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White House Concerned About Possible Biden Run; 305 Messages Under Further Review; Trump's Border Plan; The Charisma Factor; Western Wildfires; Hospital Closes Its Pediatric Heart Surgery Program; Bangkok Bombing Kills At Least 22. Aired 9-10p ET.

Aired August 17, 2015 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: He joins us from Martha's vine yard where the first family is vacationing. So you've been even talking the sources at the White House, what are they saying about the possibility of Biden run?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, first of all this -- the Joe Biden chatter is picking up steam as he is taking his time deciding whether he will jump into the presidential race but a well-placed source tells CNN even though the vice president is a beloved figure inside the White House and there's no question about that. There is little enthusiasm for a Biden candidacy inside the west wing.

So far, you know, we should point out, a movement to draft Joe Biden for president is gaining momentum is collected some 200,000 signatures and the vice president is fueling speculation himself, considering a run while on vacation in the early primary State of South Carolina last week.

But, Anderson, this well-placed democratic source I talked to told me there are concerns at the White House that a Biden candidacy would just end badly, damaging his image as an elder statesman in the Democratic Party and this person said "I'm not getting any sense of a Joe Biden caucus inside the White House."

Part of the reason Anderson this White House is heavily invested in Hillary Clinton right now. With several former top White House aides now working in very prominent positions for Hillary Clinton.

COOPER: Right I mean it would offer a bit of a dilemma for the president. A lot of, as you said, a lot of his former campaign people are already signed on for Hillary Clinton, and also just to try to maintain President Obama's...

ACOSTA: Right.

COOPER: ... legacy. Do they believe Hillary Clinton would do a better job of that? ACOSTA: Yes, you know, this would potentially put the president in the difficult position of having to make a choice between two of his top members of the so-called team of rivals. Even though he is unlikely to do something like that publicly, he could do that privately.

But at the same time, Anderson, to your point top democratic sources have told me inside and outside the White House that they believe Hillary Clinton remains the party's best hope for protecting and expanding President Obama's legacy. They don't think Joe Biden can do that.

Essentially because they, they don't think Joe Biden can win the White House. But make no mistake, there's a deep affection for the vice president inside the White House where it is clear officials are giving Biden all the time that he needs to grieve his son Beau's recent death and weigh his political future. And, and as they often say inside the White House, Anderson, the president believes that picking Biden as his running mate in 2008 was the smartest decision that he ever made. That is high praise coming out of the White House for the vice president.

COOPER: You mentioned time, in terms of a time -- timeline, had the vice president given any clues about when he would announce one way or another?

ACOSTA: You know, I talked to a source familiar with the vice president's thinking earlier today and at this point this source is saying, that inside Biden world this decision is expected at the end of the summer. And Anderson, a lot of people think the end of the summer the means the end of August. No, they're saying September 23rd circle that date on your calendar. We should have a decision by then. That's technically the end of summer, so we may have several more weeks to go this Biden speculation that seems to be running rampant at this point. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta, appreciate the reporting tonight. As we mentioned at the top of broadcast some of Joe Biden's political calculations have to include how badly damaged he and others think Hillary Clinton is. Today, her troubles grew a several hundred -- several hundred e-mail messages of the tens of thousands that she stored on a personal server while Secretary of State.

The state department said it's going to put those additional messages under review because they might contain classified information. Now late today I asked former George W. Bush attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez about that.


COOPER: How big a problem do you think this is for her, whether it's politically or legally?

ALBERTO GONZALES, GEORGE W.BUSH'S ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think potentially its -- it could be a very serious legal problem. Obviously, a lot remains to be seen. There's the possibility that classified information may have existed on her server, may have been compromised to some degree. And obviously to the extent it is a legal problem or even not a legal problem, I think it does create some political challenges for Hillary Clinton.

I mean she was Secretary of State. It's a position of great responsibility. And I think one would have to question the judgment exercised or the lack of judgment exercised in this particular case. But again, there's a lot of facts that remain to be uncovered. And so, I think we it's just a question of allowing the FBI, allowing the intelligence agencies to do their job, and let's get a better understanding of what actually happened here?


COOPER: I also spoke with the attorney general that Donald Trump's immigration plan. That is ahead, our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown joins us now with the latest. So Pamela, what are you learning about the e-mails?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we've learned 305 documents from Clinton's private server have been flagged by state department review for further scrutiny from various intelligence agencies to determine whether they contain classified information.

And this is coming from a state department court filing that came out today and that filing says, a sample of approximately 20 percent of Clinton e-mails reviewed, out of the sample, approximately 5.1 percent were recommended for referral.

[21:05:06] It's unknown at this point, Anderson, if any of these 305 e-mails contain classified information.

COOPER: And is there anything specific about these documents that was suspicious is just that the subject matter?

BROWN: I'm being told officials that officials are being very cautious because these are documents that are supposed to be released as part of the Freedom of Information Act. So they were essentially flagged because they may contain information that could be cause for concern to certain intelligence agencies if their release is part of the public.

So essentially, what the State Department is doing is part of this review is saying, asking the intelligence agencies to have their classification experts take a look at these e-mails and make sure that it would be OK for them to be released to the public.

COOPER: And you're getting your information exactly what the FBI is doing.

BROWN: That's absolutely right. So we know that the FBI is investigating this and essentially it's rebuilding the server back to its original state to see what can be retrieved. So investigators essentially have to put the server back online to see what's taken offline by the Clinton's. Get it up and running in an isolated environment and from there investigators will be able to determine how was configured and whether there was classified information that pass through that server. And official say any one connected to that server could be part of this investigation depending on where it goes, Anderson.

COOPER: And there is still a lot that not known because just because these documents have been flagged for review it doesn't mean that they definitely have classified information.

BROWN: Yeah, that's absolutely right. As I said, officials are being very cautious. As someone I spoke to they said they're being conservative here and they want to make sure that nothing that could be perceived is classified by this intelligence agencies is released to the public.

So again at this point its unknown but its worth mentioning here for context, Anderson, it's sometimes an art more than a science. It can be a little bit murky as far as what's classified and what's not. And so, that's part of the reason why they're giving this e-mails back to these agencies to determine whether or not they are classified.

COOPER: Right, Pamela, I appreciate the update. Thank you. It's quite a challenge obviously to face if you're not running for office. I want to talk about all the ramifications, our political analysts Maggie Haberman and David Gergen. Maggie's presidential campaign correspondent of the New York Times, David is been presidential adviser to democrats and republicans alike and all the way back to the 1970s.

Maggie you have now two attorneys general, former attorneys generals, both republicans, but saying look beyond political problems there Hillary Clinton may have a legal problem. How concerned is the Clinton camp?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICAL CAMPAIGN CORRESPONDENT NEW YORK TIMES: There has been a shift in how her campaign has been reacting to this over the last couple of weeks, you saw it go from sort of this is a minor issue litigate it to a very different kind of approach. She has described this essentially in political terms as you said, but they're not really sure where this goes, this could go in a couple different of directions.

I think that the odds-on assumption for most people is that this will likely stay where it is, where it has been, but they don't know that. They don't know what, you know, once the FBI is looking around they don't know what they're going to come up with. And this unpredictable nature of this is very alarming to some...


HABERMAN: ... of her supporters.

COOPER: Yeah, nobody like a non predictable...

HABERMAN: That's right. COOPER: .... campaign. David, I mean is there a tipping point with all of this? I mean as bad as it seems, the Clinton's have been in positions like this before. Investigations after investigations, you'd think they're kind of up against the wall and they survive. Is there something different about this time?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we know yet, Anderson. There could be a tipping point if there's -- if it's revealed that there are content in the e-mails that, either is illegal because you are not supposed to be sending out over, you know, the over -- an unclassified internet -- classified documents that's illegal.

We don't know yet if that has occurred and we don't know yet what is in the content. Are there -- when you got 60,000 e-mails now potentially that could be -- the press could be poking around there and her opponents could be exploiting. You don't know. I will tell you this. We don't know how serious this is as a foreign policy matter, but we do know it is serious politically.

She is paying a price on multiple fronts now. Her most important credential of her being president was tenure as secretary of state being tarnished. The string of interesting proposals she's made in public policy are being overlooked and obscured. And finally it's taking a huge toll on the sense of how honest and trustworthy she is.

We have a remarkable situation now, were the two leading candidates Hillary Clinton on one side, Donald Trump in the other, more than half the country distrust them. They don't think they're honest and trustworthy, that's -- I can't remember that.

COOPER: And, Maggie, I mean on, on the Joe Biden front, Jim Acosta reporting now that there is not a lot of enthusiasm in the White House for Biden run is that what you are hearing as well?

HABERMAN: I'm hearing conflicting things I mean I think that certainly some Biden loyalists who are around the president who would like to see him go ahead.

[21:10:02] There are others who think that it would be better for the president's legacy if Hillary Clinton was the, the nominee. A lot...

COOPER: Because that could continue his legacy...

HABERMAN: Correct.

COOPER: ... in a different way.

HABERMAN: His policy legacy. And you've seen a lot of the Obama campaign apparatus, you know, surround Hillary Clinton, not all of it but a lot of it. I think that what was interesting last couple days is Joe Biden according to reports has extended the deadline -- his advisers are saying -- decide by October 1st. That gets much later than what we've been hearing about early September and it also allows for the possibility that maybe there will be new information about the e-mail server with Hillary Clinton... COOPER: Correct.

HABERMAN: ... that is the message you are hearing from some people around Joe Biden is well, you know, you just don't know what is going to happen.

COOPER: David, there is a risk to Joe Biden and even for the last, you know, year and a half of the Obama presidency, that he, you know, as of now he is kind of an elder statesman of Democratic Party and that he risks that and risks the influence that that gives the Obama Administration in their final run?

GERGEN: I -- What Joe Biden has certainly earned the right to run out for serving eight years as vice president I mean what George W. Bush did after the Reagan presidency. But the longer he waits, go to Maggie's point, I think the more of a risk, the more of a gamble it becomes. You know, if he's going to get in, he ought to probably all do it sooner rather than later unless another big shoe drops on this e-mail question.

COOPER: And, I mean, David, Vice President Biden -- you see Hillary Clinton -- if you're him and you see Hillary Clinton day after day in another headline, that is the advantage I guess I'm waiting, is that you wait until the last possible second to make a decision just in case something else comes out.

GERGEN: Absolutely, and you also get a better sense of how the wind blows, but, you know, there is a -- the longer you wait, the -- I think the excitement about him running, people waiting for him also diminishes the prospects of winning, unless, there is another event.

In other words, I think the longer this wait -- if there is no new development on the Hillary Clinton front its major it waits till for October I think she chances of him doing it go down by then.

COOPER: Interesting. David Gergen, Maggie Haberman, thanks.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, next the Republicans, Iowa, immigration and Donald Trump, after a lot of promises to fix the border problem and deal with unauthorized immigrants. He's now saying exactly how he would do it. We look at his 14-point plan which includes change in the constitution as we've mentioned a moment ago, we'll get the former attorney general Alberto Gonzales' take on that.

And later a massive bomb in a busy tourist spots -- spot in death toll rising at least 22 fatalities now. We'll take it to Bangkok where it happened and were investigators right now are scrambling to catch the culprits.



COOPER: After a lot of promises to crack down illegal immigration from Mexico but not much in the way of specifics, Donald Trump, now has a detailed plan on the table. It went up on his website over the weekend. The candidate in campaign say it's more for the press than his supporters and any case there's now something out there that can be fact-checked by the experts and weighed by voters.

It calls for tripling the number of ICE officers, ending birth right citizenship, deporting all undocumented immigrants and making Mexico pay for the fence or wall as Mr. Trump calls it on the southern border. If the Mexican government doesn't pay the plan calls for impounding billions of dollars sent back to Mexico from illegal immigrants now working in this country. Whether or not that's realistic, is one question. And other just how well do border fences actually work? Tom Foreman has been looking into that tonight, he joins us. So how would Donald Trump's version of a border wall work, Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is conserved by being the biggest thing in the world we see like it in the modern world. This wall would about 2,000 miles long in its completed stage. Already about 700 miles of the border have been covered by a fence of some sort and if we want to just double that part so we're not finishing it but we're getting another 700 miles to do that and put all the security you need to make that work would come out to a price tag of somewhere around $23 billion.

That is a tremendous amount out there. And bear in mind some of this is over terrain that is so rough, you may not be able to build a wall there. Then you have to add the cameras, and the drones, and the patrols, and the motion sensors, and the helicopters, and everything to keep an eye on all, this is absolutely a monumental task, Anderson, that's one of the reasons so many of Donald Trump's critics are saying this idea is a fantasy.

COOPER: I mean governments all over the world they've tried building walls, barriers, what do they shown us how about how they do or don't work?

FOREMAN: They have shown us they can work in a limited fashion, look at this more than a dozen locations around the world, were, yeah, there been some kind of barriers, or fences, or walls put up. Let's look at some for example Israel and the Palestinians, there have been big dispute over there for a long time. Israel has used many walls around areas where the Palestinians live. Israel says by putting these up, they managed to cut down on terrorism. Palestinians say, you have managed to cut into the human rights. So disputes on almost all of these properties.

If you go over towards Kashmir and look what's happen between India and Pakistan, they've been working for many years there on a double row of electrified fences, a lot of talk about land mines in between them again, India says it makes us safer. Some of the Pakistanis very much disagree.

And of course, probably the most well known zone like this in the world is the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea. This is 160 miles long, it's about 2 miles wide in some places. And it is the most heavily guarded military border in the world. And yet even here, sometimes people manage to sneak across or dash across from the north to the south seeking asylum. And several decades ago, there were even tunnels dug by the north, beneath it.

So the bottom line is, Anderson, even in much more limited scale. And very heavily guarded, building a barricade, building a wall as much as people want to think it means security it just doesn't. People find a way to get through.

COOPER: Tom, thanks very much. Tom Foreman. If the nation's first Latino attorney general as well as loyal Republican, Alberto Gonzalez has a lot to say about the illegal immigration question which is why we want his take on Donald Trump's new plan. He is the co-author of "A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: Judge Gonzales you're a Republican, you're Mexican decent, you spent a lot of your career in government and law enforcement, is Donald Trump's approach to illegal immigration good for the United States to say nothing of your party?

GONZALES: Well, it's only got some interesting ideas about immigration reform and, you know, it's nice to see he has got a plan.

[21:20:00] There's certain things that I certainly agree with. I think -- we are a nation of laws and I think our laws should be enforced. I do believe in border security and I think when you have an immigration policy that both helps our economy and promotes our national security.

One thing that's really missing out of his plan, it doesn't discuss how we achieve it. Do we do this to executive action much like President Obama has done and it has been severely criticized by Republicans. Do we do it by comprehensive legislation? Do we do it by through piecemeal legislation? So that is a very important component that is still missing from what Mr. Trump has outlined this weekend.

COOPER: Well, when he talks about doing away with birth right citizenship that would mean an amendment to the constitution?

GONZALES: Yes, and that, of course as we all know, that's a very difficult proposition. And I think rather than spending the energy focusing on this because it would only address a small portion of the immigration challenge. I think rather than putting all of our energy in this effort which would be a tremendous -- require tremendous effort.

I think it would be wiser to pursue a comprehensive legislative strategy that deals with major components of immigration reform such as, you know, revising our visa process, type of workplace enforcement, border security, putting those who are qualified to live in this country that qualify, into some kind of temporary legal status. So I just think that's a much better approach. It makes much more sense than what Mr. Trump has outlined.

COOPER: When Donald Trump talks about that he's going to build a wall, a massive huge wall across the U.S.-Mexico border and he's going to get Mexico to pay for it. Does that sound realistic to you?

GONZALES: No. It doesn't. It doesn't sound realistic. This is an American problem. I think to blame the Mexican government for the problem, I think, to me, I disagree with. So we have to come up with a realistic solution. The problem with building a wall of course, it would be terribly expensive. It would not deal with the -- these overstayers. It says to me that the half of the people that are here unlawfully today came to this country lawfully. So even if we built the 3,000 mile fence, you know, it wouldn't address the problem of visa overstayers.

And so, I do believe we need some kind -- we do need border fencing. But I think we can take advantage of natural terrain. We can rely upon changing technology, to achieve greater border security. I don't think we need a 3,000 mile fence and thinking, or proposing that Mexico pay for it I just don't think is realistic.

COOPER: The other claim that Donald Trump has repeatedly made. He hasn't shown any evidence for it. He has indicate maybe has some but then hasn't never actually shown any. Is that the Mexican government itself is sending people illegally over the border into the United States, rapists and others, some sort of direct state sponsored action. Have you ever heard or seen any proof of anything like that in the many, many years that illegal immigrants have been coming into the United States?

GONZALES: No, I certainly never saw any evidence of that when I worked in the White House nor did I ever see any evidence of that when I worked at Justice Department and I had multiple meetings and conversations with my Mexican counterparts. I had several visits to Mexico. And so, I'm not aware of any evidence of that and if Mr. Trump has evidence of that I think we'd all be interested in seeing it.

COOPER: Judge Gonzales, it's good talking to you. Thank you.

GONZALES: Good talking to you.


COOPER: The attorney general spoke there about paying for the wall. That's obviously a huge concern. I want to quickly turn to the other concern, central one, how it will all play out on the ground on the actual border. More on that now from Gary Tuchman.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can a continuous wall be built along the entire 1,954 mile border shared by the United States and Mexico and be impenetrable like Donald Trump says he wants or even close to impenetrable? That would helps to know some precedents. There are some tall border walls like this one in Nogales, Arizona and they are challenging to go over, through, under but it happens all the time. They're not impenetrable but this is harder to pass than this. This much more commonly seen border fence along the Mexico-U.S. frontier, railroad ties, a 7-foot fence, barbed wire which you often see but the barbed wire is very easy to cut to it if someone is motivated to go through the desert here in Southeastern Arizona where we are right now, they can easily get through. And we'll give you an idea of how easy it is to cut not only is the barbed wire go on here, there's no fence anymore, just the railroad ties.

So, now I am in Mexico. Anyone would come through here just has to go under the railroad tie. And they're in the United States. So obviously a big wall keeps people out much better than this does. And you can build much more big wall along the border. But can you build a continuous wall from the Pacific Ocean in California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas? The answer is no.

There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, we start with the fact that there are many ranchers who own land along the border who would all have to sell their land to the federal government. Then you have Indian reservations on the border. And then you're dealing with the issue of the topography, steep terrain, mountains, streams, make it impossible or nearly impossible to build a 15 or 20-foot concrete or steel wall.

[21:25:14] You can build a fence here like the one that is here now. But once you get to this fence, you would always have a gap right here, maybe a wall on this side, wall on this side and immigrants going under this fence.

Donald trump says to believe him, when he exclaims that nobody will get through the wall he will build. But facts on the ground indicate that at the very least it will be a promise that is quite challenging to keep.

COOPER: That's Gary Tuchman on the Mexican border for us tonight. Just ahead, we're going to go back to the race for the White House. I'll show the nuts some secret ingredients nearly every winning presidential campaign. We'll talk about charisma, who's got it, who doesn't, whether it's possible to become president if you are a little low on it.

And later, hot weather, bone dry conditions and this is what you get. Wildfires up and down the western states. Tonight, we got a live report on one fire has been burning right outside Los Angeles.



COOPER: Talking immigration tonight, for the first time, really about policy specifics from Donald Trump. The truth is that winning the White House will likely hinge on something far less wonky. Something we saw play out in the first debate and his factored into every presidential campaign since presidents first started campaigning. People have been elected president without it, but not many and not in a while. What is it? Charisma. We're going to talk in a minute about who has got it and who does not right now. But first some background from Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a stark reality of modern politics never more so than right now. Charisma counts and it counts big.

TRUMP: Ladies and gentlemen, president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

BASH: Decades of experience as a billionaire celebrity no doubt gives Donald Trump an edge but you don't need fame and fortune to break through in national politics as long as you know how to seize that spotlight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald, is that over here?

TRUMP: (Inaudible) woman.

SARAH PALIN: You know they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull -- lipstick.

BASH: Dazzling an audience is a skill that knows no partisan divide and abundance can be a blessing.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When you're running for the presidency then you got to expect it and you know, you just got to kind of let it, you know.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) 2012 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I own a timber company? That's news to me. You need some wood?

BASH: And a lack can be a curse.

ROMNEY: For purple mountain's majesty above the fruited plain.

AL GORE, (D) 2000 PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And the health care for children was the assigned a much lower priority. Do we have a doctor here with us?

BASH: The most charismatic politicians often soar to victory aided by their delivery.

RICHARD NIXON, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience.

BASH: Or flat out showmanship. And like him or not, Donald Trump has raised the bar and the volume.

TRUMP: The world is cracking up and they're worried about my tone. I should be toned down. Down.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: And so far at least, Republican primary voters seemed to like what they see in Donald Trump. Recently, I spoke with three political professionals each has seen charisma in action, Republican Strategist Ana Navarro, Rich Galen, and Democratic Strategist Hillary Ronen. She and Anna are also CNN political commentators.

Rich, how much of Trump success in this race is based on charisma because I'm he is not going to create policy details. He is not going to create specifics but there is certainly tons of charisma?

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Sure. He's novelty act and that's what novelty acts bring to stage. They're fun to watch. They're fun to cover and they're fun to watch being covered. But novelty acts on either side. I mean that's -- I think that's really the same thing, except the others sort of charisma that you were discussing that Bernie Sanders brings to the stage with 28,000 people coming to, he is not going to be the nominee either.

So there is something about these that are fun to watch, but when people begin to narrow down the issue of voting for president, or potential president, they begin to take it a lot more seriously.

COOPER: You -- Rich, you really don't think Donald Trump can go all the way? I mean, saying he is a novelty act man it sounds like something you find in a $0.99 store. I mean he's clearly tapped into something and people, you know he is very far out in the polls now?

GALEN: Well he might have tap danced into something, to make -- to stay with the theme of this thing. But we'll see. I mean, four years ago, Michele Bachmann was the bell if of the ball. She had won the Iowa straw poll. She was everybody was looking to see what would happen next, what Republicans would have to do if she maintained her lead all the way through. She was out the day after Iowa.

COOPER: Hillary, the other interesting thing, about charisma is how much it can draw attention away from people's deficiencies. You look at Bill Clinton, voters forgave a lot of things they might have not forgiven with other candidates.

HILLARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I think, I disagree with Rich. I think that presidents do not get elected that don't have some charisma in the modern day and age.

Now, clearly go back to the country's history, there are lots of super boring old white guys who got elected but they're not in the day, today where pop culture and social media and television all matters so much. And I think that what we are seeing with Donald Trump and what we are seeing with other candidates is people want to experience it and they want to feel their candidates.

And that's why Trump is successful. I think it is why Hillary Clinton is better in smaller groups than she is in big crowds because people can feel they're warmth more easily. [21:35:07] As a political consultant, what we trying to do is try to help people bring out their authentic self. That's why Donald Trump don't need that help. But it is very important.

COOPER: And Ana, how difficult position is, I mean like Jeb Bush for instance and I don't know. I've never met him. He may be like Hillary Clinton., very great, you know, kind of in smaller groups but, or even on a larger stage, but when he is paired next to Donald Trump, at that debate for instance, standing next to him, It's a difficult position for him to be in because whatever his charisma may be, it certainly is hard to out-charisma Trump.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the Republican debates were actually a contest not only of substance but of charisma and you need both of them. You need personality. When you have some outsized folks on the stage, people like a Chris Christie, like a Donald Trump, substance is not enough. You need to show you got a brain. But you also need to show you have a heart and you got a pulse. And I think that it's part of also having the ability to perform.

Charisma, Anderson, it's like indoor plumbing. Can you survive without it? Sure you can. But it sure makes life easier when you have it. And part of it is not only having it. Part of it is also being able to project it because I have known people who are very charismatic in person. And yet, you put a T.V. camera on them, and they look stiff as a board.

COOPER: It's interesting, Hillary, Al Gore is an example, I guess of a politician who maybe suffered because he wasn't overly charismatic in some settings. I mean I think back to some of those debates where, you know, he was sort of sighing and, you know, he was clearly a thoughtful guy, ton of experience, you know, knew a lot of issues and yet when you put him on the stage next to George W. Bush, people gravitated to Bush.

ROSEN: Well, they did and to Gore's detriment, the other problem that Al Gore had was that he was so overtly trying to show people that he actually had charm or had charisma as we're calling it and the effort seemed more forced. So I think really the key here is let people really see your inner self like, you know, there's a passion to wanting to become president of the United State. And if people can't see that, then they're, just not going to believe in you.

GALEN: And most of us don't have it. And people that try to do it, I think, you know, is that they try to do it and they look phony. It just wipes them out completely.

COOPER: Ana Navarro, Hillary Rosen, and Rich Galen, thank you all.

Just ahead, a Florida hospital shuts down its pediatric heart surgery program for good after a CNN investigation found an alarming number of babies died after undergoing open-heart surgeries there. We have latest on that ahead.


COOPER: Major update now to a story we've been following for more than a year. A hospital in Florida is shutting down its pediatric heart surgery program. After a CNN investigation found its mortality rate for open-heart from 2011 to 2013 was more than three times the national average. Since 2011, at least nine babies died after undergoing heart surgery at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach and 10th baby left paralyzed. Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen first brought us the story in June. Here is a portion of that report.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Just weeks into life this tiny baby, Leila McCarthy needed heart surgery. Here at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Dr. Michael Black performed the delicate procedure to widen the narrow aorta, a defect she had since birth.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: He made it seem like he was the best person to do this, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very like, no sweat, don't worry about it. No, it's a walk in the park.

COHEN: But the surgery was a disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked at her and her legs had started -- they had stiffened up a lot and they started going in almost at table top position.

COHEN: After the surgery, Leila was paralyzed. Here she is today. The McCarthy's had no idea that their daughter's tragedy had a disturbing back story, one that no one had told them. Just three months before Leila's operation, a baby had died after heart surgery by Dr. Black and five months before that, Alexander Gutierrez Mercado had died. And a month and a half before that, Kyari Sanders had passed away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's horrible that you can go into a program like that and they can be dishonest with you and they don't feel they need to tell you what is happened there before.

COHEN: One week after the surgery that left Leila paralyzed. Amelia Campbell died after heart surgery, then Parish Right a few month, and Lanedon Summerford eight months after that. The hospital and heart surgeon Dr. Black rejected requests for an on camera interview. So we tracked down the CEO David Carbone to give him a chance to explain.

Hi, Mr. Carbone, it's Elizabeth Cohen at CNN, how are you, sir? Sir, we want to know why -- what the death rate is for your babies at the pediatric heart hospital at your program.

He also wouldn't answer the parents' question, why did so many babies die at St. Mary's? Last year, a team of doctors from the State of Florida's Children's Medical Service is evaluated the program. It was at the request of St. Mary's which sought to quote "Evaluate and Identify Opportunities for Improvement."

The head of the team, Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, a professor of cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins found St. Mary's was doing too few surgeries to get good at it. How few? In the United States, 80 percent of children's heart surgery programs performed more than 100 surgeries a year. Each procedure giving them valuable expertise, but the review of St. Mary's program shows in 2013, the hospital performed just 23 operations.

[21:45:02] It is unlikely that any program will be capable of obtaining and sustaining high quality when performing less than two operations per month, Dr. Jacobs wrote.


COOPER: Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. So, the hospital closed, the program today but before that, they were defending it, weren't they?

COHEN: Well, they did, Anderson, even after our report. They said it was a high quality program with a high quality surgeon. And after that report aired they said, look, we have a 4.7 percent adjusted mortality rate. Risk adjusted mortality rate and they said, that was within the range of the national average for hospitals in this country.

But they never explained exactly what they meant by that mortality rate. They didn't explain the numbers that went into it. How many babies lived and how many died?

COOPER: And they're now -- what they're blaming the media for closing down?

COHEN: They are indeed. They're blaming the media. I am going to read a part of the statement right now, Anderson. They said, "The inaccurate media reports on our program have made it significantly more challenging to build sustainable volume in our program."

COOPER: But a state panel of experts reviewed the hospital and what did they end up recommending?

COHEN: Right, we mentioned that in our story. So the chair of the program, Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, he said, "Look, you should stop doing surgeries on babies under age of 6 months. Stop doing heart surgeries on babies under the age of six months and should stop doing complex surgeries on any child or baby." And the hospital didn't take that recommendation. They didn't follow that recommendation. And in fact, babies died after that recommendation was made.

COOPER: Wow. And yet they're still blaming the media. All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much for the reporting. I appreciate it.

Coming up the death toll is rising after a bomb ripped through a popular tourist area in Bangkok. We have a live update. Next, also we had the U.S. military joining within 25,000 fire fighters now battling wildfires in ten western states. We have live report from California coming up.



COOPER: Welcome back. At least 22 people have now lost their lives; more than 100 have been hurt, some badly, after a bomb went off in Bangkok, Thailand. Police now they said officially whether they believe the attack was on a specific target but the bomb exploded near a Hindu Shrine in the middle of a very popular tourist area, it's been called ''The Times Square of Bangkok". Andrew Stevens is there for us, what you been learning Andrew?

ANDREW STEVENS, CNN ASIA-PACIFIC EDITOR: Anderson, we've got the forensic team down there. It's been 150 meters down this road. This road is still blocked off to traffic infected the whole area around here is still blocked off. Forensic teams, they send sniffer dogs in there. And word coming to us that the police are now saying they've identified what the explosive device was. It was pipe bomb which they say was wrapped in some sort of white material. And not clear exactly what that is?

And they also say, most importantly, there was a warning made to police of an impending attack. But they didn't give any specific details on when or even where. But the police are saying they were warned. But at this stage, Anderson, they are no close to saying they have a motive or who is behind this.

COOPER: So even though they are saying they got a warning they don't know what group or individual gave that warning?

STEVENS: Yeah, basically. They kept it very, very vague. There are theories, and there is a lot of speculation here in Bangkok as to who could be behind it. I mean, there are several sort of strains of theory at the moment and one of them is that this could be a big escalation in the violence we've seen, the street protests we have seen in the Bangkok over the years now, between rival political factions. There has been violence in the past, explosions on the street in the past but nothing like this.

This is the biggest attack we've seen by a long way in recent times, so that is one possibility. There is also an insurgency in Southern Thailand. Again, insurgency has targeted to a police and rarely come to the capital, which is several hundred miles away.

So that one is looking unlike and there was some suggestion that is could be Chinese Muslims involved. The Hui (ph) community, some of them are pushing for a separate state in China. Some have been deported recently. Some people here are suggesting that could be a reason. But it's all just speculation at the moment, Anderson.

COOPER: Is there a -- are there more security measures on the streets in Bangkok? Have you seen? STEVENS: Yeah. I mean, definitely. You're seeing more police on the street. And the -- remember, this is a military government here. This is a government which took power by coup more than a year ago. So, we're seeing a heavier military presence here and also certainly around the blast site as well. Schools have been closed as well.

But what they are telling is they're going to try and open up these streets in the next perhaps three hours. They want to try to get this is back to normal. What I have said in the past so this is in the hours just following the blast, Anderson was that they thought this Shrine; this Hindu Shrine may have been deliberately targeted because of tourists who go there.

This -- as you see eastern "Times Square of Bangkok". It's surrounded by big swanky shopping malls, and five-star hotels and that was a very popular tourist destination. So there's a place to saying that could be a deliberate target to hit the economy.

COOPER: Andrew, I appreciate the update, thank you. For the first time in nine years soldiers are joining the battle against wildfires in the western part of United States, about 200 active military personnel which help from tense of thousand of firefighters are working in hot, dry conditions in a couple of States. In California alone, at least 19 fires are burning. Paul Vercammen is in Montebello, he joins me again live. What's the scene there, Paul?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson I lost communication so, I'm not sure if you can hear me right now. And I'm sure you can come back which you can imagine in these fire conditions sometimes the communication goes and now -- I know you're talking about the soldiers are being deployed. Let me ask exactly what they're going to do.

In talking to Federal fire officials, they're not going to send them into very hazardous and complex conditions. They want to leave out up to the more experienced fire fighters but how these soldier's help in their infantry and artillery soldiers from Fort Louis McCord.

[21:55:05] They will be able to go ahead and map up and dig fire lines and go ahead and watch for those spot fires which can be so problematic.

And then when they go ahead and break out, these guys will put in when we put those out. And again, that allows the fire fighters, the more experienced firefighters to go after other thing. There are so many fires right not that are burning throughout the west. They say it's the most they've seen so spread out since about 2007.

And I apologize, Anderson, I don't know if probably hear you if you ask me question.

COOPER: It just incredibly dangerous situation Paul I appreciate the reporting. Paul Vercammen, we'll be right back.


COOPER: That does it for us tonight. Thanks very much for watching. We will see you again one hour from now, 11:00 P.M. Eastern for another edition of 360. "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon" starts now.