Trump is a real contender, do you think he's a legitimate candidate?
BRAUN: Well, no, not really I don't. I think it's so early in the process that I hope the Republican Party, I'm a Democrat, but I hope the Republicans have a deeper bench than that, and that they're going to come up with candidates who can really begin to talk about the things that are really concerning Americans in these difficult times.
We have got a lot of issues in front of us, three wars, an economy that's sinking, infrastructure falling apart. I hope that the presidential campaign will attract people who are interested in talking about the real concerns of the American people.
COOPER: Ari, were you surprised to see Trump tying with Huckabee?
FLEISCHER: No, because at this stage, this far out it's all about name I.D. Four years ago, Hillary Clinton was winning in every conceivable poll and nobody really thought Barack Obama had much of a chance. And Barack Obama, of course, won. So it's way too soon to start focusing on that.
What's so fascinating in the Republican field is for the first time really in a generation, in modern Republican politics, we don't have a front-runner and Republicans are used to have an heir apparent. And so there's a certain unsettled feeling in the party because we don't have somebody. And we're doing what the Democrats used to do.
We have a lot of candidates. Back in 1992 when Bill Clinton ran, of course, the Democrats against H.W. Bush, who was at 90 percent popularity, the Democrats were called the seven dwarfs and nobody thought they could win and lo and behold, they won. So it doesn't bother me that Republicans are in this stage. It's just highly unusual, so it takes some getting used to I suppose.
COOPER: David, when do you think this really starts to heat up? The first debate I think is scheduled for next month.
GERGEN: It's hard to tell, Anderson. I sort of feel this is politics gone bonkers. To have Donald Trump tied for first, that on its face, he's not going to get the nomination, not going to become president. Michele Bachmann running as well as she did, I think she's replacing Sarah Palin not just because she may be running, because she's sort of a Sarah Palin look-alike, sound-alike, talk-alike, and a very attractive woman who says these sort of sometimes off the wall but very provocative things.
And now we have a president who is not that popular, who is still stuck in the 40s in his popularity and yet he's sort of the hands-on favorite right now to win reelection. So there's an oddness about this. Now, politics -- it will take some weeks to sort out and maybe some months. COOPER: Senator Moseley Braun, tomorrow obviously the president makes a speech on the budget, long-term deficit reduction. We have talked a lot on this program about how he's handled it thus far, at least from the White House perspective trying to rise above the fray.
Do you see him still trying to do that or actually giving more concrete actual proposals, concrete direction?
BRAUN: Well, you know, I hope he will obviously give a concrete direction, show us a way forward.
But I hope also that he will be able to reach back for some of the inspirational guidance that the American people responded to when he ran, to give people a sense that there really is a way out. That we're not going to be mired in three wars forever. That we're not going to cut Social Security and change retirement security for the next generation of Americans, that we can rebuild our infrastructure, that we can educate our kids. I mean, it's that kind of inspiration that this president is particularly good at, and I hope that that's where he goes in the speech tomorrow.
COOPER: Ari, do you really expect him to be specific though on spending cuts?
FLEISCHER: Well, if he's not specific tomorrow, when will he ever be? He's already passed up three opportunities to be specific, one when his commission came out, two in the State of the Union and three when his budget came out. It's time for him to be specific.
After all, Anderson, when it comes to raising taxes, he's been specific down to the decimal. He knows he wants it to be 39.6, up from 35 percent top rate. So we need that level of specificity now on spending cuts.
If we're going to continue to have Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid for the next generation, we need the president to describe with specifics what he intends to do so those programs don't go bankrupt and bankrupt our nation along with them.
COOPER: David, we haven't heard a lot of specifics though up to now.
GERGEN: We haven't, Anderson.
And there's something peculiar going on here. On Sunday when David Plouffe representing the president went on television and promised that on this Wednesday he would come forward with a plan, it sounded like very much he was going to have an alternative that would be concrete to the Paul Ryan on the Republican side.
Today they really started walking that back at the White House. They began treating this as one speech in a group of many, it will be the first step on a long journey. He may wrap himself in the deficit commission. He may wrap himself in the gang of six, anything but being bold and concrete, which I think is what is needed now.
COOPER: David Gergen, appreciate it much. Ari Fleischer thanks, and Senator Carol Moseley Braun, appreciate it as well. Thanks.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight.
Up next, quick question, what do gray wolves have to do with trimming the budget deficit? Not really much of anything. And yet they are in this new budget cutting deal. How did that happen? Hint: It's all about politics. We will talk to Texas Congressman Ron Paul about that, who is puzzled as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: There's not much in Washington that has ever made much sense to me for a long time. It really shows how out of touch so many people are here in Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, later, we got a lot of response about this story, a dog in Japan's radioactive hot zone. A lot of abandoned dogs starving to death right now in the radiation, in the evacuation zone. Is there anything being done to help them? We look for answers later tonight.
COOPER: Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to lay out plans for cutting the deficit in 2012 and beyond as we just talked about. But even as he works out the final points tonight, details are emerging about Friday's bipartisan deal to cut spending for the rest of 2011.
"Keeping Them Honest," some of the nearly $39 billion in cuts aren't really cuts at all, and some of the items in this budget cutting package they are less about saving money than promoting certain lawmakers' pet ideas. It's not quite what was promised when the deal was cut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're talking about real spending cuts here, no smoke and mirrors.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: There are many examples where they wanted to cut recklessly, and we insisted on cutting responsibly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, with all due respect to Majority Leader Reid, critics says it's not a question of responsible or reckless, but of whether the cuts are even real or not.
And with all due respect to Speaker Boehner, that goes straight to his claims of no smoke and mirrors. You can decide for yourself -- $3.5 billion in cuts to children's health care or CHIP. That's actually unspent money left over in the program.
And $2.5 billion chopped from health care co-ops for this year. They don't exist this yet and won't until 2014. As for things in the deal that would seem to have nothing to do with the budget deficit, one of them bars President Obama from transferring prisoners from the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay.
Another restores a school voucher pilot program for Washington, D.C., which is a favorite of House Speaker Boehner. and for Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester, language that blocks regulators from using the Endangered Species Act to protect wolves out West.
Now, you can agree or disagree with that or any of the other policy riders we mentioned. And there are more, but safe to say, policy is mainly what they're about, not dollars and cents.
Talked about it earlier with Republican Congressman and former presidential candidate and possible future presidential candidate Ron Paul.
COOPER: Congressman Paul, does it make sense to you that a budget deal that is being hashed out right now, which is all about reducing spending, includes all these riders, including one about delisting the gray wolves from the endangered species list, which doesn't seem to have anything to do with actually cutting spending?
PAUL: No, but there's not much in Washington that has ever made much sense to me for a long time. So, no, that doesn't make any sense.
And it really shows how out of touch so many people are here in Washington and how unlikely it is that we will get to the bottom of our problems, because it might be Planned Parenthood or NPR or wolves out there. And then when it comes to doing something seriously, like changing our foreign policy and not fighting so many wars, they don't even put that in the budget. Both Republicans and Democrats agreed to fund the wars to the end of the year. That's not even debated at all.
But they will go and debate these miscellaneous issues and but it just shows how serious out of touch I think we are.
COOPER: Is that just about deal making in Washington? Is that just kind of par for the course of how business gets done?
PAUL: Yes, I think so.
I mean, notoriously here, if you get one little thing that you can go back to your district and claim this is what I accomplished, they might have been going to vote one way all along, but if they say, you give me that, and I will -- you can put me down as a yes.
But I thought we were getting away with that, because with the Tea Party movement and people getting tired of that, so I'm surprised that it's still going on, especially in a budget debate like we're having now, where it's just sort of how do we get to the end of the year so we can start this all over again for next year?
COOPER: So will you vote for this budget deal?
PAUL: Oh, no.
In the 1970s, after we had a change in our monetary policy, in my mind, this would change the whole ball game that we would have endless spending and endless deficits and end up in a crisis. So I have voted against every spending bill except probably for veterans since the '70s any time I was in office.
So, no, I can't vote for this budget. There's no serious attempt to cut. They talk -- even our side says we're going to cut $6.2 trillion over so many years. Well, that's just a cut from Obama's budget. It's not real cuts.
Everything is increased. The national debt is going up this year $2 trillion. And they're talking about $38 billion, and $10 billion had already been counted. No, it was $12 billion -- $12 billion, they're counting twice. And they're talking about that amount of money when we have a national debt increase of $2 trillion and all the entitlements are off the table and war is off the table.
So they have taken entitlements and war off the table and they think they're going to balance the budget. In the meantime, they're going to make sure we can take care of those wolves and solve all those problems as well.
COOPER: So would you vote for raising the debt ceiling?
PAUL: No, for the same reason. I didn't vote for any of the spending. Why should I accommodate them and endorse the system that we have?
No. It's debt. And I cannot think of any of this without always bringing up the subject of the ability of our government and our Federal Reserve to print the money. If you couldn't print that money, this would all end. Interest rates would go up. But the fact that we in the Congress, whether it's the Republicans or the Democrats, we spend the money whether it's on entitlements or for the war. We never have to worry about interest rates going up, because the Fed says, oh, we will keep interest rates low.
We're going to print money until we destroy the money. So, no, we're locked in on that. The odds of us reversing that trend are very, very slim.
COOPER: But if you hear from Tim Geithner, if you hear from Bernanke, they say, look, this would be cataclysmic, this would be an apocalypse not to raise the debt ceiling, that basically we couldn't be able to pay our obligations, our bond rating would be shot, inflation would shoot up.
PAUL: Yes. Well, no, when they print money, that's inflation. That's literally inflation. They always use fear tactics. It's very similar to saying that Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapon and he was going to bomb us, and therefore we had to go to war. Very similar to building up the fear after the financial crisis. We will have a Great Depression if we don't do it. And yet the depression would have come to the people who were ripping us off. So they gave the depression to the people who lost their homes. So, yes, they always use the fear-mongering and the establishment, whether it's the Federal Reserve or Treasury, they're going to come and say raise it up, legalize what we're doing, keep the system going for a long time.
Never look at the real problems of cutting back the size and scope of government.
COOPER: There was a lot of talk about what would happen to Tea Party Republicans when they were coming to the House, when they were coming to the Senate for the first time, whether they would somehow change, whether Washington would change them, they would change Washington.
As you see it, as you see these debates happening, as you see the compromise that happened last week and no doubt will happen this week, do you think the Tea Party has changed, those folks have changed, your son included?
PAUL: Well, I don't think he's changed. He's very determined and several of them are.
You have to realize, though, even -- everybody that was newly elected didn't get elected by the Tea Party. So you have to take the new members and maybe cut them in half. And most of them really want and they have stuck to their guns. But they don't have any real clout. I mean, they're not the majority in the House, and you still have the Senate and you still have the president.
So there's no way they're going to have their way. But the numbers just aren't there. I'm just hoping that more Americans will wake up and send a stronger message here to Washington to clean up our act.
COOPER: Congressman Paul, you have not announced whether or not you're going to be running for president. I'm not even going to bother asking you, because you obviously wouldn't answer.
COOPER: But when you look at the field, Donald Trump has been getting a lot of attention now. Do you think he's a viable candidate?
PAUL: He looked pretty viable to me. He was alive and well and kicking and I guess that's what it requires. And as long as we check his birth certificate, I guess we will be OK.
COOPER: Congressman Paul, I appreciate your time. Thank you. PAUL: OK.
COOPER: Thanks, Congressman.
COOPER: Still ahead, some of what Congressman Paul was just talking about, Donald Trump. President Obama's half-sister was talking about the latest birther claims from Donald Trump to Piers Morgan earlier tonight. We will show you what she had to say.
And, also, whether Donald Trump really is a real contender. Is he seriously considering a presidential run? We will talk to Piers Morgan and Gloria Borger about that coming up.
Also, did you see the remarkable video of a collision between a jumbo jet and a much smaller plane? Watch this. Watch. It just spins this smaller commuter plane. The incident is raising questions about the safety of the supersized Airbus 380. Details ahead.
COOPER: Well, Donald Trump has not said for certain whether he will run for president in 2012, though in a new poll out today, he tied with Mike Huckabee leading the Republican pack. As Ari Fleischer said, it probably has a lot to do with name recognition. But Trump has grabbed headlines by repeatedly and loudly questioning President Obama's birthplace. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & CEO, TRUMP HOTELS & CASINO RESORTS: Three weeks ago when I started, I thought he was probably born in this country, and now I really have a much bigger doubt.
Nobody from those early years...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not true.
TRUMP: I want him to show his birth certificate. There's something on that birth certificate that he doesn't Well, .
So he could have been born in Kenya and gone over to the United States and everybody wants to be a U.S. citizen and his grandparents put an ad in saying that he was born in the United States because of all the benefits you get from being born in the United States.
Why doesn't he show his birth certificate? Why has he spent over $2 million in legal fees to keep this quiet?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, in the past on this program, we have shown how the arguments birthers make don't square with the facts. But that said, Trump seems to be getting a lot of traction from all the birther talk.
As we mentioned, Republicans put him at the top of the heap as their choice for a 2012 presidential nominee, tying right up there with Huckabee. Trump has reportedly sent a team of private investigators or so he says to Hawaii to dig into the president's past.
Earlier tonight, Piers Morgan asked President Obama's half-sister about the debate that just won't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": There's this whole, I think, ridiculous debate about whether he was born in America. What do you think of that?
MAYA SOETORO-NG, SISTER OF BARACK OBAMA: I think it is unfortunate. He was born in Hawaii. There is a tremendous amount of proof that has already been presented.
The then Republican governor and head of the Department of Health in Hawaii even attested to the fact that the birth certificate that they inspected was in fact valid. It is in the newspapers on the day of his birth. So I think that it is time for people to put that to bed, put it to rest completely.
MORGAN: What do you think of Donald Trump banging on about this every day at the moment?
SOETORO-NG: Well, I think it's a shame. And I think that my brother should definitely be president for a second term. And that's really all I have to say about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: After the interview, I talked with Piers Morgan and CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
COOPER: So, Piers, in your interview with President Obama's sister, she seems very frustrated over this whole birther issue.
MORGAN: Yes, I think the whole family is getting pretty sick and tired of this.
I have got to say that I know Donald Trump pretty well. I'm pretty sure that his personal polling will be telling him it's resonating with quite a large percentage of Americans on the right, who rather like winding up the Obama family on this matter.
But I certainly got a sense from Maya, his half-sister, that they're all pretty cheesed off now, and they would like it to go away. And they think that they have produced all the evidence that needs to be produced.
COOPER: Gloria, why do you think Donald Trump has latched onto this?
BORGER: Well, I think Piers said it. He's looking for an instant base. And there's a certain group of people out there who hate Barack Obama, who believe anything about Barack Obama. They're anti-establishment. So the more the outrageous the charge, the more they like it.
And if you're thinking about running for the presidency, and actually I do believe he is. I don't think this is just about ratings for "Celebrity Apprentice." Then you're looking for those conservative voters in early states like Iowa. And instant credibility with them the minute you become a birther.
COOPER: Piers, do you think he's really running for president?
MORGAN: I do. I think he is. I've been talking to him, and I think he's deadly serious. I think he's identified, in his mind, a clear void here, a vacuum in the Republican Party between the moderates like Mitt Romney on one side and the Tea Party on the other. And he's thinking there's a way through the middle here.
And I think he's playing quite a clever game. I mean, I've been saying to people, really, since I took over this show, not your show, my show, obviously, what Donald Trump...
COOPER: It's only a matter of time. It's only a matter of time.
MORGAN: Of course. But it's interesting, talking to him, he's been sort of pumping this up, and people have been dismissing it, particularly in Washington where they say he's not a serious candidate. And yet, his poll ratings are strengthening all the time. He's very, very close to being the front-runner.
BORGER: Yes, I'm not -- look, I mean, first of all he's high in the polls now, because he's kind of a new name out there. He's getting a lot of publicity.
And the people who, as I was saying before, don't like Obama are saying, well, maybe you know, if Sarah Palin doesn't run, maybe there's Donald Trump.
And but I think Donald Trump is going to be somebody who's going to dislike the process, because the kind of scrutiny that he's going to come under, his financial empire, not to mention flip-flopping on issues like abortion, which are very serious issues in the Republican Party and in the country -- I think this is going to be somebody who's going to chafe under that kind of scrutiny that presidential candidates have to endure.
You know, it's not good enough to say, "I'm a successful businessman, and I can run the country." There has to be more to it than that.
COOPER: It's easy at this point to say you're running for president or interested in it, because you're not facing any real scrutiny. BORGER: Right.
COOPER: But this thing, as we all know, is a marathon. It's not a sprint. Ad the level of scrutiny, I mean, on his finances, which frankly people have done in the past. And there have been questions about whether he has as much money as he says. He obviously takes, you know -- takes great umbrage at that.
Piers, do you think, to Gloria's point, that he would be able and willing to put up with that kind of scrutiny?
MORGAN: Well, no. Funny enough I think he's in a stronger position than most. He's been in the public eye for a very long time at a very high level. He's already been exposed to massive scrutiny.
And he's, you know, as we all know, he's a pretty fiery guy. He loves a challenge; he loves a fight. In many ways he would have been a perfect Washington politician. So I certainly don't underestimate him.
I know the general belief at the moment is that Donald Trump is not going to be a serious contender here. I don't really share that view. I think he's got the public on his side. He's choosing quite smart issues to pound away at the core base which, others in the Republican Party are wary of going to. And I think in terms of his own life, his own scrutiny, is there much else we don't know about Donald Trump?
MORGAN: I think he's probably thinking, "You know what? I've got a shot."
BORGER: You know what? There probably is a lot we don't know about Donald Trump. And, you know, having covered a lot of presidential campaigns, you're always surprised about the things you never knew about presidential candidates when they were running.
And so, you know, I think that Trump is going to have to get used to a completely different level of scrutiny than he's ever had, just when he has to file documents related to his -- to his finances. So I think it's going to be a whole different kind of thing for him, and I ask imagine him chafing at it.
If you look at Mitt Romney, he's somebody who's run before. And it often helps to have that kind of experience of dealing with the media, and dealing with the kind of scrutiny you have to undergo, which is why...
MORGAN: One thing -- one thing -- one thing I say about Mr. Trump is that we know his judgment is extremely sound, because of course, he picked me as his first "Celebrity Apprentice."
COOPER: That's going to be -- that's going to be used against him in a tight race, maybe.
BORGER: And you're going to have to recuse yourself. You're going to have to recuse yourself then.
COOPER: There's going to be serious...
MORGAN: You going to vote or not?
COOPER: There's going to be serious questions raised about his judgment.
COOPER: Anything is possible, as we've seen in the world of politics.
Piers Morgan, appreciate it.
Gloria Borger, thanks.
COOPER: Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was also a guest on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT." Here's what he said when asked if he would ever consider being Donald Trump's running mate on a hypothetical ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: If someone like Donald Trump was to emerge as the Republican nominee and asked you to be vice president, would you accept that honor?
TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: I'm running for president. I'm not putting my hat in the ring, rhetorically or ultimately, for vice president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, a spokesman for Pawlenty later told CNN that what you just heard was not a formal announcement for president, even though it sounds an awful lot like one to us. Pawlenty told Piers he'd make a formal presidential announcement in the coming weeks. He announced he was forming a presidential exploratory committee last month.
Coming up, we got so many e-mails and tweets about a story we told you last night about a dog chained up, left behind in the evacuation zone in Japan starving. It really touched a nerve. It was fed by one of the Japanese TV reporters who saw it, who found it.
There are a lot of dogs in the evacuation zone. We're going to get a live update on what is happening to them, if anything is being done for them.
We thought we'd also revisit a dog story with a happy ending, the dramatic rescue of that dog who was floating on debris. A look at the trials facing Japan's four-legged survivors coming up.
And later, word that a certain tan lady, and I use that term loosely, is about to make way more money than you can possibly imagine. And that lands her again on our "RidicuList." Oh, Snooki. Will we all be working for you some day?
COOPER: We want to follow up on a story we told you about last night. We got a ton of e-mails and tweets about this dog we showed you chained up, starving in the evacuation zone near the damaged nuclear power plant in Japan. A lot of you have written in about the dog, and we're all dog lovers here at the program. So we wanted to find out more not only of this dog but about all the dogs that have been abandoned in the evacuation zone, subjected to incredibly high levels of radiation.
In just a moment, we'll talk to out reporter, Kyung Lah, in Japan on the fate of these dogs and what, if anything, is being done for them.
But first, a look at some of the animals we've seen in the last few weeks in the aftermath of the tsunami.
COOPER (voice-over): Three weeks after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, a dramatic rescue, a tale of survival. Japan's coast guard rescues a dog floating on debris off Kesunnuma. A small boat was sent out and a rescuer jumped into the sea and carried the dog to safety.
She was skittish at first, but after eating some sausage and cookies, started wagging her tail and licking rescuers' faces. Her three-week ordeal finally over, her spirit restored with a little food and a lot of affection.
The dog's name is Ban. It turns out her owner saw footage of her on TV at a temporary relocation center in Sendai, and this family member went to pick her up.
Unfortunately, reunions probably won't happen for many dogs, especially those left behind in the evacuation zone near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
This video was shot by a freelance journalist two weeks after the tsunami. The journalists risked their lives entering the mandatory evacuation zone, exposing themselves to dangerous radiation levels. What they found was heartbreaking: dogs still in their homes, still waiting in vain for their owners to return. One dog chained up, left behind, starving. His ribs visible. One of the journalists gave this starving dog his lunch.
And this photo captures the desperate situation. A dog obviously left behind, likely tied up, who chewed its way through his leash.
Food is in short supply, and there are no organizations that will come to rescue them. For them, hope is virtually nonexistent.
COOPER: Kyung Lah joins us now live right now from Tokyo.
Kyung, there are a lot of interest in the dogs, obviously, we showed, in particular that dog who was found tethered to a pole, people asking whether or not the man who shot the video actually untied the dog. Do you know?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He did not. And he says that -- and we just spoke with him a short time ago, the journalist says that he wanted to. It was a very tough decision.
But he felt in his gut that somehow that owner was going to violate the government order and sneak back in and get that dog. The dog he made sure had enough water, and he gave him his lunch. And he did not want to remove the dog from the premises just in case the owner came back.
There is something culturally at play here, Anderson. Japanese don't typically like to infringe on other people's property, so that certainly was also a factor.
COOPER: We should point out this is not a CNN personality, so that's why you're talking about somebody else who you got in contact with.
Can these dogs be taken out? I mean, if radiation levels within the evacuation zone are very high, I mean, is it safe to remove them? Probably not.
LAH: It is, actually.
COOPER: It is.
LAH: No, it actually is. There are people who were there, as well. Once those animals come out, they simply have to be checked for radiation.
The big hurdle here is actually getting those animals out. Remember, this is a mandatory evacuation zone. No one is allowed in. And that's the challenge here.
COOPER: So are there any groups that are going in to try to -- to help them?
LAH: Well, we've heard -- let's talk -- break this up into parts. Outside the evacuation zone, outside the zone right around the nuclear plant, there is a lot of activity as far as trying to connect dogs and cats with their owners. This entire tsunami area. We've spoken to the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support Group. They're a no-kill group. And they're trying to reconnect animals and owners outside the zone. Those are dogs that are outside the zone.
Inside the zone, there are independent animal lovers that CNN has spoken with. These are people who are not working officially with any organization. They're sneaking in. They're violating the order, and they're going in and rescuing the dogs.
The people I spoke with say they want to make this absolutely clear. They're making sure these are owners who have specifically asked for their dogs to be removed from the premises, that they're not touching any other animals, but they are leaving water and food for any animals they see.
And what they describe is that it's simply heartbreaking. There's so many animals who are still in that zone. It wouldn't take that long to evacuate everybody. The government just needs to go in and get those animals.
COOPER: The other question is, are shelters -- are there shelters that allow animals in them? Because, you know, people have evacuated their homes, not just the ones who are in the evacuation zone but in destroyed areas. Are there shelters that allow animals?
LAH: Yes, there are. You'd be really surprised. You can see that people have their dogs and cats in the shelters living with them. The Japanese love animals, especially dogs. And so the owners who did leave with their dogs are able to keep them.
Sometimes in some of these shelters, especially in the really hard-hit area, there's a specific space where you keep your animal. But it is possible.
The hard part for that nuclear evacuation area is that they didn't know how long they were going to be gone. They thought maybe a few days, maybe a week, but now they may never go back.
COOPER: All right. We certainly saw this in Hurricane Katrina. Frankly, we've seen it in all the disasters that we've covered.
Kyung Lah, I appreciate the update. Thank you very much.
Up next, do you remember these images, birds covered in oil, victims of the massive oil spill in the Gulf, the BP spill? Well, tonight, there's new information about how birds and other wildlife are doing nearly a year later. We'll tell you that.
And ahead, the "RidicuList." The big price tag that pint-sized "Jersey Shore" store Snooki is demanding and getting. Not sure if this "RidicuList" is going to make you laugh or cry, or maybe a little bit of both. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Following a bunch of other stories right now. Randi Kaye joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Egypt's military says former President Hosni Mubarak is hospitalized in Shark El-Sheikh, where he's been living since he stepped down in February. Egyptian state television said the 82-year-old suffered a heart attack. Prosecutors summoned Mubarak two days ago for questioning on corruption charges. Tonight, there are conflicts reports about whether that questioning had actually begun when Mubarak fell ill.
Police working to track down a suspected serial killer say remains found yesterday on Long Island, New York, have been identified as human. Police also confirmed a skull found in a different location is human. No word on whether either discovery is linked to eight other sets of remains found in the area.
The collision shown on this amateur video is under investigation. An Air France Airbus 380, the world's largest passenger jet, clipped a smaller plane while taxiing to a runway at New York's JFK International Airport. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
A new study says some wildlife is recovering a year after the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But other species need help, including sea turtles and Atlantic blue fin tuna. The National Wildlife Foundation issued that report.
And Cisco Systems is nixing its Flip video unit two years after buying the startup that created the groundbreaking camera. Growing sales of smartphones like this one right here with HD video cameras have cut into the camera's sales.
COOPER: I cannot believe this.
KAYE: I know. That's why just for prosperity, Anderson, I have to record some of this broadcast of yours. I have it on the Flip Cam.
COOPER: I love me my Flip Cam. I -- I mean, a lot of reporters use these Flip Cams. You can put them in your pockets. You take it out. When we were getting pummeled in Egypt, I was shooting it on a Flip Cam because people don't know necessarily it's a camera.
KAYE: See? And you've probably seen all the tweets today. A lot of people are writing R.I.P., rest in peace, Flip.
KAYE: You know, it's sad to see it go. Here, I'll send you this.
COOPER: OK. Thank you, thank you. I really -- I'm totally bummed. I cannot believe it.
All right. Time now for the "RidicuList." Not sure if this is going to make you laugh or cry.
Tonight we're adding a whole group of people to the "RidicuList." I'm sure they're fine people. They just lost their way a little bit. Tonight, we're adding all the people who are paying Snooki to, well, to be Snooki.
Much like the laundry in gym tan laundry, there are loads of them. I'm telling you, Snooki is one impossibly lucky, unusually spunky, freakishly tan, beer-guzzling, juice-head-hugging, muscle- loving, Bataro(ph)-bodied, pint-sized, money-making machine. Yes, I said juice-head-loving. First of all -- or did I say "juice-head- hugging"? I'm not sure.
First of all, we just learned that, taking a cue from her own hair-do, she's getting a huge raise. Snooki and her cast mates will reportedly rake in -- grab some Kleenex -- $100,000 per episode for the new season of "Jersey Shore." A hundred thousand dollars per episode.
If you listen closely, you can hear schoolteachers around the country weeping right now.
A hundred thousand dollars per episode. That's about 2,857 tanning sessions, which is about what she probably needs per year. And that's just the beginning.
Let's talk about Rutgers University. You probably already know this. Rutgers paid Snooki $32,000 for one speech at the school a couple weeks ago. Thirty-two thousand dollars. That's $2,000 more than what Rutgers is paying Nobel-Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison to speak at commencement next month.
Now I know some people that actually read are going to say, "That's outrageous. Oh!" But let's face it, they are both published authors, after all. Who's to say one's better than the other? I let the excerpts speak for themselves.
From Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye," quote, "There is really nothing more to say, except why? But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how."
All right. All right, not bad. Not bad. But does it really show the command of the language, the nuance that's dripping like so much tanning accelerator from the pages of Snooki's book, "A Shore Thing"?
And I quote, "Any juicehead will get some nut shrinkage and bacne." It's true.
So OK. Rutgers paid Snooki more than a lot of people make in a year to come and talk to the students. Oh. Snooki just dropped her earring.
So what? A girl's got to eat. The salsa and the margarita glasses, that is technically food, correct?
Anyway, far from me -- you know, far from me to be criticizing Snooki for making a living. What's she going to do, party all the time? It turns out she gets paid for that, too. Yes.
"The New York Times" says Snooki gets paid $25,000 to go to a club for a few hours and drink and dance and just be Snooki. Or as I like to call it, the show up and throw up fee. Twenty five thousand dollars to show up and hopefully throw up. Because frankly, if you go to a club to see Snooki, that's really all you want to see. So let me just cut to the chase here and save you all -- and save you, club owners and club goers, a lot of time and money. You don't have to stand in line, waiting to see Snooki. So everyone who's paying Snooki to be Snooki what you get for $25,000.
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COOPER: And that was like episode one. So I just got you Snookied free of charge, no hangover, no cover, no nothing. You're welcome. Thank you. No drink minimum.
If you're thinking of hiring Snooki to come speak at your school, I'm going to save you right now $32,000. Here's what you get, more or less.
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NICOLE "SNOOKI" POLIZZI, REALITY TV STAR: My boobs are so tight, I can't breathe. Is that normal?
I'm ready to just blow this out of the water. I want us all to have a good time without no drama.
Old people, they lose their sex life, and that's not a fun time. That's why people always get divorced. I think I should be a sex therapist.
If I want to have a beer, I'm going to have a beer. This isn't like law school; it's a T-shirt shop.
Tonight is the night to party. Get it all out. Freaking do everything that you can. You know, have sex with an old man and steal a plant (ph) and then get arrested and then do whatever.
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COOPER: All right, I'm not saying it isn't downright captivating. I'm not saying she isn't worth every penny. All I'm saying is you really don't have to spend tens of thousands to get your Snooki on. You just need basic cable. It comes with the package. Just turn on MTV. Watch "The Jersey Shore." Any episode will do, because frankly, they're all the same. Any episode. All the same. Pretty much the same thing happens.
So everyone who's paying Snooki or the Snooki to be Snooki, I welcome you to Club "RidicuList."
A lot more ahead at the top of the hour, serious stuff starting with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the headline-grabbing words of a congresswoman who might soon be running for president, Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann has been spending a lot of time in Iowa lately, testing the waters for a presidential run, and it's in Iowa yesterday that she launched into an attack on Planned Parenthood.