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Moammar Gadhafi Killed; Wild Animals on the Loose; Ron Paul Ignored at Debate?

Aired October 20, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good everything, everyone. It is 10:00 p.m. here on East Coast.

We have breaking news, and in just a minute, an exclusive account of Moammar Gadhafi's final moments on Earth comes from a Western reporter currently with Libya's government fighters just outside Sirte, where Gadhafi was born and where today he was flushed out of hiding.

This is new video. We just it a few hours ago. It is a better angle -- watching for the first time -- of the chaos, a wounded Gadhafi clearly alive being manhandled by the crowd, shoved into the back of a Toyota pickup and taken away. Let's watch.

What happened next, however, in the next few moments is unclear. He was finally killed. How he died, we do not yet know. It didn't take long for the death photos surface. Again, we want to warn you, they are very graphic.

But they make it plain this is indeed Gadhafi, and Gadhafi is indeed dead.

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.


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 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, "THE DAILY TELEGRAPH": 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. (AUDIO GAP) 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 dual 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, and three separate videos of the capture, video 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, head wounds 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 will 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."


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 have 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?


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 ARABIC).

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.

FRANCES 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?

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: 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 Libya into the ground.

It's a country that had so much potential, and he wasted all the money. And, you know, everybody is delighted he's gone, except his tribe. And for the CIA, it's a great victory, too, because in the '80s, I was assigned to Khartoum, and he tried to bomb one of our facilities, flying a Tupolev bomber over the top and we were surprised that he missed it by five miles.

We're fortunate, but the man was -- I think he 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 proper question.

There's 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 an 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 have got to institute civilian institutions and the rule of law. And so they have 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 alleged treatment Congressman Paul got in Tuesday's Republican debate. The campaign is alleging he was ignored, and they're doing this to fire up his supporters and raise money for his presidential campaign. It's a fundraising effort.

Now 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 e-mails and tweets from viewers about it. Like this one from Renee Debreeze (ph). She writes, "The land of the no longer free. Is your Ron Paul coverage Soviet propaganda? He actually won most Internet polls." It's just one of many tweets along similar lines.

Here's the complaint from the Ron Paul campaign itself in a fundraising email sent under Ron Paul's name to supporters yesterday. "Dear liberty activists," it begins, quote, "At one point in the fist 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," they wrote. "That's how long the mainstream media tried to keep my views out of the debate at one point."

Now, candidates are welcome to whatever views they may have on the issues or opponents and 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 and spent the last two days recounting. We didn't count the big videotaped 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 6:22 into the debate.


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


COOPER: Now, that was part of Ron Paul's first answer, which ran about a minute in length. It ended at 18:46 past the hour, or just 7 minutes, 25 seconds into the actual debate. So take a look. Fast forward a bit. More than 19 minutes. Here's his next answer.


PAUL: ... more government. There's been a lot of discussion about medicine, but it seems to me talking about which kind of government management is best. But the problem is, we have too much. We've had it for 30, 40 years. We had 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 Obama care, because it's a Democratic proposal. And we want to opt out. I think we can all agree on this.


COOPER: That's 38 minutes, four 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 but "I don't think it..."


COOPER: From there, it's another four minutes or so, and then he got another answer. Then, about 11 minutes the next, then 8 minutes, then a minute and so on. So there's no gap longer than 19 minutes and 16 seconds, and it's certainly nothing like the 40-minute gap that Congressman Paul claims in his fundraising letter. It just didn't happen.

And we also calculated how many times he spoke and for how long. Eleven times he spoke and just under ten minutes total. Herman Cain spoke 15 times but gave such short answers, his talk time was just nine 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.

Now Mitt Romney and Rick Perry monopolized much of the time with their back-and-forth confrontations 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 agree to, necessitated him having more time to respond. So Newt Gingrich, it turned out, did the least amount of talking of 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. Middle of the pack. We have no bias for or against 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 were 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." 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 Paul campaign 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 didn't."

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 limit. In fact, the campaigns insisted on a 90-minute time limit. We would have like to have had a two-hour debate. They insisted on 90 minutes, no longer.

We hit that limit and two of the candidates, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, insisted on more time, despite what they had agree to earlier. I ended the debate after that. We were over the 90-minute scheduled time.

The Ron Paul campaign may have a justified complaint with other reporters or networks' treatment of their candidate this election year. I do not believe their attack on us 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, then shoots himself. Most of the animals are dead now, as well. We'll show you some of the animals that did get rescued.

The question, of course, tonight: 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 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 and 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.

Dig deeper tonight, the phenomenon of private citizens owning exotic animals. That certainly has presented problems before. That doesn't stop people from wanting to create their own private zoos. Jason Carroll reports.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's feeding time at Tiger Ridge Exotics, a private game reserve just outside of Toledo, Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't have it all at once.

CARROLL: Leo the lion is one of about a dozen big cats, two grizzlies and two wolves getting lunch from owner Kenny Hetrick.

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


CARROLL: You never get nervous. You've ever had a close call?

HETRICK: Every day.

CARROLL (voice-over): Hetrick says he's been keeping exotic animals without any violations for more than three decades.

HETRICK: I just love to do it. It's just something I like to do. I've done it for so long, it's like it's part of me.

CARROLL: Hetrick knew Terry Thompson, the man who owned and released 56 wild animals from his farm and then took his own life. Sheriff's 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 might be.

HETRICK: One bad apple ruins the whole barrel. You've heard that before. That's just what we've 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. A 911 call from [SIC] her friend was chilling.

SANDRA HEROLD, CHIMP OWNER: She's dead, he ripped her apart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ripped what apart, her face?

HEROLD: Everything. Please hurry! Please, please hurry! Oh, my God.

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

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They tore out his eye?

CARROLL: And in 2003, a man is injured in New York by Ming the tiger. He'd kept it as a pet in his apartment in Harlem.

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: Me and the other deputies were forced into doing it, in my opinion, due to the lax laws in the state of Ohio in reference to exotic animals.

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've got this blown way out of proportion. Ohio is nothing but a wild west. That's all -- there's not a word of truth to that

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, Toledo, Ohio.


COOPER: That was Jason Carroll.

Animal expert Jack Hanna was one of the first on the scene when the wild animals were on the loose and 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 with Jack just a short time ago.


COOPER: So Jack, Ohio is one of a 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, carnivores, cheetahs, lions, whatever it might be, tigers, the answer is no. If they're owning them for a pet or owning them to just -- some people use the word hoarding or some people use the word, you know, just having something different, the answer is they should be -- the animal should be taken and arrested right away.

However, there are private breeders. I'm here in Texas right now. There are phenomenal people, spend millions of dollars -- rhinos, hoof stock, we have to have their gene pools in order for the zoo world to succeed.

So this law is going to be passed in Ohio very quickly. The law is going to exclude some of those folks who can afford permitting.

Your -- Anderson, your question is very good. What we need to do is permit this thing. I'm not saying permit people out of business. But right now, if you're going to pay $100 for permit, say, and then for inspections for a tiger, that ain't going to fly. We're talking about, to get a lion or a tiger, as you've seen here at an auction or wherever, it costs, I don't know, $1,000. That's great, isn't it? But to make a correct tiger habitat, it's 2 to $3 million. And so that's what we have to look at when we're doing this permitting and this new law in Ohio.

COOPER: Owning -- 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: That's a very good -- you're right. It's not fair to the animals themselves. You saw what 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 up there, they had some leopards in type of bird cage, even, about a big cage, looks like a bird cage. I mean, you're talking about enclosures, all types of enclosures, you know.

If you look at a zoological park, they're all standard. It's not a matter of putting off behind a piece of chain link here: "I went over here to this dump and got this." That's not what I'm talking about. This what we had here yesterday, which wasn't fair to the animals whatsoever.

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

HANNA: Well, I know that some of the media said 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. And I saw where the state of Ohio lies, as far as in the bottom, obviously, bottom six or five or whatever in the country.

The question I'm getting asked from all over the world, Australia, everywhere, is the fact that -- how did this happen? You know. You look at this. The man was cited for many things. But it's amazing, isn't it? There were no laws. There are no laws for all of this stuff. Which just -- I'm sitting here going, I can't believe this -- this happened.

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

HANNA: Correct. She called to explain to me that -- that they did love animals. They sincere loved animals. But you know animal people, Anderson. You kind of love animals yourself. But this is carrying it to the extent that they loved them in such a way that do they really what clean is? Do they know what the proper housing is? Do they know -- they start getting one tiger, and all of a sudden, somebody, "Here, here's another tiger." And they want to send them a tiger. All of a sudden, "This is a problem tiger."

And by the way, I forgot to mention this. Some of these animals could have been problem animals that people didn't want. So all of a sudden, now we have a problem animal mixed with all these other animals. And you can imagine, most of these animals had never been together before, so we're throwing them all out in the wild together. This thing, Anderson, could have been just a -- a problem for a person. We could have had persons not be with us today if this thing had gone through.

COOPER: Yes. Jack Hanna, appreciate you being with us. I mean, love is not enough. You can love an animal, but it's not enough. It doesn't mean you can care for one in your shed. Jack, appreciate you being with us. Thanks.

HANNA: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: Up next, a key ruling from a judge about Tyler Clementi's past. He's the Rutgers student who took his own life. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. More from Anderson in just a moment, but first, a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

Greek lawmakers voted to approve tough budget-cutting measures as protests in Athens turned deadly. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the capital, as you see here. Police fired tear gas at violent protestors. A local hospital says a 53-year-old man died after suffering cardiac arrest.

A key ruling linked to the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. A judge in the Web cam spying trial of his roommate, Dharun Ravi, says evidence pertaining to Clementi's possible depression is not relevant to the case and cannot be presented in court. The trial is set to start February 21.

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

COOPER: And coming up, the world Scrabble championship. It's all good until a letter "G" goes missing. Then it's just "ood." "The RidicuList" is next.


COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we're adding the Scrabble-rousers 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, intrigue and cutthroat competition, look no further than the 2011 World Scrabble Championships in Poland.

Now, I know what you're thinking, a Scrabble tournament? Double word snore. No, no, no. This is serious stuff, however. So much so that during one game at the championship, when a letter "G" mysteriously went missing, a player actually demanded that his opponent be strip-searched. Yes, strip-searched. This guy was sure his opponent was hiding the missing tile somewhere in some nooks and crannies.

The thing about a dispute at a Scrabble tournament, however, is it's one person's word against another.


COOPER: Thank you. Thanks very much. I'll be here all week.

The judges declined to perform the strip search, but they did launch 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 the 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 you played at the kitchen table. It's a heart-stopping, thrill-a-minute, no-holds-barred, roller-coaster of competitive action. Just ask this guy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys 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, and there's a point or two in it (ph), their calculations really are just as complicated as they would be in chess.


COOPER: As complicated as chess, and easily twice as exciting to watch.

So here's the winner of this year's championship, New Zealand's Nigel Richards, who 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 keep that clear. But this is actually not the first time there have 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 all things, of course, with "The Simpsons."




SMITH: Not I.D., Dad. Id. It's a word.

NANCY CARTWRIGHT, VOICE OF BART SIMPSON: As in this game is stup-id. My turn. Jywjibo, J-W-Y-J-I-B-O, 22 points. Plus, triple word score, plus 50 points for using all my letters. Game's over. I'm out of here.


COOPER: That was from the first season in 1990. They looked so weird back then, didn't they?

Anyway, but in the "saving the last category," I think I'm going to go let Zach Galifianakis have the last word from his movie, "Live at the Purple Onion."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ZACH GALIFIANAKIS, COMEDIAN: I hate to be gross but the only time it's good to yell out, "I have diarrhea" is when you're playing Scrabble.


COOPER: He's right, of course, the world is only worth 12 points. But you get 50 for the "bingo." That's what it's called when you use all your letters. A 62 minimum, not even counting any premium of squares you might hit.

Come to think of it, the "Premium Squares" might be a good name for the Scrabble club I've been thinking about starting on "The RidicuList."

Hey, that's it for "360." Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.