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Libyan Leader Moammar Gadhafi Dead

Aired October 20, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone.

We have breaking news tonight and in just a minute, an exclusion account of Moammar Gadhafi's final moments on earth. This comes from a western reporter currently with Libyan government fighters just outside Sirte where Gadhafi was born. And where today he was flushed out of hiding.

This is new video we're about to show you. We literally got it minutes ago. It is a better angle. You're watching for the first time of the chaos, a wounded Gadhafi clearly alive and manhandled by the crowd, shoved in that back of a Toyota pickup and taken away.

That's the first time we are seeing this video. It's another angle of the video that we had seen earlier today. Clearly you see him wiping blood off his face, looking around, looking confused. That matches what a correspondent on the ground says occurred. We're going to talk to him in just a moment.

The bottom line, though, is Gadhafi is dead. The circumstances under which he died, though, are still a little hazy tonight. Still unclear. It didn't take long for the death photos to surface.

I want to warn you, they are very graphic but they make it plain, this is indeed Gadhafi, and Gadhafi is indeed gone.

The photos come from Misrata where he was taken and reportedly killed, possibly while trying to escape, possibly in a firefight between his captors and supporters, or in crossfire, or possibly executed. You can see he's surrounded by onlookers. He's not being mourned, certainly not there. His death and that of his son Mutassam being celebrated in Libya and in the West.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Faced with the potential of mass atrocities and a call for help from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Gadhafi's forces in their tracks. A coalition that included the United States, NATO, and Arab nations persevered through the summer to protect Libyan civilians and meanwhile the courageous Libyan people fought for their own future and broke the back of the regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, we'll have video as well of a much more impromptu reaction from Secretary of State Clinton. An aide showing her a BlackBerry with the news while cameras just happened to be rolling.




CLINTON: Unconfirmed. Yes.


CLINTON: Unconfirmed reports about Gadhafi being captured.


CLINTON: Unconfirmed. Yes. We've had too many -- we've had a bunch of those before. We've had -- you know, have had him captured a couple of times.


COOPER: As we mentioned, you'll hear shortly from a western reporter with an up-close account of Gadhafi's demise as well as an in-depth analysis of America's role in bringing in the endgame.

Dan Rivers is in Tripoli for us tonight. Fouad Ajami joins us as well, Fran Townsend, former CIA officer Bob Baer. Plenty to talk about. But before we go to all of those people, here's what we know about the dictator's demise.


COOPER (voice-over): We now know why pro-Gadhafi forces battle so hard to keep control of Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. Gadhafi himself might have been hiding there since the capital Tripoli fell two months ago.

Revolutionary fighters closed in on Sirte this morning, reportedly unaware the colonel was there. As they drew closer, Gadhafi boarded a convoy and attempted to flee. French warplanes and U.S. hellfire missiles fire from a predator drone had the convoy in their sights, disabling it as it sped west out of Sirte.

NATO officials say they were unaware they were firing on the former leader. Gadhafi and a handful of bodyguards survived the strike, according to NATO, and took refuge inside this drainage pipe underneath the road. They were soon surrounded by revolutionary fighters who later spray-painted the words, "The place of the rat Gadhafi, the bastard" and "The hole of Gadhafi" on the wall outside.

Reuters reports one of Gadhafi's bodyguards came out and said, "My master is here. Moammar Gadhafi is here and wounded." A young fighter named Mohammed (ph) was reportedly the first to see Gadhafi. He told the BBC the colonel simply looked up at him and said, don't shoot.

This cell phone video taken shortly before his death shows Gadhafi injured but captured alive by fighters who screamed god is great. According to the Libyan prime minister, Gadhafi was wearing an undershirt and trousers when he was found and he did not resist the arrest.

Fighters also show off a golden pistol which they say they took from Gadhafi after his capture.

What happened next is unclear. Some reports say Gadhafi was shot while trying to escape. Another report says Gadhafi's own golden pistol was used to execute him.

This video obtained by Al Jazeera appears to show Gadhafi's dead body laying on the street, blood running down his face from an apparent head wound. The Libyan prime minister said that Gadhafi was shot in the arm after he was captured and was being taken to the hospital in Misrata where he was shot in the head during a gunfight between his own supporters and his captors.

They say Gadhafi died a few moments before arriving at the hospital.

There were no orders to kill Gadhafi, a Libyan official told Reuters, and he insisted he was not executed. We can't independently confirm that, however.

In the early days of the uprising, Gadhafi said he would fight until the last bullet, and he would never leave Libya. In the end, it seems, the former leader got his wish.


COOPER: Correspondent Ben Farmer is right in the middle of it all. He's with Britain's "Daily Telegraph" and traveling now with revolutionary forces outside Sirte. We spoke to him earlier him by phone.


COOPER: Ben, you were nearby when this whole thing played out. What exactly happened?

BEN FARMER, AFGHANISTAN CORRESPONDENT, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (via phone): It seems that the convoy tried to break out of Sirte in the morning at about 8:00 and there were about 15 or 20 vehicles that tried to break out to the western side, and they parked up after they got about two miles outside Sirte. And they seemed at that point were hit by a NATO bomb.

The vehicles were virtually all destroyed. (INAUDIBLE) He survived and he fled with a handful of survivors and a drain that was going under a road and it was there that the rebels found him and captured him.

COOPER: What was the drain pipe like that he was captured at?

FARMER: It was a very sort of nondescript drain. It was a concrete tubing, about 70 feet long passing under a (INAUDIBLE) carriageway and the pipe was about three feet wide. Inside was full of rubbish and trash and rocks and sand, and so it was really quite a nondescript piece of drain.

COOPER: The videos that we have seen clearly appears he was alive when he was captured though bloody. You've looked at videos as well that some of the fighters showed you. How did he appear to you?

FARMER: Yes, when he was captured he was very much alive. There's been three sets of videos (INAUDIBLE) the capture. The video is taken by rebels on mobile phones. In each of those films, he looked bloody. He looked as if he had a wound to the head or the upper body. He looked confused. And he looks -- he's old. He is definitely alive. And the rebel said that he was talking as well. He was -- he was pleading for his life, according to some reports. He was confused. He was saying, what's going on? What are you doing? What's happening?

COOPER: The National Transitional Council which now rules Libya are saying that Gadhafi was killed by crossfire. Does that make any sense to you? Or do you think they're just trying to play down what actually may have happened that killed him?

FARMER: Well, I think certainly there is a suggestion that he was executed. The National Transitional Council says that he was captured, he was taken to a vehicle, and he was being driven away when it was caught in crossfire.

Now they cite a -- an autopsy report saying he was killed by one bullet wound to the head but there certainly have been suggestions that he was in fact just executed and the British foreign secretary has raised that possibility.

COOPER: Do you know what has happened to his body? He was taken to a hospital in Misrata. Do you know what will happen to him?

FARMER: I understand he was supposed to be buried in secret in Misrata. I expect that the National Transitional Council will be looking to avoid creating any event or any burial that could provide any focus for the pro-Gadhafi supporters or any scene of pilgrimage.

COOPER: Ben Farmer -- thank you very much, Ben. Stay safe.

FARMER: You're welcome.


COOPER: Again that is new video that we are showing to you. We just got it really about three or four minutes before the top of this hour.

Let's go next to the Libyan capital Tripoli. Dan Rivers spent the day in what used to be Green Square for decades where the regime staged their rallies. A lot of opposition blood was spilled and today people were celebrating.

What is the mood been like today in Tripoli, Dan?

DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been one of complete jubilation and celebration here, Anderson. As you can imagine a lot of gunfire in the air, a lot of people dancing in the streets, and car horns being blasted.

When the news first came out earlier on today, the ships and the harbors were sounding their horns in celebration. The news spread very rapidly. To start with it, it was about the fall of Sirte, then suggestions that Gadhafi had been captured and then confirmation that he'd been killed as those videos came out and people started seeing them on TV and online.

COOPER: Dan, we're just getting this new video which we got about 12, 13 minutes ago, another angle of an earlier video we saw in which clearly Gadhafi is alive after he was captured. There's blood over his head. It's very graphic at one point. He's wiping the blood away. He looks very confused. He seems to be asking around.

We heard a report from Ben Farmer who said that according to reports he had heard Gadhafi was saying, "What's going on?" "Don't shoot," at another point. Is there a sense that this conflict is over?

RIVERS: I think most people here hope it is over. Certainly with the Gadhafi loyalists it seems to be over. Whether they can keep all together on the same path towards democracy, all these different militias and faction, that's another much more complex question.

In terms of the new video, Anderson, there are a couple of things that occurred to me seeing that new video. Firstly, in this new video you appear to seem him being hit with his own shoes, at one point if you look carefully, which is one of the gravest insults you can make in Islamic culture. You see at point one of the NTC soldiers holding up his boot, it looks like, and gesturing, and then at one point it looks as if he's being hit with his own shoe.

Another thing, on one of the other videos, you'll also hear clearly in Arabic them saying, "We want to take him alive." Someone says that repeatedly in one of the other videos. So there clearly was an effort at the time to try and take him alive.

Now whether they just lost control of the situation and someone came up and shot him, we don't know. I mean, the NTC are insisting he was shot in the crossfire, as you mentioned.

We've seen elsewhere online one interview with someone who claims to have been at the scene, openly saying, "Yes, we shot him with a 9 millimeter," which contradicts what the NTC are saying that he was hit in the crossfire as clashes continue between pro and anti-Gadhafi forces.

COOPER: I mean it's also hard to tell from the video, there's obviously a lot of blood on his face. It's also -- you know, as with head wounds, though, it's often hard to tell, headwounds bleed a lot, even sometimes if they're not life threatening or potentially fatal head wounds, you could still have a lot of blood. So it can be misleading.

We're not clear, Dan, at this point the extent of his injuries prior to being captured, correct?

RIVERS: No. I mean, what the NTC is saying he was shot in the arm up here somewhere. But you're right. I mean in that video he's clearing bleeding -- it looks like he's bleeding from the head. Now whether that's just as a result of being repeatedly hit around the head, it seems from what we can see there he was being battered, and in some of the other videos as well, you see, you know, arms and fists going in, looking as if he's being batted around the head.

I'm not sure whether that blood is from simply being hit repeatedly or whether he was grazed by a bullet on his head. But we're then told by the NTC, at some point when they are trying to get him into the hospital, he then receives a shot to the head which kills him.

We just don't know. We haven't yet gotten the formal postmortem results. You know we've actually talked to the chief pathologist here in Tripoli who was due to go and look at the body yet. He hasn't done that yet. So I think all the news coming out of Misrata about him being shot in the head is very early stages. I don't think we have the official pathologist look at it yet. But they are sticking to their story that he was killed in the crossfire, not executed by their side.

COOPER: I'm not sure how much it matters to people in Libya or not, or around the world for that matter.

But, Dan Rivers, I appreciate you -- appreciate your reporting. Thanks very much. Stay safe, Dan.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. You can follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting tonight.

Up next, Gadhafi's four-decade reign. It's extraordinary when you think of him from the images we're so used to seeing to those images we just saw of him now, covered in blood. From the coup that launched Gadhafi, the acts of terror he ordered, the efforts to get rid of him, and finally his fall.

We'll take a look back. How the West also helped it happened and what happens next. Fouad Ajami is with us, so is Fran Townsend and former CIA officer Bob Baer.

Later, Ron Paul's debate complaint. He says he was ignored for a long time. But the clock tells a very different story. So what does the campaign say about it? They're speaking out. We're "Keeping Them Honest".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Now Sirte will be known as the place where his 42-year reign of terror ended. Gadhafi's death triggering celebrations that are still going on in the streets across the country. This is the new video that we've just gotten in.

Libya is no longer fearing the brutal force that he used against them. But behind the violence Gadhafi was a deeply unbalanced leader whose odd decisions and curious life often left the rest of the world scratching their heads.

Tom Foreman takes a look back.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a country with little to brag about in recent years, the Libyan rocket was an exception. A sleek, odd-looking automobile. When this prototype was unveiled in 2009, the Libyan government called it the safest car on the planet, designed by Moammar Gadhafi himself, feeding the image of a leader who was colorful to the point of quirky through all four decades of his rule.

Gadhafi always grabbed headlines and often in the strangest ways, whether relaxing with this theatrical celebration of his 40th year in power or ranting during an hour and a half speech at the United Nations, calling swine flu a biological weapon and demanding further investigation into the assassinations of John Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Gadhafi famously traveled for years with a blond Ukrainian nurse always close at hand. And for a period of time he also had an all- female core of bodyguards.

Despite often portraying himself as a simple family man, his home and the homes of his children bore testimony to a long life of huge excess, especially as seen in pictures taken or captured by rebels in recent weeks.

A seaside villa complete with a white baby grand piano, indoor pools, a golden mermaid sofa, overstuffed closets, a bedroom on his private plane. An ever-changing wardrobe kept the world community constantly guessing how he would show up at any public affair and he also wrapped himself in a litany of peculiar likes and dislikes.

(On camera): For example, State Department documents obtained by WikiLeaks say Gadhafi loved horseracing and flamingo dancing, hated flying over water or being in the air for more than eight hours, or staying above the first floor of any hotel.

(Voice-over): Indeed, even in the biggest city such as Paris and New York, he insisted in bringing a Bedouin-style tent along in which to greet visitors, sometimes with a camel as an accessory.

At home, he waged a culture war against Western influence. There were even stories circulating that he said William Shakespeare was an Arab named Sheik Zubair. The battle raged abroad, too. Once after his son Hannibal was accused of assaulting a hotel maid in Switzerland, Gadhafi called on the United Nations to break up the country, dividing it between Germany, France, and Italy.

His occasional interviews only confused matters more. Two years ago, for example, he told CNN's Larry King he was not the leader of Libya any way.

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: You are not the leader of your country?

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (Through Translator): I am the leader of the revolution, not the leader of the country.

KING: There's still a revolution going on.

GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (Through Translator): Yes.

FOREMAN: Now it appears a revolution was indeed brewing. But he was and is a leader no more.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, it's been a remarkable day, a historic day. Let's bring in Fouad Ajami who is often on this program, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Robert Baer, a former CIA officers and the co-author of the book, "The Company We Keep," and national security contributor and former Homeland Security adviser to President Bush, Fran Townsend.

Fouad, I was -- I'm curious all day, I've been wondering about your thoughts as you watch -- as you heard the news today, kind of in drips and drabs and the confirmation, and now to see these very bloody videos of this man who ruled for so long, what were your thoughts?

FOUAD AJAMI, STANFORD UNIVERSITY'S HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, you know, it's very interesting, Anderson. I just forget this person mentioned, I just wrote a piece for "The Wall Street Journal" tomorrow, and wrote something about the oddity, if you will, of getting rid of these dictators, that on the one hand it's such a moment of exhilaration, and on the other, there is a kind of disappointment, anti-climactic, if you will, when discovered that these great figures, that these tyrants, these despots, whom we thought about all the time and wondered about, were actually cowards.

That they were petty men. That Moammar Gadhafi came out of this -- of this rat hole and his request was, don't shoot, don't shoot. And this is a replay, exactly, of what Saddam Hussein did several years earlier. So it's a familiar story, these despots who turned out to be, in a way, fraud to the bitter end.

COOPER: And also, Fouad, I mean, you know, they live with such grandeur in the life, in such, you know, pomposity in their public statements and in their interviews that they give, and -- I mean history shows time after time, they end up -- you know, their bodies bloated laying in a gutter somewhere with a bullet in their head.

AJAMI: Well, that's the life that Moammar Gadhafi chose. You know it's very interesting, Anderson, there was a saying when Moammar Gadhafi came to power in the first year of his administration, we have to say, when he came to power, the Libyans were then saying that they preferred the devil to King Idris, in Arabic it's rhymed very well. It says (speaking in foreign language).

Well, how little did they know? They got the devil and they got him for 42 years and I think oil and the power of oil and the money of oil, and the supplication of oil that other people came to Libya and gave this man what he wanted, it really was this incredible crime against the Libyan people.

COOPER: And, Fran, yet for all that oil and all that money, he spent very little on improving the health system, on the school system, all of which are pathetic in Libya. And there's no excuse for that. There's six million people in Libya, it's smaller than the -- you know, the size and the population in New York City. With all the money, they should all be living incredibly well and they are not.

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. I mean, Anderson, the thing that struck me both in 2007 and I was back in 2010 is the crumbling infrastructure, the roads, the lack of good water, sanitation, schools, as you say.

I mean this is an incredibly rich country which ought to give us some hope for the transitional council. They will have the money that Iraq and other countries do not have. And so they ought to be able to take advantage of it, if unlike Gadhafi, they are willing to put it to the benefit of the Libyan people.

COOPER: Bob Baer, it's interesting, we just had a translator listen to that video that we just received at the top of this hour. The video you're looking at right there. And you can clearly hear in Arabic someone saying, no, no, no, we want him alive, we want him alive.

What do you think happened? I mean do you think we will ever know what really happened?

BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER, CO-AUTHOR, "THE COMPANY WE KEEP": I think somebody you noticed -- usually happens this way walked up and shot him just in the moment of exaltation that these people feel because Gadhafi did run the country into the ground.

This country that had so much potential and he wasted all the money. And you know, everybody is delighted he's gone, except his tribe. For the CIA it's a great victory, too, because in the '80s (INAUDIBLE) Khartoum he tried to bomb one of our facilities, finding (INAUDIBLE) the bomber over at the top and (INAUDIBLE) surprised had missed it by miles. We're fortunate but the man was -- I think was insane and we're better off today.

COOPER: Do you really think he was insane, Bob?

BAER: I think he was. He did just crazy things. I think there is probably little doubt that he was involved in Pan Am 103 and bringing it down, probably other parties. But you know that kind of terrorism -- it was just slaughter. And he lost his country as he should have.

COOPER: Fouad, you know I wondered watching that video, too, what does an Assad in Syria think watching that video? What do these other despots think watching that video? What message does it send, in fact, to the Middle East?

AJAMI: That's exactly the -- that's exactly the (INAUDIBLE) this morning, a man for Aleppo by the name of Rahmad (ph), no last name of course for his security. He posted a note on Al Jazeera blog, and what he said is congratulations to the people of Libya. May what happened in Libya happened here in Syria.

So I think in both Syria and Yemen, where there are two tyrants, very hated, particularly Bashar Assad himself must think about the spectacle that he's seeing and must think about the justice and the retribution that came Moammar Gadhafi's way.

There was a wonderful cartoon, by the way, Anderson. It was drawn by a Syrian cartoonist and he was beaten up severely for it which showed Gadhafi driving a jeep and Bashar hitching a ride with him. So this is the fate of the despots. This is what they do and this is the end they deserve.

COOPER: And Fran, in terms of Libya now moving forward, I mean, this is obviously a huge milestone?

TOWNSEND: It's a tremendous milestone. But Libya faces very serious challenges, though they have the money we talked about from oil revenue, of course there's al Qaeda and the Islamic Maghreb right there in North Africa, and also training along the Mali-Mauritania border near to Libya.

And so there will be those around them who seek to take advantage. There was the Libyan Islamic fighting group that have been an affiliate of al Qaeda. So that's a concern.

There will be tribal differences. There will be Gadhafi loyalists who will melt into the population and look for an opportunity perhaps to launch an insurgency like we saw in Iraq. All of these things --

COOPER: These are the fighters in Northern Niger -- the desert region in Northern Niger coming on --

TOWNSEND: That's exactly right. And so you've these groups outside the border of Libya that will have an interest in seeing if they can take advantage of the chaos. You'll have the internal strife that's bound to happen from loyalists and tribes. And so the transitional council has got its work cut out. It is of course, they want to be better than Gadhafi, they've got to institute civilian institutions and the rule of law. And so they've got a hot long road.

COOPER: Fran Townsend, thank you. Bob Baer, thank you very much. Fouad Ajami, good to have you on as always.

Up next, Ron Paul has a -- well, his campaign has put out some statements about Tuesday night's debate, claiming he didn't get enough talk time. We actually checked the clock. "Keeping Them Honest."

And this wild animal tragedy in Ohio, could it happen again? How are private citizens able to house potentially dangerous, large exotic animals in their backyard? We're digging deeper tonight. We'll talk with Jack Hanna ahead.


COOPER: Our "Keeping Them Honest" tonight focuses on the campaign of Ron Paul, which is complaining about the allege treatment Congressman Paul got in Tuesday's Republican debate.

The campaign is alleging he was ignored and they are doing this to fire up his supporters and raise money for his presidential campaign. It's a fundraising effort.

Normally, we would not respond to these sorts of fundraising complaints, but the campaign is making statements that are not true and we're getting a number of tweets and e-mails from viewers about it.

Like this one, from Rene Debrei, she writes, the land of the no longer free. Is your Ron Paul coverage Soviet propaganda? He won most internet polls. That's just one of many tweets along similar lines.

Here's the complaint from the Ron Paul complaint from the Ron Paul campaign itself in a fundraising e-mail sent under Ron Paul's name to supporters yesterday.

Dear liberty activists, it begins, quote, "At one point in the last hour of last night's CNN Republican debate blacking out almost took on a whole new meaning," meaning the blacking out of Ron Paul.

Quote, they went on to say, "you see, it goes on, it can be awfully hard to be on stage for nearly 40 minutes between speaking. Yes, 40 minutes. That's how long the mainstream media trying to keep my views out of the debate at one point."

Now candidates are welcome to whatever views they may have on the issues, their opponents or the media. But facts are facts, and in this case, the Paul campaign is simply wrong on the facts.

We went back and looked at the tape and looked at the clock. We're timing these things during the debate, but we went back anyway. We spent the last two days recounting.

We didn't count the big videotape introduction or the candidates' introductory statements, which each candidate was allowed to make. To keep things simple, the clock started when the first candidate answered the first question. So now by that count, Ron Paul's first answer began just 6 minutes, 22 seconds into the debate.


RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It raises revenues and the worst part about it is it is regressive. A lot of people aren't paying any taxes. I like that. I don't think we should even things up by raising taxes. It's a regressive tax so it's very, very dangerous and it will raise more revenues.


COOPER: Now, that was part of Ron Paul's first answer, which ran about a minute in length. It ended at 18:46 passed the hour or just 7 minutes and 25 seconds into the actual debate. The clock on the screen is the amount of time since the congressman last spoke.

So take a look. Fast forward a bit, more than 19 minutes. Here's his next answer.


PAUL: He's just adding on more government. There's been a lot of discussion about medicine. But it seems to be talking about, which kind of government management is best. Our problem is we have too much. We've had it for 30, 40 years.

We have Medicare. We have prescription drug programs. We have Medicaid and what we need -- I mean, there's a pretty good support up here for getting rid of Obamacare because it's a Democratic proposal and we want to opt out. I think we'd all agree on this.


COOPER: So that's 38 minutes and 4 seconds past the hour or 19 minutes and 16 seconds from the end of his last answer. From there, zoom ahead another 14 minutes or so and Ron Paul speaks again. Take a look.


PAUL: I think some people do believe that. I think a fence is symbolic of that and I can understand why somebody might look at that.

But when we approach this immigration problem, we should look at the incentives and the mandates of the federal government saying you must educate, you must give them free education. You have to remove these incentives.


COOPER: From there, it's another 4 minutes or so and then he got another answer and then about 11 minutes, the next then 8 minutes, then a minute and so on. So there's no gap longer than 19:16. And certainly nothing like the 40-minute gap that Congressman Paul claims in his fundraising letter.

It just didn't happen. Now we also calculated how many times he spoke and for how long. Eleven times he spoke and just under 10 minutes total. Cain spoke 15 times, but gave such short answers. His talk time was just 9 minutes.

So Herman Cain actually spoke fewer minutes than Ron Paul. Rick Santorum also spoke 11 times and Michele Bachmann spoke 12 times and for a few seconds longer. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry monopolized much of the time with their back and forth confrontation over jobs and immigration particularly early on.

Other candidates also continually threw jabs at Mitt Romney, which then by debate rules, which all these campaigns agreed to necessitated him having more time to respond. Newt Gingrich, it turned out, did the least amount of talking than anyone.

The bottom line, Congressman Paul finished squarely in the middle of the pack when it came to how much time he got on camera, the middle of the pack. We have no bias for him or any of the debaters.

Out of fairness we did get in touch with the Paul campaign to ask them how they square what they say in their fundraising letter, this 40-minute figure they are throwing around with what the clock actually says.

The statement they released to us, the entire statement reads, quote, "Dr. Paul has top fundraising strong polling and the best organization in key early states. It is time for the mainstream media to stop writing their own self-fulfilling prophecy and give equal time to all of the top candidates in this race."

That's it. That's all. Nothing about their nonfactual claim just that. As for the notion that this program has some sort of hidden bias against Ron Paul, which we've heard numerous times, this year alone, Congressman Paul has been on this program seven times.

That is more than all the other Republican candidates and President Obama combined. He's been on seven times more than everybody else combined. He's been open. He's been accessible to us, and is always a welcomed guest.

And for the record, he's always welcome back, any time in the future. Out of fairness, we should mention one other complaint from that fundraising e-mail. The campaign says and I quote, "Closing statements?" Well, some of the candidates got them. I will give you one guess who did it.

In fact, no one was asked or offered a chance to make closing statements. Everyone was asked to make an opening statement and everybody did. There were no plans for closing statements. All the candidates agreed in advance to a 90-minute time line.

In fact, the campaigns insisted on 90-minute time limit. We would to have a two-hour debate. They insisted on 90 minutes, no longer. We hit that limit and two of the candidates, Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich insisted on more time despite what they had agreed to earlier.

I ended the debate after that because we were over the 90 minutes scheduled time. The Ron Paul campaign may have a justified complaint with other reporters or network's treatment of their candidate this election year.

I do not believe their attack is fair or accurate, just for the record. Coming up and again, he's welcome back any time.

Coming up, lingering questions after the tragic events in Ohio, a man setting dozens of wild animals free and then shoots himself. Most of the animals are dead now as well.

We'll show you some of the animals that did get rescued. Why was he keeping so many bears, lions, and tigers on a private farm? We'll take you to another place in Ohio where wild animals are being kept. I'll talk with animal expert, Jack Hanna.

Also ahead, the political battle over one country's budget. It is turning deadly. The latest from Greece when we continue.


COOPER: Well, in Ohio tonight, the crisis is over, but the shock remains after a man freed dozens of wild animals from his farm then shot himself. Sadly, 49 of the animals including wolves, bears, lions, tigers were killed by deputies.

Six animals were captured and taken to the Columbus Zoo. This is one of those animals. One monkey is still unaccounted for. Officials say one of the big cats may have actually eaten that monkey.

Let's dig deeper now tonight. The phenomenon of private citizens owning exotic animals has certainly has presented problems before. That doesn't people from wanting to create their private zoo as Jason Carroll reports.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's feeding time at Tiger Ridge Exotics, a private game reserve just outside of Toledo, Ohio. Leo, the lion is about one of a dozen cats, two grizzlies and two wolves getting lunch from the owner, Kenny Hetrick.

(on camera): Do you ever get nervous when you're feeding the animals?


CARROLL: Never get nervous. Did you ever had a close call?


CARROLL: Hetrick says he has been keeping exotic animals without any violations for more than three decades. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just something I like to do. I've done it for so long, it's part of me.

CARROLL: Hetrick knew Terry Thompson, the man who owned and released 56 wild animals from his farm then took his own life. Sheriff deputies say 49 of them had to be killed. Hetrick says he doesn't know why Thompson snapped, but he worries about what the repercussions will be.

KENNY HETRICK, EXOTIC ANIMAL OWNER: One bad apple ruins the whole barrel. You know, you've heard that before. That's just about what we got going on here in Ohio.

CARROLL: Hetrick says accidents involving exotic animals are rare. That may be true, but when they do happen, the results can be both tragic and violent.

In 2009, a pet chimpanzee attacked a woman in Connecticut. The 911 call from her friend was chilling.

SANDRA: He ripped her apart.

UNIDENTIFIED RESPONDER: He ripped what apart, her face?

SANDRA: Everything. Please hurry. Please, hurry, my God.

CARROLL: In 2005, a 911 operator responds after a man is attacked by two chimps at a private sanctuary in California.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Tell me his injuries and repeat them. They need to know. They tore out his eye.

UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: They tore out his eye?

CARROLL: And in 2003, a man is injured in New York by a tiger that was being kept in his apartment in Harland. No people were hurt after Thompson released his animals in Zanesville, Ohio.

But given the history of exotic animal attacks, the potential was there. The story drawing attention to laws on keeping wild animals. Ohio is one of eight states with the least restrictive laws regarding owning exotic animals.

The few requirements to owning these types of animals in Ohio include, need for entry permit into the state and certificate of veterinary inspection. It's illegal to own exotic animals in 21 states. The sheriffs who had to put down Thompson's escaped animals say the law here should be changed.

JONATHAN MERRY, DEPUTY SHERIFF, MUSKINGUM COUNTY, OHIO: Me and the other deputies were forced into doing in my opinion due to the lax laws in the state of Ohio in reference to exotic animal.

CARROLL: The state's governor has promised tougher legislation. Kenny Hetrick hopes those who do take care for their animals are not punished in the process HETRICK: They got this blown way out of proportion on. Ohio's nothing but a wild west - that's all. There's not a word of truth in that.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, Toledo, Ohio.


COOPER: That was Jason Carroll. Animal expert Jack Hanna was one of the first the scene when the wild animals were on the loose and he was deeply affected by the tragedy of the situation.

He's the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo where six of the surviving animals were taken. I spoke to Jack just a short time ago.


COOPER: Jack, Ohio is one of handful of states that doesn't regulate the ownership of exotic species. The bottom line is should people be allowed to own exotic animals, particularly these large potentially dangerous exotic animals?

JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: If a person is going to own those animals, these large cats, carnivorous cheetahs, lions, whatever it might be, tigers, the answer is no. If they are owning them for a pet or owning them to just some people use the word hoarding or some people used the word of, you know, just having something different.

The answer is they should -- the animal should be taken right away. However, there are -- I mean, here in Texas right now. There are phenomenal people who spent millions of dollars, rhinos, we have their (inaudible) in order for the zoo works to succeed.

So this law is going to be passed in Ohio very quickly. The law will exclude some of those folks who can afford permitting. Anderson, your question is very good. We need to permit this thing.

I'm not saying permit people out of business. But right now, if you're going to pay $100 for permits and inspection for a tiger, that ain't going to fly.

We're talking about, to get a lion or a tiger as you've seen at an auction, it costs about $1,000, that's great, isn't it? But to make a correct habitat, it's $2 million or $3 million. So that's what we have to look at when we're doing this permitting of this new law in Ohio.

COOPER: Owning potentially dangerous animals like this guy Thompson had, it not only puts people at risk, in most cases it's not fair to the animals themselves.

HANNA: You're right. You saw what the happened to the animals yesterday. Did the animals ever want this? Of course, they didn't. Of course, if you saw some of the enclosures, they had some leopards in a bird cages even. I mean, you're talking about all types of different enclosures. If you look at the zoological part, they're all standard. It's not a matter of putting something (inaudible). That's not we're talking about.

Just, I went over to this dump and got this. That's what we had yesterday, which wasn't fair to the animals whatsoever.

COOPER: Is there a large market for these kind of animals?

HANNA: I know some of the media says that the market is growing. The market has grown somewhat, Anderson, but not as bad as it used to be. It used to be beyond comprehension throughout this country.

I saw where the state of Ohio lies as far in the bottom five or six of the country. The question I'm getting asked from all over the world, Australia, everywhere.

The fact that -- how did this happen? The man was cited for many things, but it's amazing. There are no laws for all of this stuff. I'm sitting here going, I can't believe this happened.

COOPER: You actually heard from the man who killed himself and released the animals, you heard from his sister today, right?

HANNA: She called to explain to me that they did love animals, but you love animals yourself and this is carrying the extent that they loved them in such way that enough to know how to clean and then send another tiger and this is a problem tiger.

By the way, I forgot to mention this. Some of these animals could have been problem animals that people didn't want. Now all of a sudden we have a problem hand mall mixed with all of these other animals. They have never been together before, throwing them out in the wild.

This thing, Anderson, couldn't been just a problem for a person. We could have had persons, not be with us today if this thing went through.

ANDERSON: Jack Hanna, appreciate you being with us. Love is not enough. You could love an animal, but it's enough. It doesn't mean that you can care for one or should. Jack, appreciate you being with us. Thanks.

HANNA: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Up next, a key ruling from a judge about Tyler Clemente's past. He's the Rutger student who took his own life. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Coming up, the drama in the cutthroat competition in the world scrabble championships lands on our "Ridiculist." But first, Susan Hendricks joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. Greek lawmakers voting to approve tough budget cutting measures as protests in Athens turns deadly. Tens of thousands of demonstrators march through the capital. Police fired tear gas on violent protesters as you see there. A local hospital says a 53-year-old man died after suffering cardiac arrest.

A key ruling linked to the suicide of Rutger University student, Tyler Clemente. A judge in the web cam trial of his roommate says evidence pertaining to Clemente's possible depression is not relevant to this case. It cannot be presented in court and the trial is said to start February 21st.

The Labor Department reporting a small drop in the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits last week, but the total is still above of 400,000 mark where it's been hovering since April.

And you can say M.C. Hammer is searching for new career path. Yes, he is, unveiling his brand new search engine. It's named "Wire Do." He is taking on giants like Google and Yahoo. Can't get his pants out of my mind, when you think about it.

COOPER: I guess I wish him luck. Thanks very much, Susan.

Coming up, the world scrabble championship. It's all good until a letter "G" goes missing. "The Ridiculist" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist" and tonight we're adding at the world scrabble championships. Baseball had its steroids scandal. Olympic figure skating had the whole Tonya Harding scandal.

But if you really want drama, intriguing, cutthroat competition, look no further in the 2011 World Scrabble Championships. Now, I know what you're thinking, a scrabble tournament.

Double word snore. No, no, this is serious stuff however. So much so, during one game at the championship, a letter "G" mysteriously went missing. A player actually demanded that his opponent be stripped searched.

This guy was sure his opponent was hiding the missing tile somewhere in his nooks and crannies. The thing about a dispute at a scrabble tournament however is, it's one person's word against the other. Thank you very much. I'll be here all week.

The judges declined to have performed the strip search, but they want a thorough investigation into the missing letter and by that I mean they looked around on the floor and made both players empty their pockets, still no tile. So a referee added a new "G" to the game and the competition continued. Crisis averted and, yes, they do have referees. See, the world scrabble championship isn't like the game play at the kitchen table. It's a heart stopping, thrill a minute, no hold barred, roller coaster competitive action. Just ask this guy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They play very hard, specifically words that will be useful for them in the game and the strategy as well is absolutely amazing. And once they get down to the end game, the calculations are just as complicated as they would be in chess.


COOPER: As complicated in chess, which is twice as exciting to watch. So here's the winner of this year's championship, New Zealand's Nigel Richards won clinched the victory by playing the word, omnified, 95 points.

Well played, Nigel. Well played indeed. Now, Nigel was not involved in the cheating accusations. Let's get that clear. But this is actually not the first time there had been cross words at the scrabble championship.

One year, someone actually accused another player of eating a tile. I'm telling you, these word nerds, they mean business. I think the concept of cheating at scrabble all started like most things, of course, with the Simpsons.

COOPER: That was from the first season in 1990. They looked so weird, don't they? Saving the best for last category, I think I'm going to go let Zach (inaudible) have the last word from his "Live with the Purple Onion."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate to be gross, but the only time to yell out, I have diarrhea is when you're playing scrabble.


COOPER: He's right, of course, the word is only worth 12 points, but you get 50 for the bingo. That's what it's called when you use all of your letters. Come to think of it, the premium of squares may be good name for the scrabble club. I've been thinking about starting on "The Ridiculist."

That's it for 360. We'll see you again at 10 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.