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Lance Armstrong's Confession

Aired January 18, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Breaking news tonight: Lance Armstrong's confession continued. It's over now. Tonight, on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, the disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner sort of broke down telling Oprah what it was like as a father of five kids to lie to a child, to lie to a son, his son Luke.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST: When this all really started, I saw my son defending me and saying, that's not true. What you're saying about my dad is not true. And it almost goes to this question of why now. You know, he can't -- yes. That's when I knew I had to tell him.


ARMSTRONG: I said, listen, there's been a lot of questions about your dad, my career, whether I doped or did not dope. I have always denied that, and I have always been ruthless and defiant about that. You guys have seen that. That's probably why you trusted me on it, which makes it is even sicker.

And I said I want you to know that it's true. I told Luke. I said -- I said: "Don't defend me anymore. Don't."

WINFREY: Did he say anything?

ARMSTRONG: He just said: "Look, you know, I love you. You're my dad. This won't change that."


COOPER: Emotional moments, no tears visible, but probably the most emotional Lance Armstrong got in the whole two-and-a-half-hour interview.

Armstrong talked about another painful moment when the cancer foundation he founded, LIVESTRONG, said it was through with him.


ARMSTRONG: None of my kids have said, dad, you're out. None of my friends have said, hey, Lance, you're out. The foundation is like my sixth child, and to make that decision and to step aside was -- that was big.

WINFREY: They made it for you.

ARMSTRONG: I was aware of -- I wouldn't at all say forced out, told to leave. I was aware of the pressure, and, yes, I had interactions with Doug and with some of the board members. It was the best thing for the organization, but it hurt like hell.


COOPER: Lance Armstrong with Oprah on the OWN network tonight.

Last night in part one he admitted he was living, in his words, one big lie and that every Tour de France yellow jersey he won, he won by cheating. He copped to the doping. He did not, however, admit what hundreds of pages of evidence establishes, that he was a lot more than just a user, that he encouraged others on his team to dope, that he pressured them.

Joining me now, the people who know Lance Armstrong like few others do. Betsy Andreu, whose husband, Frankie, rode with Lance Armstrong, she is joining us on the phone, also Daniel Coyle, co- author with former Armstrong teammate and whistle-blower Tyler Hamilton of the book "The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs." Also, Bill Strickland is here. He's an editor-at-large at "Bicycling" magazine, and our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Betsy, just first of all, your thoughts. You didn't actually watch the second part of the interview, but now on the totality of what he has said, your thoughts tonight?

BETSY ANDREU, WIFE OF ARMSTRONG'S FORMER TEAMMATE: Yes. I didn't. I couldn't watch the interview tonight not because I didn't want to. I taped it. I will watch it.

I have been asked a lot, and for me it's a sense of relief more than vindication, but it's a tremendous sense of sadness. Yesterday, I was obviously visibly upset, and today, it's as you said, the totality, it's a sense of sadness.

COOPER: Sadness about what?

ANDREU: How it has affected so many people -- in such a destructive in such a destructive way.

That's why. I mean, it hurts. Obviously, it has a toll on Lance. So many people in the saga have been hurt. I don't know if you touched upon Greg LeMond, for example, his children, people who just defended him to the ninth -- it hurt the sport of -- or the 10th, whatever you say.

He hurt the sport of cycling. He caused it irreparable damage.

COOPER: After all he did to you, do you feel sorry for him?

ANDREU: Yes, I kind of do.

COOPER: Does that surprise you?

ANDREU: Yes, considering last week, I wasn't showing -- it was more eye for an eye, tooth for the tooth.

And this week, it doesn't mean I think he should get off in any way, shape, or form, because my fear is if he were to get a slap on the wrist, things would go back to the way they were, because after he had cancer, he became a person that I didn't almost -- I didn't recognize.

So we have to wait and see. We have to see what's next. I hope that he will testify to USADA and tell the truth, and the right thing can be done. I have always said -- he's hurt a lot of people. It can't be underestimated how much he has hurt people, and I don't even think he really understands the emotional toll, the mental toll, the financial toll, but he's going to -- he has to pay the price some way, somehow.

And living in his own hell isn't going to -- I don't know if that's going to suffice, but, again, I don't know. I'm a mixed bag of emotions right now.

COOPER: You're saying he needs to testify. He actually wasn't asked about that by Oprah about whether or not he would testify.

He was -- he talked about the punishment that he faces, about being banned from competition. He said: "I would love the opportunity to compete. I think I deserve it," that he says he thinks he deserves...

ANDREU: Wait. He said he thinks he deserves it tonight?

COOPER: Yes. He said quote -- he said: "I think I deserve it. He also said everybody else got a six-month suspension." Oprah said, "Did you get what you deserve? He said: "I deserve to be punished. I'm not sure I deserve a death penalty." I just want to play this sound here.


ARMSTRONG: This may not be the most popular answer, but I think I deserve it, maybe not right now, but if you look at the situation, if you look at the culture and you look at the sport and you see the punishments -- that's why I told you if I could go back to that time and say, OK, you're trading my story for a six-month suspension? That's what people got.

WINFREY: Which is what other people got.

ARMSTRONG: What everybody got. So I got a death penalty and then I got...

WINFREY: Meaning you can never compete again.

ARMSTRONG: In anything. And that's not -- I'm not saying that that's unfair necessarily, but I'm saying it's different.

WINFREY: Do you think you have gotten what you deserve?

For a long time you were saying everybody was on the witch-hunt, on the witch-hunt, on the witch-hunt for you. Do you think in this moment considering how big you were, what that meant, how much people believed, what your name and brand stood for?



ARMSTRONG: I deserve to be punished. I'm not sure that I deserve a death penalty.


COOPER: For the record, he does not have a death penalty. He's not allowed to compete in sanctioned sporting again.

Betsy, you're hearing that for the first time. What do you think?

ANDREU: In a way, I really -- I don't think he understands the magnitude of what he's done. He keeps saying that it was the culture, it was the culture, it was the culture. Well, you can say it was the culture of baseball to break the home run record to be a doper.

That doesn't mean that everybody succumbed and gave in and took steroids to hit a ball far. So I think he's trying to reason this out, and he's just not -- he's just not being -- he's just not being logical. I think he's being a little delusional. Bill -- what does Bill -- I'm going to bill because...

COOPER: Well, let's bring in Bill Strickland.

Bill, what do you think?


I think what we're seeing here is someone who maybe doesn't know how to tell the truth or look inside and see the truth. I thought the most riveting part when he was talking about his kids was when he said, they just accepted it, as if he couldn't imagine that humans would just love him even if he'd made mistakes.

I thought that was such an insight into him.

COOPER: I found it interesting in talking about his son, which was -- clearly he was moved by it, but there wasn't any actual breakdown. There wasn't -- that's the most human I have ever seen him, and even then to me, it wasn't that human. What did you think?

DANIEL COYLE, AUTHOR, "THE SECRET RACE": To people who know him well -- I have had some conversations in the last day from former teammates who watched the interview, and it's almost like you have to adjust the contrite level on your screen.

They saw yesterday and I'm sure they saw today as being the most -- they were stunned at how contrite he was. And the rest of us, a lot of Americans who didn't know him as well, saw that and said, boy, he doesn't seem very moved.

It's almost like he's got this suit of emotional armor on that he's having a hard time breaking out of, and clearly I think Betsy's point is great. He's sitting in a crater and it's not all logical, is it? He's trying to make connections, he's trying to think his way out, he's trying to talk his way out, make a story on his way out, and it's sort of not working.


COOPER: Go ahead, Betsy.

ANDREU: Well, I was going to say when Frankie and I spoke with him, we truly -- we felt that he was sincere and he was genuine, and the way he was on the phone with us, and I don't want to go into detail -- but the way he was on the phone with us was far different than he's portraying himself on TV.

I don't know if it's because he was very nervous or if he's trying to be stoic or have a stiff upper lip. I don't know. But I think it would have been a great benefit to him maybe to let that guard down, but I agree with Bill. Part of the problem here is telling the truth and being contrite, apologizing, it's inconceivable to us, but it's a new concept to Lance.

COOPER: He was asked by Oprah, "Can you feel how you have shattered other people's lives?" His response was, "Yes." He also said he didn't try to pay off USADA.

I just want to play one more sound bite from his apology.


ARMSTRONG: We talked about apologies, and I told you that I owe a lot of people apologies. And the obvious ones, the ones that we know by name, the Frankies, the Betsys, the Greg LeMonds, the Tyler Hamiltons, the Floyd Landises, the Emma O'Reillys, I owe them apologies. Whenever they are ready, I will give them.


COOPER: Jeff, you wanted to...

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, just what was he trying to accomplish here? That remains puzzling to me.

He talks about being reinstated, that he thinks he should be reinstated. He's 41 years old. His career as an elite athlete was over anyway.

COOPER: He said he would love to run in the Chicago marathon at age 50.

TOOBIN: OK. But is that something that's -- that's so different from what he used to be, to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack in the Chicago Marathon nine years from now.

COOPER: No, but he's dominated triathlons. He could be -- a triathlon is a huge sport in this country. He could be a big name in the world of triathlon.

TOOBIN: In this -- the world of triathlons, that's a tiny world. That's compared to the Tour de France?

COOPER: Well, yes, compared to the Tour de France, but triathlons are a big sport.

Jeff, I don't know how often you're running out there, but there are a lot of folks competing in triathlons. And there's a lot of sporting events. It's not the scale of the Tour de France, but there are a lot of events in which he would like -- he's a competitor. He wants to compete. Right?

COYLE: Well, you can also time yourself and see if you can beat your next time. You can also be a normal weekend athlete.

I agree with Jeff. It's a puzzle that he would do this; 4.3 million people watched this last night. It turned into sort of a Super Bowl. But Lance turns everything into a little bit of a Super Bowl. That's what being Lance is. He's always had this almost cinematic sense of self that he's always been filmed in his own movie.

He's almost addicted to that notion of himself as a hero. I think that's one of the more moving things at the end where she said, what kind of human being are you, and he didn't have much of an answer, did he?

COOPER: We have to take a quick break. We will have more with our panel right on the other side. We will be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back. More on the breaking news, Lance Armstrong's own words tonight, some ugly stuff, how he tarnished the cancer foundation he founded, how he betrayed his friends, his fans, the people who cared about him.

Part two tonight of his interview with Oprah Winfrey aired just moments ago on her network OWN. It is over now. In it, Armstrong talks about the staggering financial empire that he built that crumbled in a single day.


ARMSTRONG: I have lost -- lost certainly lost all future income.

WINFREY: Emotional? ARMSTRONG: And you could look at the day or those two days or day-and-a-half where people left, and I want to give you a number. You asked me the cost. I don't like thinking about it, but that was -- I don't know. That was a $75 million day.

WINFREY: That just went out of your life.



ARMSTRONG: Gone, and probably never coming back.


COOPER: I'm back with our panel, Betsy Andreu on the phone, author Daniel Coyle, "Bicycling" magazine's Bill Strickland, also our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

His fortune has been estimated upwards of $100 or more. Do you think it's fair to say all of that -- that Lance Armstrong would not be Lance Armstrong if it were not for his doping? Had he not doped, he wouldn't have that money. Oprah wouldn't -- we wouldn't be sitting here talking about him because he wouldn't have achieved all the things, the fame, the endorsements all of that had he not doped.


ANDREU: But isn't -- that's all stolen money. I'm jumping up and down here saying, are you kidding me? You lost $75 million? Boohoo-hoo-hoo. I am -- yes, he's not getting it.

What about Greg LeMond's bike company? That was completely destroyed. It doesn't make sense. What about Scott Mercier not having a career, (INAUDIBLE) not having a career? other guys who didn't want what he wanted them to do not having a career? You can't put a price on opportunity lost.

We're not even talking about millions of dollars. We're talking about people who just want to make a living so they can pay a mortgage and save some money after.

COOPER: And all the people who were never able to accomplish or reach the heights that -- you know, of fame that could have brought them income because Lance Armstrong had the entire spotlight and it was based on doping.

COYLE: Tyler Hamilton's wife once said Lance Armstrong is like Donald Trump who sees a small grocery store and wants to put them out of business. He soaked up all the sunlight, he soaked up all the energy, all the money of that sport, of that era.

COOPER: And Greg LeMond, when I was -- prior to Lance Armstrong, Greg LeMond was -- I don't know much about the world of cycling, but I remember Greg LeMond. He had an incredible story. He was this incredible competitor after Lance Armstrong. And Lance Armstrong, as Betsy said, went after Greg LeMond. Do you think Lance Armstrong gets it, Bill?

STRICKLAND: I think he gets that he should get it, and I think what we're seeing here is I think he's really struggling with it. What's interesting to me is there's sort of parallel views of this going on. There's a lot of people who are skeptical.

But I was reading all the reactions today from Jonathan Vaughters and Tyler Hamilton and Frankie Andreu. They have all acknowledged how hard it is just to do what he's done, and Frankie in a report today was saying until you sit down and start talking to USADA, you don't know how hard that is.

But the people who were there and made the mistakes he did in a smaller way, they seem to have more empathy for him than everyone else. Interesting.

COOPER: Oprah asked about paying off -- allegations that he attempted to pay off USADA or somebody in his world attempted to pay off USADA. Let's listen to what he said.


WINFREY: Last Wednesday night, Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA, told "60 Minutes Sports" that someone on your team offered a donation which USADA did not accept. He said it was over $150,000. Were you trying to pay off USADA?

ARMSTRONG: No. That's not true.

WINFREY: That is not true?

ARMSTRONG: That is not true. And in the 1,000-page reasoned decision that they issued, there was a lot of stuff in there.


ARMSTRONG: Everything was in there.


COOPER: And he's saying it wasn't in that 1,000-page report.

Do you buy that because Travis Tygart had said that on "60 Minutes Sports"?

COYLE: I would believe Travis.

ANDREU: Travis.

COOPER: Betsy, you would agree?

ANDREU: Travis, yes. My vote is for Travis.

TOOBIN: By the way, Travis Tygart is a huge hero in all of this. There's a guy who was attacked by Lance, sued, you know, who was marginalized in the sports world and he's completely vindicated by these events.

And, you know, we will see if Lance Armstrong actually cooperates with USADA. It's one thing to sit there with Oprah Winfrey and have the whole world stare at you and feed your ego in a perverse way. Sitting there with Travis Tygart and actually going through where did you get the drugs, who gave it to you...


COOPER: Because he really did not go into much detail. I mean, he kind of said it all blends together, I don't remember being in a tent and doing this. He kind of gave broad brush strokes.

TOOBIN: Very vague.

COOPER: But there was not a lot of in depth, yes, this is how the whole operation works.

COYLE: And that takes time and that takes many, many interviews and that takes a lot of energy and that takes him facing all these things he's repressed for so long. It's not something you can flip a switch and do.

COOPER: We talked about whether or not he gets it. He talked about that tonight. Let's listen.


WINFREY: When something like this happens, what you hope is that it leaves an impression that causes a shift or a change within you. Has that happened with you yet?

ARMSTRONG: I would be lying if I said that it has. Again, I keep going to this word and this idea of process. I got work to do, and it's -- I can't -- there's not going to be one tectonic shift here that says, OK, he's on it. He's on his way. He's good now.


COOPER: He talked about this being a process a lot, and he talked about that he's now in more regular therapy, that he's been in therapy on and off over years, but he needs to be in regular therapy. He talked about being willing to apologize to people when they're willing to hear it and ready to hear it.

But the question is, will he testify? Will he actually, you know, name names of other folks and will he go in front of USADA?

TOOBIN: And he's going to be spending plenty of times in courtrooms over the next few years, too. He's going to be subpoenaed in these lawsuits to get the money back from the sponsors, to get the money back from the Tour de France, and potentially in Floyd Landis' whistle-blower. He's not going to have a choice but to answer more questions about this and he's likely to have a pretty ugly time.

COOPER: Do you still think, Jeff, from a legal standpoint it was a mistake for him to do this?

TOOBIN: Total awful mistake.

COOPER: Really?

TOOBIN: Maybe he was dealing with some psychological thing and maybe he wanted to prove to his son he could tell the truth, and that's very important and maybe it's more important than the legal side of things.

But from the legal side of things in terms of his civil liability, this was a huge mistake.

COOPER: Betsy, I want to play you something that he said about his ex-wife Kristin and what she knew about the doping. Let's listen.

ANDREU: Oh, my God.


WINFREY: Was Betsy telling the truth about the Indiana hospital, overhearing you in 1996?

ARMSTRONG: I'm not going to take that on and I'm laying down on that one.

WINFREY: Was Betsy lying?

ARMSTRONG: I'm just not -- I'm going to put that one down. She asked me and I asked her not to talk about the details of the call. It was a confidential, personal conversation.

WINFREY: What you said.


COOPER: Sorry. That was obviously the wrong bite. We played that bite from yesterday. And Betsy already reacted to that.

Let's play the bite about Kristin. Let's play that.


ARMSTRONG: She wasn't that curious. Perhaps she didn't want to know. She certainly knew, but didn't -- need-to-know basis. I guess maybe I protected her a little bit from that.


COOPER: He went on to say, Betsy, that the reason -- or that he made a promise, that she asked him not to dope if he made a comeback for the 2009-2010, and he got -- that it was a serious request, a hard request by her, and he made a vow to her that he would not dope for his comeback. And that's -- I guess the idea being that's why he didn't dope and why he lived up to that promise. Do you buy that?

ANDREU: I don't.

And this is a very touchy subject for me, because I almost have more of a disdain for the people who aided and abetted Lance than I did -- than I did for Lance or do for Lance. I think it's really disingenuous to -- according to Mike Anderson, didn't she stuff money in her Chanel jacket, and there were -- wasn't there anything hidden in the baby carriage?

I mean, I have a real problem, and I don't want to -- it couldn't have been easy to be married to Lance, not at all. She distributed drugs. I mean, Dan wrote that she distributed drugs for Lance. And I have a huge problem with -- a huge problem with that because I really think a lot of these women, they love the lifestyle, because in Europe cycling is completely different than it is in the United States, and obviously Lance and Kristin were making a lot of money. A lot of people were making a lot of money.

And I think a lot of these women loved the money, and they didn't care if their husbands were doping, because you could afford the Louis Vuitton and you could afford the Cartier sunglasses. So I have a problem with that, a big, big, big problem with that, because I never blogged about morality. I never blogged about doing the right thing. I tried to walk the talk, and we see what -- we see what happened, so I'm not so sure I buy that because -- yes.

COOPER: Daniel?

COYLE: There's an account in the USADA report that refers to Kristin Armstrong wrapping cortisone pills in foil and handing them out at the world championships one year before Lance got cancer, I think.

And there are other accounts that link her loosely to being present when testosterone pills were being handed to Floyd Landis -- testosterone patches, rather. So, yes, she -- there was some connection there.

And it did seem -- when Lance did say that, get to that point of the interview that he swore a vow to his ex-wife that he was going to do his comeback clean, Bill and I both looked to each other and sort of shook our heads, because it sounded unlikely. It didn't pass the smell test and it also didn't pass the scientific test they did on Armstrong's blood, which showed...

COOPER: Explain this passport.

COYLE: They basically are matching -- they're looking at a signature of your blood, how many young red blood cells there are and what your hematocrit is. And they produce a chart. It produces sort of a scatter plot.

And when in early season all of his -- he had very few. It looked one way and then right before the tour, it looked completely different, and that's what they looked at. They said this is clear signs, very consistent, as they said, one in a million chance that it would happen naturally. COOPER: One in a million chance.

COYLE: One in a million.

COOPER: This is for the 2009-2010...


COYLE: That's correct. That's correct. So, one in a million chance it would happen naturally. So they determined this was sign that his blood had been manipulated.

And since transfusions aren't directly detectable, that's the only way to detect them.

ANDREU: Anderson, if I can just add, a really good Web site to go to and you can read an interview with Michael Lasitan (ph), who is one of the scientists who helped to create the test which detected EPO, is, and there's a fascinating interview there with him. And it will explain all the scientific, I guess, evidence and everything that is very confusing in all of this.

COOPER: We've got to take another quick break. Oprah also asked Armstrong about making amends to all the people he's hurt, all the people he's lied to, he's let down, all the people that believed in him, defended him. Does he think he can make it up to them? His answer when we come back.


COOPER: Welcome back. Part two of Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey is over. He talked about betraying his children and finally coming clean. He talked about betraying the sport. And a lot of people don't think he's fully admitted his transgressions there.

And then there's this. Oprah Winfrey asked him how he answers to all of the people that he inspired and let down.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW MOGUL: What do you say to those millions of people who believed?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, DISGRACED CYCLIST: I say I understand your -- your anger, your -- your sense of betrayal. You supported me forever, through all of this, and you believed, and I lied to you. And I'm sorry. And I will spend -- I will spend, and I am committed to spending as long as I have to, to make amends, knowing full well that I won't -- I won't get very many back.


COOPER: Back with our panel. Betsy Andreu; author Daniel Coyle; "Bicycling" magazine's Bill Strickland; and our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. Betsy, he said he's going to spend as long as it takes to make amends. Could he ever regain you and your husband's trust?

ANDREU: Who knows? I mean, this is -- you know, again, it's a range of emotions, because we talked to him on the phone. He seemed sincere. And then he goes on national TV and stuff comes out of his mouth. And I was just -- I don't -- he's cherry picking what the truth is. And I don't -- I mean, he's trying to justify why some people did some stuff, and he's trying to protect a lot of people, and he doesn't -- he just doesn't get -- he doesn't -- does not get the hurt that he's caused people.

He's crying -- not crying but saying $75 million, he lost that, and it's never going to come back. Well, maybe he can take one ever Oprah's life lessons. She can hire him, and she can advertise that. I don't think he gets it. I don't think he gets it.

And so I don't know. I mean, I know this is a process, and I know it's baby steps, and I know he's going to make mistakes, but it just seems like this is not going very well.

COOPER: Bill, do you think it was a mistake for him to do it in this way?

STRICKLAND: I don't know. Obviously, it would have been better for him to do it in private, whether that was with a therapist or with, you know, like Tyler and Daniel were able to work through. But this is just so big that it's just -- it's kick-started it into a -- you know, into a whole different realm. I don't know if that's good for him or not. It seems to be the only way he can live.

COOPER: It was interesting, Oprah ask him whether or not -- whether he owes an apology to David Walsh, one of the, you know, few journalists who was on this story from long, long ago, who was isolated by Lance, attacked by Lance Armstrong. And he sort of said...

TOOBIN: And sued by Lance Armstrong.

COOPER: Right. He sort of said offhandedly, I'd apologize to Dave. That was basically it. Which I thought was interesting. I mean, this is a guy who, you know, was right about him from -- from early, early on.


COOPER: He's obviously known for being extraordinarily driven, and that, I think, really comes out in this interview. He was asked by Oprah about his state of mind. I just want to play this.


WINFREY: Were you ever in a position where you felt like, "Wow, I don't want to get out of bed." I know you've been running and jogging. Did it hit you to the point of "I don't know what to do"? ARMSTRONG: I've been -- I've been to a dark place that was not my doing. I've been to a place where I didn't know if I was going to live a month, six months, a year, five years, ten years. It's helped me now.

I mean, this is not a good time, but it isn't the worst part of my life. I mean, you cannot compare this to a diagnosis and an advanced diagnosis and 50/50 odds or whatever the odds are. That is -- that sets the bar. It's close, but I'm an optimist.


COOPER: Oprah actually at one point used the word "sociopath" and "narcissist," and he sort of -- he chimed in with narcissist. I'm not sure how, if he -- he didn't say anything about the sociopath thing but -- do you -- also one of the things, Betsy, that he talked about. Oprah asked him about why he tweeted out that picture of him in Austin laying on the couch and looking at all his jerseys, and he said that at the time he actually thought that was a good idea. He now realizes it was a bad idea.

But it is amazing when you think, that wasn't that long ago. And that was right after the USADA report came out. So he was defiant and -- I mean, that was his mind frame, what was that, a few weeks ago.

TOOBIN: Can we just also say -- I mean, I'd just like to say for myself I thought Oprah did a phenomenal job. I thought -- you know, a lot of us were prepared to say, "Oh, just a bunch of softballs, New Age nonsense. Oprah." This was great. I thought as a journalist, you know, she just did a terrific job...

COOPER: I think she did an excellent job.

TOOBIN: And showing that photo, the tweeted photo with the yellow jerseys, she -- the question she asked, what is that? And I thought that was exactly the right question. What is that? Who does something like that?

COYLE: You know, there's something child-like about Lance. There's something child-like, sort of amoral about his desire. He sees something, and he tries to get it with every fiber of his being which makes him very unique on the bike, makes him unique as a cancer activist. But you see how negative that can be. It's like he's -- he's stuck at some age.

COOPER: Betsy, he characterized the emotion of why he tweeted that as just defiance.

ANDREU: Well, I think he's going to look back and see this interview as the same thing. Well, I think it's a good idea and he's going to look back, and he's going to say, "I don't think I should have done it."

But I truly do not think -- it was a -- she did not know the detail of the sport to ask follow-up questions. Example, for the hospital room, she could have said, "Lance, yes or no." Did she ask about Craig Nichols? Did she ask about Stephanie McIlvoy or Kevin Livingston? Did she know to ask about this? Did she -- did she ask him on what role he had with Greg Lemond's bike company?

COOPER: Well, he clearly didn't want to sit down -- you know, he didn't want to sit down with David Walsh, you know, and answer, you know, a lifetime of David Walsh's questions about the doping.

Clearly, he wanted, you know, a venue where he felt comfortable, and he had been on "Oprah" before, it's been pointed out.

There's still more of this interview I want to show and we want to talk about. We've got to take another -- just another quick break. We have another breaking story also, the death of an American in captivity in Algeria. The escape and rescue of others. We have late details also. That's coming up. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Talking about Lance Armstrong and the final interview with Oprah Winfrey. It is over. Back with our panel: Betsy Andreu on the phone; author Daniel Coyle; "Bicycling" magazine's Bill Strickland; and our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Oprah was asked about what effect, if any, doping might have had an Lance Armstrong's health. Let's listen.


WINFREY: Do you think that banned substances contributed to you getting cancer?

ARMSTRONG: I don't think so. I'm not a doctor. I've never had a doctor tell me that or suggest that to me personally, but I don't -- I don't believe so.


COOPER: Betsy, I'm curious what you thought about that, because he wasn't specific about early in the interview yesterday about when the actual doping began, but, you know, as you've testified, you were in a hospital room and you heard him tell doctors about -- about the substances he had taken.

Betsy, are you still there?

ANDREU: I'm sorry, do you hear me? Yes, I heard you.

COOPER: I couldn't hear you. I'm just wondering if you think it had anything to do with his cancer?

ANDREU: Well, of course they did. That's why I flipped out. I mean, it didn't make sense. Now we know with all the research that growth hormone feeds cancer cells. And didn't Ferrari even say to Floyd that he was nervous and that's -- about some of the stuff, and that's why he didn't give Lance -- that Lance didn't take growth hormone when he came back? I think it's ludicrous to -- that it's not even -- I don't believe him again. This is another thing where I don't believe him.

COOPER: And, again, if people had known -- I mean, if, in fact, that is true, that the substances did have something to do with his cancer, if people had known that that's where -- that his cancer might have been impacted by that, I wonder how that would have changed the public perception of his whole story.

ANDREU: Well, it was always before, you always heard, oh, it doesn't matter, because they all do it. And then it became, well, you know, he does so much good, it really doesn't matter. And now it's just a whole -- how are they going to craft this, because it's just -- it's a nightmare.

And if I could just get back to one thing, it seems like Lance is more sorry that he can't compete than having wreaked havoc on so many people's lives.

Well, when he walked -- USADA offered him a deal, and he turned it down. He walked away -- when he walked away, he knowingly accepted a lifetime ban from sanctioned competition. But, as always, the rules didn't apply to him, and he thinks the rules don't apply to him now. And it's just astounding.

COOPER: The notion that the drugs may have had something to do with his cancer, that must have been talked about on the tour.

COYLE: It was. Floyd Landis gives an account of Ferrari telling him, you know, after Lance's cancer, "I'm kind of worried about that." So this is Lance's private doctor, his doping doctor, being concerned about that.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: It's also worth pointing out the reason steroids and all these things are banned is not just because they give you a competitive advantage. It's because they're incredibly dangerous. I mean, you can die from taking these drugs. Maybe you get cancer from it, but there are all sorts of health effects.

And you know, when we have young athletes who want to get better desperately, we don't want to have them take these -- these drugs that will destroy their health.

COOPER: Do you think, Bill, do you think he can come back? I mean, I don't know what that means, coming back. Whether it's, you know -- if he's able to compete again, become a champion triathlete, if he -- I mean, is this a guy who can stay out of the public eye?

STRICKLAND: I don't know if he can stay out of the public eye. You know, he's very much like a shark. Sharks have to swim to stay alive. I think he has to compete, and he needs that -- he needs to be big and in the public acclaim.

I think he can come back. I don't know if he will. You know, like I said before, I believe that he's sincere. I don't know how deep it is.

COOPER: Do you think he can come back?

COYLE: I think he'll come back in a story. He's -- his -- when you say he's big, that's how he sees himself, and he'll do something that will be big, and a certain percentage of people will pay attention to it. Whether it turns out to be something along the lines of Bill Clinton's comeback or something along the lines of Pete Rose, he will be somewhere in that spectrum.

COOPER: Pete Rose.

TOOBIN: That's a big spectrum.

COOPER: Pete Rose is like a cheesy reality show right now.

TOOBIN: Bill Clinton is, like, one of the most popular people in the world so that's a big change of possibilities.

COOPER: Betsy, you know, I can't imagine what the last two days have been like for you, and I really appreciate you being on the program with us these last two nights. It's been -- it's just been great to have your voice and I'm...

ANDREU: Thank you for having me. I appreciate -- I appreciate it.

COOPER: I'm sorry for all you've been through and continue to go through related to this. Thank you.

And Daniel Coyle, as well.

Bill Strickland, it's really just been fascinating to have all your expertise.

Jeff Toobin, as well, thanks so much.

There is more breaking news. One American killed in the hostage crisis in Algeria. We have late details next.


COOPER: More breaking news now. The death of an American hostage in Algeria, six others free, and the continuing captivity of others held by Islamic terrorists.

This is happening at a gas installation in the Sahara Desert. There's already been a raid. That much we know. A lot we don't know. It stands out just how murky the whole situation appears to be.

Right now, Jill Dougherty trying to piece it together for us. Joins us now from the State Department.

There's still a lot of basic questions, Jill, as we pointed out earlier, we don't know, a lot of conflicting information. We finally have some new details, though, about some of the Americans who have been taken hostage. What do we know?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, the saddest news, of course, is the news about this American who did die. It was confirmed by the State Department, later this evening by Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson. His name was Frederick Buttaccio. And all they are saying is that he died. Details are not being given. They're offering condolences to the family and the friends.

And then the other information coming from a U.S. official that six Americans have either been freed or actually have escaped. But there are others that are unaccounted for. So we have Victoria Nuland, also remember today, saying that there are U.S. hostages.

So, Anderson, this is continuing as this operation in different ways proceeds. In other words, they had, we understand today, CNN was told that there was an operation that was carried out to move in and try to press even further in, get more of the terrorists, and possibly move of the hostages, and that they are hunkered down, as Mike Rogers of the House Intelligence Committee put it. So it's not over.

COOPER: How much frustration is there or are you hearing or are you sensing there is from U.S. officials about the way the Algerian government has handled this situation, particularly not informing the U.S. or other governments about this operation before it began?

DOUGHERTY: Exactly. They did not get any notice. The British said that. The United States said it. And there was frustration also in the lack of information, the lack of clarity, conflicting information that was given.

But the other part of it is, you know, Algeria has been useful in the war against terror, and they have, of course, given over-flight to France to -- to go into Mali. So they are useful.

But the techniques that they use would not be the techniques, certainly, that some western governments would use or western militaries would use. They are more brutal. They're not -- they don't...

COOPER: More blunt. Yes.

DOUGHERTY: ... take their time coming in.

COOPER: Yes. Less surgical if that's the right term. Jill Dougherty, I appreciate you working your sources late into the night for us. Thank you very much. We're going to be right back.


COOPER: That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT" starts now.