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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New York Governor Spitzer's Fall From Grace; On Campaign Trail to the Mississippi Primary; Chelsea Clinton - Up Close in Mississippi
Aired March 10, 2008 - 2300 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news: new details and new angles in the story you have been talking about and it seems like everyone else is, too. Eliot Spitzer, New York's Democratic governor, formerly a crusading attorney general, once a rising political star, even mentioned as presidential material. Now his stunning fall from grace linked to an alleged prostitution ring.
Will he resign? Will he face charges? All the late-breaking details tonight.
Also, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, the two facing off just hours from now in the Mississippi primary. Senator Obama taking a shot at her and suggestions he would make a great vice president. We will talk about the crafty political calculation behind that idea.
And back on the trail with Chelsea Clinton -- an up-close look at her journey from her political beginner to seasoned pro.
We begin, however, with the breaking news and Eliot Spitzer's very public fall from grace; embarrassing for the governor; for his family, of course, simply devastating. Given what we're learning almost by the minute, it could get a whole lot worse. He could resign. He could face criminal prosecution.
As New York's attorney general, Spitzer made headlines for breaking up prostitution rings and for putting Wall Street bigwigs in exactly the same spot he is in right now, humiliated and potentially facing serious federal charges.
Today, Governor Spitzer issued a brief apology. He did not go into details. In a moment, we will talk with our legal panel, including Alan Dershowitz, who taught Spitzer at Harvard.
But, first, how Governor Spitzer went from rising star to the man alleged to be client number nine in a prostitution sting.
Late details from CNN's Jason Carroll.
GOV. ELIOT SPITZER (D), NEW YORK: I, Eliot Spitzer...
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one of his proudest moments. January 2007, Eliot Spitzer stood with his wife at his side as he was sworn in as New York's 54th governor. A little more than a year later, Spitzer's wife, Silda, was at his side again for the most shameful moment of Spitzer's political career.
SPITZER: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and that violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.
CARROLL: Spitzer read a prepared statement, answering no questions about allegations he was involved in a prostitution ring operating out of Washington, D.C.
SPITZER: I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.
CARROLL: The affidavit alleges the prostitution ring operated under the name of Emperors' Club VIP. A source with knowledge of the investigation says Spitzer is called client number nine in the court document.
The document states client number nine arranged for a prostitute named Kristin to travel from New York City to Washington, D.C. Client nine said he would pay for everything, train tickets, cab fare from the hotel and back, mini bar or room service, travel time, and hotel. When asked about payment, client nine said, "Yes, same as in the past, no question about it."
According to a source with knowledge of the investigation, the two met at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, and, when client nine wanted a reminder of what Kristin looked like, he was told she was American, petite, very pretty brunette, 5 feet 5 inches and 105 pounds. That encounter took about two hours on February 13, the day before Valentine's Day.
When her coworker asked if client nine -- quote -- "would ask you to do things that you may not think were safe," Kristin replied: "I have a way with dealing with that. I would be like listen, dude, you really want the sex?"
The investigation is based on electronic communications, e-mails and bank records. Spitzer has not been charged.
It's a devastating blow to a man who built a career on bringing ethics back to politics and busting prostitution rings. As a two-term attorney general, he was known as the sheriff of Wall Street for his tough stand on corporate crime. He was also called Mr. Clean, and promised in his campaign ad to bring passion back to the state. Instead, he has brought shame.
COOPER: Jason, I mean, is he going to be charged? Do we know?
CARROLL: Well, Anderson, that's a good question. We have been waiting outside his apartment here in the Upper East Side to see if he would have any comments on that. So far, Spitzer has not. We can tell you that prosecutors are not commenting on this as well. A source close to the investigation says that Spitzer's attorneys may be questioned about how he allegedly used his money to pay for this encounter. So, at the end of the day, Anderson, there is a possibility that he could ultimately be charged -- Anderson.
COOPER: And there was more than one encounter, correct?
CARROLL: Well, according to the affidavit, it seems to suggest that there was more than one encounter. How many? Again, that's one of those unanswered questions at this point.
COOPER: And the money is not a small issue. I mean, we're talking about something -- I read up to -- it was $6,000 for the services of these women; is that correct?
CARROLL: According to the affidavit, at least $4,300 spent on this one account, on this one encounter. That's how much the young girl named Kristin was paid.
What was interesting about the affidavit, as well, Anderson, when you're reading through it, client number nine said that he had a credit, a credit of somewhere between $400 and $500, that he was owed, so that also seems to suggest that there were at least one more previous encounter as well -- Anderson.
COOPER: How you develop a credit with a prostitution ring is -- is another aspect of the story I don't quite understand. But I'm sure there are many.
Jason, appreciate it. Thanks.
It's easy, of course, on a story like this, a story involving apparent hypocrisy of government officials, to take joy in someone's downfall, but let's remember there are real people involved here, a man's wife, his children.
So, tonight, right now, we want to take a look at the legal dimension in all of this.
Joining me now is CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. He joins me on the phone. He went to Harvard Law School with Eliot Spitzer. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who once taught Spitzer, also joins us, and Steve Fishman, contributing editor at "New York" magazine, author of several cover stories on the governor, his victories, setbacks, and enemies.
Jeffrey, you called Governor Spitzer the biggest straight arrow you know. What do you think now?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Well, I think I didn't know Eliot as well as I thought I knew him. It's just a totally shocking development.
He has been married to Silda, who was also at Harvard Law School, for more than 20 years. You know, you never know what goes on in people's private lives, I suppose, but it is just an absolutely stunning development, to me. That's all I can say.
COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, do you think he will face criminal charges?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Well, I don't think he should face criminal charges for federal charges for the actual sex act itself. Although there is a statute, the Mann Act, it's almost never, ever used...
COOPER: The Mann Act involves transporting people across state lines, is that correct?
DERSHOWITZ: Yes. But that hasn't been used for years and years and years against johns. It can be used selectively against political opponents. That's why it shouldn't be on the books.
I know nothing about the financial aspects of it. But this is a traditional state misdemeanor case. And, if anything, he should be charged with a class-B misdemeanor, which is a very, very slight offense, because being a john to an adult prostitute who was making $3,000 to $4,000 or $5,000 sounds to me very much like a victimless crime.
COOPER: Steve, I want to read something that you wrote in your last article with him. You said that, "Spitzer once told me that he had learned at the DA's office there are some fights in which, as he put it, you can never concede errors, because you just can't do it."
What do you think he's going to do next? Do you think he will resign?
STEVE FISHMAN, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": I think he's got to resign. I just don't think there's any question.
I don't think he's politically viable anymore. And I'm sure that he's fighting that thought, but I don't see how he can come to any other conclusion.
COOPER: Did this stun you as well?
FISHMAN: It shocked me. I agree with Jeffrey in that matter.
I mean, I have spent a lot of time with him, considerable time alone for a journalist. And have I spent time with Silda. They have a warm, loving relationship. Who knows what that means, and, really, what you should read into that.
But, I mean, this is a real family. This isn't a fake family. This is a real marriage. It's not a fake marriage. So, I think it stunned everybody. And the -- you know, the thing I would add to that, though, is this -- it's hard to remember, but this was a guy who was elected with 70 percent of the popular vote. I mean, this was a man who was once, not so long ago, presidential timber.
I think it's a stunning turn of events.
COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, do you think too much is being made about this?
DERSHOWITZ: I do. I the much too much is being made about this.
This is the only country in the Western world where this would be a lead story. In virtually all parts of Europe, this would be page 26 or a not-even-covered story.
COOPER: But isn't the fact that, I mean, this is a governor of a state breaking -- this is a governor of a state allegedly breaking a law, and a man who came to power -- I mean, there's a hypocrisy angle to this as well. He prosecuted, aggressively, prostitution rings.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, let's remember, we have had presidents from Jefferson, to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, to Clinton, who have been great presidents and who have engaged in sexual misconduct, probably all of which were illegal under some rules of law.
They remain great presidents. I think we risk losing some of the best people who can run for public office by our obsessive focus on the private lives of public figures. So, yes, I do think we're making much too much of it.
COOPER: Jeffrey Toobin, is much being made about this -- too much?
TOOBIN: I mean, I think, if this were a consensual affair with a woman who was not his wife, I think that was -- that would be one thing. But, you know, maybe we should change the laws, but the laws are on the books.
And the problem here is not just this single incident. If he decides to fight this, if he decides to stay in office, he will spend the rest of his years answering questions about how many times he's seen a prostitute, where the money came from, where he met her, how many other prostitutes he's seen.
I mean, I think it is -- it may be a victimless crime, but it is a crime, and a former attorney general can't pretend that it isn't.
COOPER: Jeffrey, do you think he -- there's some sort of negotiation that will take place between whether -- either he resigns or he faces charges, or is one not mutually exclusive?
TOOBIN: No, in fact, they're usually a package deal when you come to a high-level public official. They often negotiate a plea deal or some sort of resolution, where the public official says, OK, I will plead guilty, or I will resign, but you agree only to charge me with a misdemeanor. His leverage, such as it is at this point, is his office. He can say, I will only resign if you give me a very minor deal. And that is often how certain situations like these resolve themselves.
COOPER: Alan, I mean, as governor -- well, as attorney general, I mean, Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings using wiretaps. So, he knows how these cases can play out. What do you think the negotiation going on right now is? DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think it's unfortunate if you have Republican prosecutors negotiating with a Democratic officeholder to leave office. We have politicized our legal system terribly. And sex crimes give prosecutors of the opposing party enormous leverage.
I think it's a tragedy that we have criminalized political differences and used the criminal law to leverage this way of getting people out of office. Remember that Bill Clinton stayed in office. Remember that many other people who have had sex offenses have remained in office and have remained great presidents.
I hope he fights -- sticks this out. I hope he does not resign, and I hope he is an abject lesson to American society that we are making much, much too much of sexual deviations, and that we ought to change the law, but, also, these laws are never enforced against ordinary people.
COOPER: Steve, you did profiles of him as attorney general and now. Do you think he changed in office? I mean, Jeffrey said, well, maybe I didn't know him as well.
Do you think this guy changed with power?
FISHMAN: You know, that's the thing about him, is, I don't think he changed. I mean, he seemed to be a guy who was always the same. That was one of the things about Eliot Spitzer is, what you saw was what you got.
He billed himself that way. And I think, to a large extent, it was true. Now, what his opponents will say is that, somehow, the power went to his head. And I think, after something like this, you do have to wonder what he felt he was permitted as a public official and where he felt both in personal and in political matters the line should be drawn.
COOPER: Steve Fishman, appreciate you being on as well.
Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much.
And Professor Alan Dershowitz, thank you very much, sir. We appreciate it.
DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.
COOPER: If Eliot Spitzer resigns -- and, at this point, it is an if -- we don't know -- here's the "Raw Data" on his successor. Under New York State law, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson would automatically become governor. He is legally blind due to optic atrophy, which is scar tissue that lies between the retina and the optic nerve. Mr. Paterson would be the first African-American governor of New York and only the fourth one in the nation's history.
A lot more on this story coming up. I'm blogging about it throughout the hour. We're discussing if Eliot Spitzer should resign or not and if he should face criminal charges or not.
To join the conversation, just go to cnn.com/360.
Up next - why Eliot Spitzer is neither the first, nor probably the last to be in the -- man to be in the position he's in right now.
COOPER: What does he...
SPITZER: I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family.
COOPER: ... have in common with him?
JIMMY SWAGGART, TELEVANGELIST: I have sinned against you, my lord.
COOPER: ... and him?
JIM MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: I am a gay American.
COOPER: And him?
BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
COOPER: Why powerful people lead secret lives, risk it all, think they can get away with it, and sometimes do.
Later, she says he's not ready to be president. So, how about vice president? See what he says about that and where each is heading the day before another crucial primary -- on the trail, all the angles, 360 tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPITZER: We gather here today with the front-page stories of scandal fresh in our minds and the minds of all New Yorkers. We are in danger of losing the confidence of those who elected us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The irony of ironies. That was Eliot Spitzer's 2007 state of the state address, talking about the danger of losing confidence in elected officials.
Even those who say prostitution is not a big deal point to the hypocrisy in these allegations, if true, a man who prosecuted and railed against -- against prostitution himself, himself allegedly frequenting a prostitution ring.
Erica Hill is here with more -- Erica.
What a day.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: And, Anderson, that really seemed to be what was bothering people so much today was that hypocrisy, this man who had gone after prostitution rings possibly now being linked to one as well, allegedly, because that is how he made a name for himself.
Tonight, though, as we mentioned, he is linked possibly to a prostitution ring. And that scandal, as many before have learned, could put an end to his political dreams.
SPITZER: Today, I want to briefly address a private matter.
HILL (voice-over): It's too early to tell if Eliot Spitzer's political career, one he spent years building, is over. What we do know is, we have seen this before.
SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: Please let me apologize.
HILL: Idaho Senator Larry Craig was a champion of family values until he was arrested for alleged lewd conduct in an airport bathroom.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CRAIG: Did I slide them too close to yours? Did I -- I looked down once your foot was close to mine.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HILL: Craig, who insists he's innocent, pleased guilty to disorderly conduct, just another public figure to fall from grace. It happens in all levels of government, people of honor, men of power, allegedly exposed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever committed adultery?
GARY HART, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not have to answer that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: That's former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who was caught smoking crack. Never mind the fact they should all know better. Why do they think they can get away with it? And it's the hypocrisy that's often the most disturbing. Remember Mark Foley? The Florida congressman made a name for himself working to protect kids and teens from sexual predators online, only to step down after suggestive text messages he sent to a former teenage page were published.
But it's not just politicians who find trouble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY SWAGGART, TELEVANGELIST: I have sinned against you, My Lord.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: The Reverend Jimmy Swaggart preached morality. So did Jim Baker, while one was committing adultery and the other seeing a prostitute. The most recent scandal from the pulpit, the Reverend Ted Haggard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REVEREND TED HAGGARD, NEW LIFE CHURCH: I called him to buy some meth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: When the leader of one of the largest evangelical churches in the country said he was guilty of sexual immorality and admitted to buying drugs and getting a massage from a male escort, no one was laughing, especially not at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Shamefully, I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: With his wife at his side, former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey told the world a secret he had kept from her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCGREEVEY: It was foolish. It was inexcusable. And, for this, I ask the forgiveness. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Forgiveness many have asked for. Today, it was Spitzer's turn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPITZER: I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: And that is the trust that may be the most difficult and the most important to win back.
COOPER: While winning the trust of his family is no doubt important to the governor, so is staying out of jail and saving his career. It is clear Eliot Spitzer's toughest fight is yet to come.
If the allegations are true, why would he do it, and what does he -- what does he do about it now?
We're digging deeper.
Joining us is Dr. Gail Saltz, the psychiatrist who is the author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life." Also with us tonight, psychologist David Eigen, who is the author of the book, "Men: The Gods of Love."
Thanks, both, for being with us.
Dr. Saltz, why would a guy who had prosecuted prostitution rings as attorney general do something like this? I mean, it seems so reckless.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: It seems reckless, but, basically, you know, humans have urges. They have wishes. And, sometimes, their desires are basically unacceptable to them, morally unacceptable.
And what they're -- what they do in their mind is basically split off and, if you will, compartmentalize or deny those wishes, and try to make them unconscious, push them down, by being the opposite, by being this moral superstar, by being rigidly, almost inflexibly moral.
COOPER: So, you're saying this is something or a desire that has been around for a while, perhaps, and...
SALTZ: Very likely so. And the need to react to it, called reaction formation, I'm not that guy, I'm not that bad guy who wants to do that. I'm this good guy. I'm such a good guy, I'm going to convict prostitutes, basically.
COOPER: So, that's why -- you're saying, in all these cases where we see a preacher who's preaching, railing against something who then turns out to be doing whatever he's railing against, that's what's at play here?
SALTZ: Often that's at play. And when you ask, why would they do something so reckless, basically, those bad feelings don't go away, right? They feel guilty. They feel shameful. And, so, they often take bigger and bigger risks to get caught, in a sense, because they deserve to be punished.
COOPER: David, do you think that's at play here?
David, can you hear me?
DAVID EIGEN, AUTHOR, "MEN: THE GODS OF LOVE": Oh, there you go. OK.
COOPER: Yes. Hey.
Do you think that's what's at play here?
EIGEN: I think that the man -- he's a man. And, in this society, men have been told to basically have two emotions, because the rest have to be shut down. They're shameful. And one is anger. And the other is sex, which becomes a replacement, a surrogate emotion.
I think the governor is guilty of having a situation where he's just not been able to express himself and probably doesn't know how. And, you know, there's no question men have a huge sex drive, which really is a replacement for all the other needs they have. And he just found himself in a place where maybe he just needed to go outside of that relationship.
I'm not excusing it. I'm just saying, you know, this is where men have been caught in an actual situation where they're not allowed to have feelings. So, it becomes -- everything becomes about sex.
And that's what the problem is here. Men need to be allowed to have feelings, be allowed to say, hey, you know, I had a bad day at the office and I need a hug. I need to tell you how I feel downtrodden or how it's too much for me.
Men don't do that. They say -- you know, they pretend like they're the provider. The governor, he's all those of things. And he can't say that to his wife, maybe, in his mind, because he feels like he will be judged.
COOPER: Well, I mean, it seems like we're going very far down the road of speculation. We don't really know what their relationship is like or what's going on in his family's life.
EIGEN: Correct. Correct.
COOPER: Dr. Saltz, I mean, is there something about prostitution that is part of the equation? I mean, it's not having an affair with somebody else. It's not going out to -- to a bar and picking somebody up.
SALTZ: Correct. And it's hard to say.
You know, only he can really know if there was something about this being, frankly, wrong or illegal or that he would pay for sex...
COOPER: Is there something about being in power that makes people feel they can get away with it?
SALTZ: Well, sometimes, that does make the perfect storm for something like this to occur. So, both the urge to do something wrong and then acquiring enough power that you consider the possibility that it's OK for you, or you're potentially beyond reproach, or you're surrounded by other powerful people who are doing things that are not OK, and that makes it seem OK to you.
COOPER: Obviously, there's a lot we don't know at this point. It's tough trying to figure out what it is that's going on.
Dr. Saltz, appreciate you being with us.
And, David Eigen as well. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Still to come tonight - more on the Eliot Spitzer scandal. Wait until you hear the name he reportedly used during his alleged night with a prostitute. It is tonight's segment "What Was He Thinking"?
First, Erica Hill joins us again with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, five U.S. soldiers are dead, three others wounded tonight, after a suicide bombing in Baghdad. The troops were on foot patrol when the attack happened. It is the deadliest ambush on U.S. troops since January.
At least 41 million people in the U.S. are getting more than just water from their tap. The drinking water in two dozen major metropolitan areas includes traces of several drugs, among them, painkillers, sex hormones, even antidepressants. That's according to a five-month-long investigation by the Associated Press.
Researchers say fish in local rivers, lakes and streams have also tested positive for the drugs.
And an amazing find near Lake Tahoe over the weekend, where an Oregon State University grad student got a picture of a wolverine on a motion-and-heat-detecting camera. Now, this is a big deal, because scientists had actually thought wolverines were long gone from the area.
So, a little hope for everybody there.
COOPER: When I saw this story slugged, I thought it meant that the student had taken a picture of Wolverine from X-Men.
HILL: Now, that would have been the lead story.
COOPER: It's interesting, actually, Erica. We just got an e- mail from a viewer.
Professor Dershowitz was saying, look, if this Eliot Spitzer was in Europe, it would be on page 26.
Romano sent us an e-mail on the blog, saying: "I'm just watching with my wife your show and saw the news about Spitzer. The guy said the news about Spitzer in Europe would be page 26 of the newspapers. Well, I'm European. And if you take a look on "The Times" in Great Britain, "The Sueddeutsche Zeitung" in Germany, the Italian paper, you will find news about Spitzer on the first page."
So... HILL: Well...
COOPER: ... at least this story is on page one.
Up next - more on the Spitzer scandal, his alleged code name with a suspected prostitution ring. What was he thinking?
And later: Hillary Clinton suggests Barack Obama would be a good vice president. He fires back.
On the eve of the Mississippi primary, we have got the "Raw Politics" -- tonight on 360.
COOPER: All right, Erica, time for our segment "What Were They Thinking?"
Well, really, frankly, nothing could top the Eliot Spitzer scandal. If, in fact, the New York governor had a rendezvous with a prostitute at a Washington hotel, what was he thinking?
He didn't deny or admit anything in today's news conference, though, tonight, a source says client nine mentioned in the criminal complaint is in fact the governor. And now "The New York Times" is reporting client nine booked his Washington hotel room -- get this -- under the name George Fox.
Why does that matter? Well, interestingly enough, the paper reports George Fox is one of Spitzer's campaign contributors.
COOPER: Yes, not a good idea.
HILL: That may not go over so well, if in fact true.
COOPER: Exactly. "The Times" contacted the real Mr. Fox and asked him if he was in Washington on February 13. His response -- and I quote -- "Why would you think that? I did not."
Also tonight, new details on the price tag of the alleged tryst. According to the criminal complaint, Kristin, the alleged prostitute, got paid $4,300. She typically gets $1,000 an hour.
COOPER: Who knew.
COOPER: Up next, we're on the trail with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the final hours before tomorrow's Mississippi primary.
And, in case you had any doubt about what Senator Obama thinks about being number two on a so-called dream ticket, he made that pretty clear today.
Here's tonight's "Beat 360" -- Senator Obama sitting on a tractor during a visit to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Here's the caption from our staff winner, Cate: "While posing for a photo-op, Senator Obama imagines Hillary Clinton next to him on the tractor riding shotgun -- or, better yet, in a sidecar, inches from the thresher."
Think you can do better? Go to cnn.com/360. Send us your submission. We will announce the winner at the end of the program tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who's in first place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Barack Obama in Columbus, Mississippi, today making it clear he has absolutely no interest in being Hillary Clinton's running mate. Senator Clinton has been hinting at the possibility of a Clinton/Obama ticket, but on the eve of Mississippi's primary, her campaign was forced to backpedal while the Democratic National Party wrestled with its own problems.
CNN's Candy Crowley has the "Raw Politics."
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dream team? A big ix-nay from the candidate with the most state wins and the most pledged delegates.
OBAMA: I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who's in first place.
CROWLEY: It is strong pushback after a weekend full of chatter about putting both Clinton and Obama on the Democratic ticket, talk kicked off anew by the Clintons.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've had people say, "I wish I could vote for both of you." Well, that might be possible some day.
BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You'd have an almost unstoppable force.
CROWLEY: Popular among many Democrats, the Clinton-generated dream-team discussion is a political tactic. His strategists believe it is aimed at diminishing Obama. It is also an attempt to woo voters attracted to him, but hesitant about his resume. The dual campaign strategy of attacking Obama as too green while suggesting he would make a good No. 2 flies against Clinton's early January rhetoric.
H. CLINTON: The most important thing about picking a vice president is picking someone who could be president immediately.
CROWLEY: Obama called it the "old okey-doke," an attempt to hoodwink voters.
OBAMA: But I don't understand. If I'm not ready, how is it that you think you I should be such a great vice president?
CROWLEY: Asked about the implicit contradiction, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson told reporters, "Senator Clinton will not choose any candidate who has not, at the time of choosing, passed the national security threshold, period."
By mid-afternoon today, Clinton was ready to give it a rest.
H. CLINTON: It's premature to talk about whoever might be on whose ticket.
CROWLEY: The dream team ticket met reality as both candidates campaigned in territory they count on in this delegate-by-delegate race. He netted a couple over the weekend, winning the Wyoming caucuses.
Neither is likely to get enough delegates to win the nomination, which is why the mess in Florida and Michigan has become a critical mess. Having held primaries that ran afoul of the party calendar, both states need a redo to seat delegates. The idea du jour? Mail-in voting, which Florida and Michigan have never done.
(on camera) It's like trying to find peace in the Balkans. They need a solution that satisfies both candidates, each state, the National Democratic Party, the state Democratic parties, and the voters. And, by the way, they need to find a way to pay for the redos and a time to hold them. Maybe after that, they can discuss their vice-presidential picks.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Jackson, Mississippi.
COOPER: Interesting politics. Coming up, Barack Obama takes a verbal machine gun to Hillary Clinton's trial balloon that he'd become her running mate. We'll show you more of that.
Also our political panel joins us to talk about the calculation behind floating it in the first place and a lot more about what's happening on the campaign trail today.
Also tonight, this story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER (voice-over): She's on the stump, in the spotlight, speaking out.
CHELSEA CLINTON, HILLARY CLINTON'S DAUGHTER: I'm really excited to be here in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania.
COOPER: No longer seen and not heard. Up close and behind the scenes look at Chelsea Clinton, political campaigner. 360, next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Plenty of "Raw Politics" tonight for our political panel to chew over: from the Florida/Michigan redo mess, to the dream team trial balloon floated by Senator Clinton then shot down today by Barack Obama.
Joining me CNN senior political analyst David Gergen; former Clinton lawyer and current Clinton supporter, Lanny Davis; and Democratic analyst and Obama supporter, Jamal Simmons.
David, what was Clinton's strategy here with all this vice president talk? And did it backfire?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it did backfire. It was -- listen, they recognize on both sides now that, even if there are redos in Florida and Michigan, it's extremely likely that both candidates will come out of this process without enough votes to win at the convention, unless they bring over a lot of super delegates.
I think the Clinton strategy was to try to convince the super delegates there was a way to have two for the price of one. Let's make it easy for you, take all the agony out of the voting. And it was, from the Clintons' point of view, it was shrewd.
From the Obama's point of view, it was cynical, deeply cynical, and frankly, I think the Obama team has a better argument on this particular one.
But he has now shot it down, and I think the question becomes, in shooting it down, his language was pretty strong. He talked about her double-talk, you know, gamesmanship and the like. And the question still hovers in the air would they, in fact, be a good match? Do they have the chemistry to be a good team?
COOPER: Lanny, it's interesting. Obama made the point that, look, if he's not ready to be president, as Hillary Clinton has said or indicated, why does she think he'd be such a great vice president?
LANNY DAVIS, FORMER CLINTON LAWYER: Well, first let's set the record straight. She didn't propose that he be the vice president. She's responding to questions that came up first at a debate in California and the answer when both of them showed openness to the possibility of that dream ticket and that combination. There was a huge ovation. Two-thirds of Democratic voters are answering the polls, saying they'd love to see that ticket. And she said, "You can have both of us." She -- said the opposite. I'm not sure where David gets his calculations at.
GERGEN: Let me -- let me...
DAVIS: If she said the opposite, wouldn't she be criticized, David?
GERGEN: Let me ask you this question. Can you tell us tonight whether she'd be willing to be vice president?
DAVIS: I have no idea, David.
GERGEN: You know, everybody in her camp is saying flatly that will never happen. This was only proposed with one idea in mind.
DAVIS: I actually think it would be more of a problem for Obama to have both Clintons in the White House with her as vice president than it would be for her to serve as vice president.
GERGEN: I agree (ph).
DAVIS: Honestly, David, I have never talked to her about it. But suppose she had answered the question, "No, I wouldn't consider Barack Obama as vice president." Then she'd be accused of awful stuff.
Why is he so offended by her saying, "If you want both of us, you might have a chance to have both of us?" That's all she said. So I don't really get the level of his reaction. It just seems to me quite extreme, and it makes me wonder why is he so angry with her being open...
COOPER: Jamal, why is Obama so angry? Is he...
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think he's angry at all. You've got to love Lanny, because he just loves to throw this stuff out there.
The reality is that Hillary Clinton said today -- said it, and then Bill Clinton also said it at his speech this weekend. So this isn't just something they just floated out there to answer a question. This was clearly something strategic.
And so I think what Barack Obama said is, look, you can't have it both ways. I can't be unqualified to be president and commander-in- chief and then be qualified to be vice president.
And what Hillary Clinton did last week was really one of the most outrageous things that's happened in this campaign. She vouched for John McCain's readiness to be commander-in-chief, which is something that either McCain will use against Barack Obama next fall or he'll use it against Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee, because how can she then say he shouldn't be commander-in-chief, after she said he should be, or he could be, in the primary campaign?
DAVIS: Can I respond to that very quickly?
COOPER: Go ahead.
DAVIS: Because I think the last time Jamal made that point I wasn't able to respond. Anderson, the fact is the American people right now -- Democrats, two-thirds of the Democrats -- say that she is qualified to be commander-in-chief and that Barack Obama is not. She's not making that up. He has not yet passed that threshold test.
Clearly, John McCain, his service in the military, his service in the Senate has. That's not necessarily -- that's not necessarily...
COOPER: Let me just ask Lanny. I mean, since you said your point...
DAVIS: ... can't meet the threshold. But that's...
COOPER: Lanny, since you said your point, let me ask Jamal. Doesn't the fact that Obama has received more votes and won more primaries seem to indicate that more Americans think he has passed that threshold test, rather than a poll?
SIMMONS: I absolutely think that that's the case. I mean, more Americans across the country in more states have said they would prefer to have Barack Obama as president and commander-in-chief than Hillary Clinton. That's a numerical fact that can't be disputed.
So for Lanny Davis to sit here and, just like Senator Clinton was saying this week, that Barack Obama is less qualified to be commander- in-chief than John McCain is to prepare our probable nominee to be eviscerated by the Republicans, and that's just unacceptable.
DAVIS: I actually didn't say that, Jamal. I actually did not say that. You're putting words in my mouth. All I said was the fact of the polls is the perception is that Barack Obama hasn't crossed that threshold. I hope he will by the time he's a nominee. And I hope he's elected president if he's the nominee.
Right now the people aren't saying that. And that's reporting to you a fact from the polling data.
COOPER: All right. Well, you're paying attention to the polls, and clearly, Jamal is paying attention to the election results. Let's move on from this. We're a little bit too in the weeds on this one.
David, what happens now between now and Pennsylvania? I mean, 33 delegates at stake in Mississippi tomorrow. Then there's a six-week gap until the primary in Pennsylvania. Is all focus then, as soon as Mississippi is over, on Pennsylvania? Is that the only thing that matters?
GERGEN: Oh, no, no not at all. I think the margin tomorrow in Mississippi does matter. If Hillary Clinton were to come in within less than 10 points, that would be seen as a moral victory for her. We'll have to wait and see how this all turns out.
But between now and Pennsylvania, the Democratic Party is likely to try to resolve this question of Florida and Michigan.
COOPER: So in terms of timing, that will happen before Pennsylvania, you think?
GERGEN: Well, I think they're going to try to move towards some kind of resolution. The argument was being made today by some in Florida that they have to start sending out the ballots within the third week of April in order to have a vote by June, because they want to send ballots overseas.
So there's going to be an effort to raise funds and everything. I do think, Anderson, we're moving towards redos in both states. What form they will take and who will pay for them remain -- those are the mechanics that need to be worked out. But I think we're moving in that direction.
COOPER: David Gergen, Jamal Simmons, Lanny Davis, I appreciate all you guys being on the program. Thank you very much.
GERGEN: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, some breaking news. New photos in this Eliot Spitzer sex scandal story.
Plus, she used to be seen and not heard. Not anymore. We'll take you close up with former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, on the stump for her mom in Mississippi. Last week, we showed you her in Philadelphia. Tonight, Mississippi. Next.
COOPER: Quick update now on the Eliot Spitzer scandal. We've just had some pictures in tonight, new pictures. They were taken by the "Washington Examiner" newspaper.
According to the paper, they showed the room in the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, Room 871, where Governor Spitzer allegedly had his tryst with the prostitute known as Kristen.
Governor Spitzer apologized today to his family and New Yorkers for unspecified transgressions. Let's show the other pictures. He's not resigned, nor has he yet been charged with any crime.
That's inside the room there at the Mayflower. It's apparently right across the street, I think, from ABC News on Connecticut Avenue, I think it is, in Washington, D.C.
Now to Chelsea Clinton. On the campaign trail, the candidate's daughter hasn't talked to the media. That's her policy. But she is speaking out to young Americans on why her mom should be president.
We first caught up with Chelsea Clinton last week in Philadelphia. CNN's Gary Tuchman captured a side to her that we don't normally see.
Tonight, Gary picks up where he left off. This time, traveling with Chelsea Clinton in Mississippi, the site of tomorrow's primary. Gary found out her life on the road may surprise you.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's hard to compete against a honking freight train. But in the midst of a crowd in Batesville, Mississippi, population 7,800.
C. CLINTON: Hopefully, she will be the leader of the free world with your help here in Mississippi.
TUCHMAN: Chelsea Clinton is holding court outside of court. And inside Sal and Mookie's Pizza Restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi, and at colleges, like Millsaps College.
C. CLINTON: My mother has raised me to believe in the discipline of gratitude and to be grateful for everything that God and my family has given me and also to get up and work hard every day for what I believe in.
TUCHMAN: And at the University of Mississippi.
C. CLINTON: I passionately support my mom. She is my mom.
Thank you all. Thanks for coming.
TUCHMAN: Chelsea Clinton has now campaigned for her mother in 33 states and, if anything, is picking up the pace. She's taken a leave of absence from her job as an analyst for a hedge fund.
For years, she has kept her personal life personal, but people coming to her rallies want to know more.
C. CLINTON: I live and work in New York and have a private life, which may seem strange, as I stand up here today in front of all of you. But I will go back to that life. I have a little apartment, a dog, a job. And at some point, that is what I will return to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The key to the city of Unita (ph), Mississippi, provided to Chelsea Clinton, March the 10th, 2008.
TUCHMAN: She takes questions from people attending her rallies but still will not knowingly take questions from reporters.
A senior Clinton campaign aide travels with Chelsea, Philip Ryan (ph).
PHILIP RYAN, SENIOR CLINTON CAMPAIGN AIDE: She has a right to define her privacy as they want. You know, if I weren't being paid, I probably wouldn't talk to you. Some people choose to forego getting their wisdom teeth out. It's probably a similar mindset.
TUCHMAN: When Chelsea hops into her car for rides between campaign stops, aides say she rarely has time for real meals. Instead, Starbucks tops the list of pit stops. And exercise isn't as frequent as all would want.
When they fly, it's mostly on commercial flights.
(on camera) Chelsea Clinton is not a politician, but she could make history. If her mother is elected, Chelsea would become the first person in the history of the 231-year history of this country to have two parents serve as president.
So how does she feel about that? Well, the only way we'll find out is if someone at one of her rallies asks her.
(voice-over) Which they didn't during this most recent Mississippi swing.
C. CLINTON: This is, I think, my 63rd college.
TUCHMAN: But she plans to keep going as long as her mother does.
TUCHMAN: Now, what stops a local reporter the Clinton campaign might not know from asking a question at one of these rallies?
Well, we believe it's happened before. As a matter of fact, today, there was a guy who looked like a reporter. He was wearing kind of a tweed jacket, standing near a question. And he started asking a question, and one of the Clinton aides said, "Hey, that's a reporter asking a question."
It turned out it wasn't. He was just a community activist, but they're on the alert for that kind of thing.
Chelsea Clinton will be here in Mississippi one more day tomorrow, for primary day. And then she's off to Pennsylvania, where she, her mother and her father will all be spending a lot of time -- Anderson.
COOPER: Gary, next time you do this, I'd like to imagine you, like, dressing up as a student with, like, a little fake mustache and, you know, a little hat or something to try to ask some questions. See if you pass. I don't think you will. But Gary, thanks very much.
TUCHMAN: Next time I'll do that, Anderson.
COOPER: OK. Get manhandled out of the meeting.
Up next, our "Planet in Peril." Allegations on a report of the Great Lakes is not being made public because it could lead to lawsuits. Tonight you'll hear from the whistleblower at the CDC. He's speaking out when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, the Great Lakes are the largest system of fresh water on earth. The numbers are stunning. They contain roughly 21 percent of the world's fresh water supply and 84 percent of North America's. More than 33 million people live in the Great Lakes Basin.
The question now is are they living in danger? A report that hasn't been made public yet suggests there are staggering health risks. The whistleblower at the CDC said he's being punished for revealing the truth.
With tonight's "Planet in Peril" report, here's CNN's David Mattingly.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a report 9 million people would want to see. So why would the CDC delay the release of a document that identifies 25 pollution hot spots around the Great Lakes and their proximity to spikes in disease like cancer and infant mortality?
Is the CDC trying to keep this report under wraps?
CHRIS DE ROSA, CDC WHISTLEBLOWER: I think that probably is a fair statement to make.
MATTINGLY: Chris De Rosa once directed a CDC agency that mined a century's worth of studies and records to create a road map to possible intersections of disease and environmental contamination like lead, mercury and PCB's. The report was seven years in the making. But instead of seeing his work go public, De Rosa thinks he could be fired.
What were you doing wrong?
DE ROSA: I would describe it as perhaps speaking truth to power.
MATTINGLY: If his name sounds familiar, that's because De Rosa is the same government scientist who blew the whistle on dangerous formaldehyde in FEMA trailers.
His report on the Great Lakes is vast by comparison. The report stops short, however, of creating a link between pollution and disease and does not assign blame.
But the report that was supposed to go public last summer didn't. De Rosa says he believes that's because it raised too many questions about who was doing the polluting and who might have to clean it up.
REP. BART STUPAK (D) MICHIGAN: It tells me they're starting to do a white wash of this report, and I think the policymakers need to know the facts.
MATTINGLY: Democratic Bart Stupak of Michigan is chairman of the house subcommittee investigating De Rosa's alleged demotion and his belief that the agency was creating a substantial and specific danger to public health. STUPAK: And I, for one, and most members of the U.S. House of represents are quite frustrated with this administration's repeated attempt to manipulate the science for political purposes and not put forth the facts or realities facing the American people.
MATTINGLY: Keeping them honest, we reached out to the CDC which agreed to speak to us on camera, but that interview was also postponed. They did tell us, however, that the delay of the report was all about science.
In this e-mailed statement, the agency says they looked at the report and found significant scientific deficiencies, and it has been working since then to correct them. Is this a case of bad science?
DE ROSA: No. It's the best possible science we could pursue. It was vetted over a five-year period of time.
MATTINGLY: The CDC tells us the report will be reviewed again and released once their own concerns have been resolved. In the meantime, De Rosa may soon be telling his story to congress.
David Mattingly. CNN, Atlanta.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
COOPER: And we'll continue to cover it. We'll be right back.
That's all for this edition of 360. For our interviewers, "CNN Today" is next. Here in America, Larry King is coming up.
Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night.
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