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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
G-20 Summit Turning Point For Global Economy?; Interview With Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
Aired April 2, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, declaring victory, President Obama calling the G-20 summit Here a turning point for the global economy, all smiles at the closing photo session, world markets already giving it a thumbs up, and, as you will see, the world media falling hard for the Obamas, Mrs. Obama making an especially warm impression, some very touching moments to show you, what happened at a local girls school today.
Also, tonight, breaking news back home, as well, the president's budget passing the House -- his old governor, Rod Blagojevich, indicted on corruption charges.
All that's ahead.
But, right now, what the president achieved today and the new reality of America's role in the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, we remain the he largest economy in the world by a pretty significant margin. We remain the most powerful military on Earth. Our production of culture, our politics, our media still have -- I didn't mean to say that with such scorn, guys.
B. OBAMA: You know, I'm teasing. Still have enormous influence. And so I do not buy into the notion that -- that America can't lead in the world. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think that we had important things to contribute.
I just think in a world that is as complex as it is, that it is very important for us to be able to forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, in this case, it meant compromising on global stimulus spending, but winning recognition that more spending is needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: The big mistake countries make in financial crises is, they put the brakes on too early. They don't keep at it until recovery is firmly established. And the world needs to see that kind of sustained commitment, not just on the -- on the economy, but on the financial systems, on the trade agenda, support for emerging markets, across the board.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: More from our one-on-one with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner shortly.
But, first, Ed Henry with what you need to know about what happened today.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Striding into an overflow room of reporters from around the world, President Obama declared his first summit a success, even though he didn't get all he wanted.
B. OBAMA: We finished a very productive summit that will be, I believe, a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery.
It was historic because of the size and the scope of the challenges that we face and because of the timeliness and magnitude of our response.
HENRY: The magnitude, $1.1 trillion the G-20 leaders agreed to pump into the global economy, which Mr. Obama was pushing, over the objections of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But it's directed to the International Monetary Fund to help developing countries, so it may not have the stimulative effect the president wanted.
B. OBAMA: I think we did OK.
HENRY: Mr. Obama suggested expectations were too high, noting it was easier to find consensus at summits led by British and American leaders in decades past.
B. OBAMA: Well, if -- if it's just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy, yes, that's -- that's an easier negotiation.
B. OBAMA: But that's not the world we live in.
HENRY: Also a mixed bag on financial oversight, with Mr. Obama stopping the French president's demand for a powerful new overarching financial regulatory body. Instead, the leaders agreed to establish a new financial stability board as an early warning sign for future crises. But it has little teeth to actually crack down on risky investments, like hedge funds.
B. OBAMA: I think the steps in the communique were necessary. Whether they're sufficient, we have got to -- we have -- we have got to wait and see. This group, once again, will respond as needed.
COOPER: And Ed Henry is with us now, along with Richard "Argy- Bargy" Quest.
Let's talk about this communique which the president talked about. That's what has come out of this at the end of the day.
Richard, what is in this communique?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The communique is extremely long. It's very detailed.
COOPER: That is it?
QUEST: This is it, yes, absolutely...
QUEST: ... some 10 pages' worth.
What it basically does is set out the framework for the future in terms of financial regulation, what will happen to the IMF, how much extra money is going to be given, trade imbalances, protectionist, anti-protectionist measures, and, most important of all, of course, rewriting the financial rules.
COOPER: And does the Obama White House leave here tomorrow morning happy?
HENRY: They feel happy that this is a framework. But the key is, it's only a framework. This does not have the force of law, this communique, obviously.
These 20 leaders can't get together and just dictate to the entire world this is a new regulatory system. But what they can hope is, they can take the fact that there are principles here on executive pay, for example, saying that executive pay should be tied to performance, not to risk-taking.
And then Secretary Geithner can go to Capitol Hill and say, look, most of the world, 85 percent of the world's economy, has now gotten behind these principles. It's time to pass the regulations that the president wants.
Is Congress going to respond just because these leaders said it? Not necessarily so, but they hope they get a little bit of momentum out of it.
QUEST: And bear in mind that these communiques are renowned for being ignored as soon as the meeting -- the meeting is over.
QUEST: Take, for example, the protectionist measures.
Well, we heard back in Washington, in November, they pledged to themselves against protectionism, and probably headed off and introduced all sorts of protectionist measures.
COOPER: Which they all deny, none of them will actually step up and admit to.
So, we take it with a pinch of salt, but it's a huge, huge improvement that they managed to even come up with such a detailed document.
COOPER: And in terms of how President Obama did on the world stage?
HENRY: Certainly, he was able to rise to the occasion in some respects.
We spoke last night about Russia. On the sidelines of this, beyond the financial crisis, he had a major breakthrough in terms of arms control. That's very important, obviously.
In terms of the financial crisis, he was clearly able to hold his own. A lot of these leaders didn't want to spend this much money, $1.1 trillion, he was able to get that at the least -- the details, not so much. He wasn't able to make this sort of the stimulative kind of spending he pushed for. But just getting here, getting 20 leaders together is obviously not easy. And he couldn't change the whole world in a couple of days.
COOPER: Richard, what happened to all those threats from France's president about storming out and -- and about having a global regulator who was going to reach across borders and be able to -- to -- to deal with markets, no matter what country they were in?
QUEST: Well, I might be alone on this one. Ed might not agree with me. But I think buried in here somewhere is the beginnings of a global regulator.
HENRY: Show me. Where?
QUEST: We may not...
QUEST: We may not see it this year. We may not see it next year, but they have opened up the idea of there being some form of other regulator across countries. And I think that's going to come...
COOPER: So, is this some sort of a new world order, which -- which Gordon Brown kind of alluded to?
HENRY: That's where President Obama was drawing the line and saying, look...
COOPER: That concerns a lot of people in the United States.
HENRY: You can't, all of a sudden, have a super-regulator, even if we're in a desperate crisis now. You can't, according to the U.S., take that and say, OK, all of a sudden, there's this supercop who is going to dictate what the U.S. does, what Great Britain does. That ruins the sovereignty of individual nations.
You can't just, all of a sudden, do that. And that's a big tipping point.
COOPER: Timothy Geithner, who I talked to today -- and we're going to show that interview shortly -- flatly denied that -- that was going to happen.
QUEST: I hate to disagree with you, gentleman.
QUEST: But I believe section 15 of this communique...
QUEST: ... sort of establishes a new financial stability board.
HENRY: But what does it say? It replaces what used to be a financial stability group of some kind, right...
HENRY: ... that's been around for 10 years. It hasn't done anything.
QUEST: Yes, with strengthened -- strengthened mandate.
COOPER: This is all arcane diplomatic language.
COOPER: We will see if it actually means anything coming down the pike.
Ed Henry, thank you very much.
COOPER: Richard Quest, stick around.
A lot more to talk about, both here and online. Join the live chat happening now at AC360.com, also Erica Hill's live Webcasts during the commercial breaks.
Up next, we will have my interview with Tim Geithner, who says the firing of GM's Rick Wagoner might not be the last CEO head to roll.
Also tonight, on the battle lines with protesters and the Londoners just trying to get around them.
Later, see the remarkable reception Michelle Obama got today as she talked about how far her generation of women has come and how much farther their generation will.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: I am reminded and convinced that all of you in this school are very important parts of closing that gap. You are the women who will build the world as it should be. You're going to write the next chapter in history, not just for yourselves, but for your generation and generations to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: She was at a girls' school today -- a lot of tears in that room. We will have more of her comments throughout the evening and at the end of the program.
Plus, back home, what the recession looks like caught on tape -- one man's act of desperation, sticking up a gas station with -- get this -- his daughter standing next to him -- that and more tonight on 360.
Stay with us.
COOPER: So, what do you think of all the protests?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a little wild. I mean, I think everyone with the G-20 is trying to get everything back intact, and the protesters aren't really going to help it.
COOPER: Did it give an accurate sense of what was happening in London yesterday, or was that just a small part of it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right around, for sure, but it was mayhem. These are definitely crazy times. And this is like -- This is like the '60s, where everyone was protesting then. This is more uncertain times. The world is at a crossroads.
COOPER: I mean, do you think much is actually going to come out of the G-20 meetings?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God, I hope so. I hope so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we -- we hope so. But...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You never know, though. It's politics as usual.
COOPER: Those are American students studying business here in London.
Speaking of politics, more on our breaking news -- the House tonight passing a $3.6 billion budget outline for 2010. It -- it passed with no Republican support.
The White House tonight issuing a statement welcoming the vote -- the Senate taking up similar legislation tonight, also along tight party lines. Expect market reaction tomorrow. Already, they're liking the summit news, the Dow industrials breaking 8000 today, before sinking back. When was the last time we saw 8000? Walking away, though, with a 216-point gain at the end of the day -- Asian markets rising as we speak.
They liked the summit. They liked other signs that all the recent economic medicine might -- might -- be taking effect. They even seemed to accept President Obama's action to can GM's CEO, something I talked about today with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
COOPER: You said yesterday that you were open to firing CEOs in the future.
GEITHNER: If you look at -- if you look at what we have done in the financial sector already, what the government's done, so, where we have had to do exceptional things, in AIG or in Fannie and Freddie, we have changed management, made sure there's a stronger board in place and there were other conditions in place, so that these guys again can restructure and emerge stronger.
Now, that's a necessary thing to do, because we want to make sure the taxpayers' money we're putting at risk in this context creates a stronger -- a stronger financial system.
COOPER: European papers have called this the most important economic summit since World War II. What have you actually accomplished, though, what -- what new concrete steps?
GEITHNER: The most important thing, again, is to get the leaders of the world -- these countries represent 85 percent of global output -- to stand together and say, we're going to act together to do what's necessary to bring this recovery back on track, and we're going to act now to start to lay the foundation for a stronger financial system in the future, a more stable system that does a better job of protecting out economies.
COOPER: But there has been a lot of finger-pointing to the U.S. Does the U.S. have anything to apologize for in terms of creating this financial crisis?
GEITHNER: No, I believe the U.S. bears some responsibility for this. But responsibility goes around.
And I think all countries were sort of overwhelmed by the force of global capital flows. our challenge now, though, is to make sure we're moving with the rest of the world to pull the world towards higher standards. We want us to see a race to the top, rather than a race to the bottom.
And we need them to come with us if we're going to be effective in strengthening our system.
COOPER: There have been real disagreements, most notably, France and Germany. President Obama, you, yourself, wanted them to spend more, fiscal spending, to stimulate their economies. They were unwilling to do that.
COOPER: How big a disappointment...
GEITHNER: No, I wouldn't say it that way.
You know, these are the way summits work. You know, people come with their own different interests and priorities (INAUDIBLE) But the president came with a strong agenda, very, very broad support for that agenda. You will see very, very strong support for his priorities and -- and his agenda. And the world really was with him on this.
COOPER: A lot of people in the U.S. raised their eyebrows when they heard France's president talking about a -- a global regulator who would actually be able to cross borders, reach into the U.S. economy, deal directly with the U.S. financial markets.
GEITHNER: That -- that's not going to happen. And there was -- there was really no support around the room for that.
COOPER: He said that was nonnegotiable.
GEITHNER: No, but countries around the room -- well, you know, the markets are global, but regulation is still the sovereign responsibility of governments.
COOPER: Just two more quick questions. Timeline -- I mean, there are a lot of folks wondering -- bottom line, they're wondering, is, when is this thing going to be over? When -- when is the -- the bottom going to come?
GEITHNER: Well, you know, we have seen some encouraging signs. You know, the pace of deterioration has started to slow, some improvement.
But it took a long time to get here. It's still enormously challenging. Progress is going to be uneven, and we need to make sure we're acting as forcefully and quickly as we can across the board, not just on recovery, but in housing, help get credit flowing again, bring the world with us to make sure there's expanding markets for U.S. exports.
COOPER: Finally, most important of all, you met the queen yesterday. How was that? I saw you gave a little bit of a bow. Did you practice that?
GEITHNER: I did not practice it, but I was -- I was careful and respectful, as you would expect.
COOPER: Mr. Secretary, thanks so much.
GEITHNER: Thank you.
COOPER: Appreciate it. Thanks for your time.
COOPER: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today.
Up next, from London, the protesters, who they are, what they want, and how they were dealt with by authorities today and every day -- Londoners caught in the middle as well.
Later, the fallout from Mrs. Obama's touching moment with the queen. Was protocol breached? Buckingham Palace says no. Did Her Majesty actually make the first move? You be the judge.
Also, the young princesses who really welcomed the affection and returned the love big-time -- the first lady's emotional school day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. OBAMA: When I -- I -- I look at a performance like this, it just reminds me that there are diamonds like this all over the world. All of you are jewels. You are precious. And you touch my heart.
And it is important for the world to know that there are wonderful girls like you all over the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What do you think about these protesters?
ANDY KING, LONDON BANKER: I suppose they -- they have got a right to protest, which is fine. But, in regards to disrupting the -- what's going on in the city, it's caused me a few problems getting to work the last couple of days.
COOPER: Did you think twice about wearing a nice suit?
KING: When I saw it in the morning, yes, I did. And the -- my employer did actually recommend that we dress down for these couple of days. But, at the end of the day, you know, if something's going to happen, it could happen regardless if you're wearing a suit or not.
COOPER: Well, aside from being a hassle for locals commuting to work, the protests here in London have been relatively peaceful. There have been some clashes, to be sure, more than 100 arrests. Windows were broken yesterday at a Bank of Scotland branch.
All in all, though, police were very well prepared. You might be watching these pictures, wondering, who are these people? Who are these protesters -- protesters, and what do they want?
Well, that certainly depends on what you talk to. The G-20 summit is a magnet for causes of every stripe.
Here's ITN Channel 4's Alex Thomson.
ALEX THOMSON, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): Different location, different crowd, several hundred in London's (INAUDIBLE) today vaguely near the G-20 center, after several thousand in the city yesterday.
And who would have thought it? It was dominated by Eritreans, Somalis and Ethiopians highlighting human rights abuses in that country under its dictator, Meles Zenawi. You wouldn't have bet on that, would you?
The Ethiopians were loud, but didn't drown out a host of other causes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: G-20 leaders are useful in solving the economic crisis, and also the environmental one, which is more important, because we're running out of resources, and we have to sustain them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have had enough. I want -- I want to go out to work. I (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop the genocide in Tibet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My message is to stop police brutality like yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need change in Congo. We need those people to help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The polar bears are dying, and that is wrong. So, we're saying, if you want to save the polar bears, you have to save the environment.
THOMSON: And to cap all that, a youth for jobs march from Central London arrived late afternoon.
Barack Obama's unsustainable convoy ground in well before any protesters were here. And from the ExCeL Centre, there was no way he would have seen them anyhow.
(on camera): The actual G-20 conference center way up there, behind those old derricks. It must be at least, oh, I don't know, a half-mile from where the protest is happening, which is right down this end of the old dock.
(voice-over): And all around this area, police on the ground, police on rooftops, police in the air and in the docks -- well, you get the picture, people stopped and searched by the police like Scott West (ph), an American visitor mounting a one-man protest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very surprised. I would think that they would not have the power to do that. I'm almost certain that, in America, you do not, just to stop any bystander and search them, and take their details down, in case they might do something.
THOMSON: Climate protesters say the police were needlessly heavy-handed last night when they cleared their tents from Bishopsgate, one of the city's main roads, and supplied these images to make their point.
Alex Thomson, Channel 4 News, in East London.
COOPER: Well, next on 360: ending the controversy once and for all.
Michelle Obama's embrace with the queen, some call it an extraordinary breach of protocol, but did Her Majesty actually reach out first? And can anyone touch the queen?
Also, some shocking video: a father holding up a store and bringing his own daughter with him at the time. Wait until you hear what he told the clerk about why he and his child need help.
And, later, overwhelmed with emotion -- Michelle Obama's visit with British school students, how she says it touched her heart -- when 360, live from London, continues.
We will be right back.
COOPER: Tonight, the close encounter seen around the world. You know what I'm talking about, the hug between Queen Elizabeth and Michelle Obama. Was the first lady out of bounds? And is it OK under any situation to touch Her Majesty? These were the questions Londoners were talking about tonight.
The answers tonight, and a look at a few famous "personal space" moments with the queen.
Take a look.
COOPER (voice-over): It lasted mere seconds, but many are keeping a tight hold on this quick embrace, wondering if Michelle Obama somehow breached royal protocol by hugging the queen.
ROBERT JOBSON, ROYAL WATCHER: Clearly, the queen did make the first move on the first lady. She embraced her. It was quite a -- a small room that they were in, quite a lot of people in there, and she just brought her close, and then Michelle responded.
COOPER: From our view, it's hard to know if the queen did pull Michelle Obama toward her, but another royal watcher says she did, and calls it remarkable.
JACQUELINE WHITMORE, ETIQUETTE CONSULTANT: I have never seen a photograph of the queen touching another first lady this early on in the relationship, like she did with Ms. Obama. And the fact that she reached out to Michelle Obama this soon in the relationship is a clear indication of her true feelings for Ms. Obama.
COOPER: Not everyone agrees, however. One British tabloid says Michelle Obama committed a major faux pas, writing: "In 57 years, the queen has never been seen to make that kind of gesture. And it is certainly against all protocol to touch."
But, on the streets today outside Buckingham Palace, most Londoners we talked to thought it was a jolly good show.
(on camera): But -- but it was OK? It wasn't an international incident?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Goodness no. No, no, no. It's lovely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lovely.
COOPER (voice-over): Hoping to put the matter to rest once and for all, Buckingham Palace went on record, saying: "It was a mutual and spontaneous display of affection and appreciation between the queen and Michelle Obama. The London summit reception at Buckingham Palace was an informal occasion."
The royal household insists there's no obligatory code when greeting the queen, only to be courteous. Buckingham Palace does describe a customary approach, a neck bow for the men and a small curtsy for women.
Getting personal with the queen has stirred outrage in the past. In 1992, Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating was vilified after he put his arm around her. The gesture led the British press to brand him the "Lizard of Oz."
A year earlier, the queen herself seemed stunned when, during a visit to Washington, D.C., a woman named Alice Frazier hugged her in her home, the moment captured in a photograph. More recently, in 2007, former President Bush was seen winking at the queen. Many viewed that as a gaffe.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.
COOPER: But, as for Michelle Obama, touching Her Majesty, most Londoners today seemed to be keeping a stiff upper lip and a style.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If she can cuddle our queen and get away with it, she's OK.
COOPER: Much ado about nothing?
Let's see what our own Richard Quest has to say.
Were -- were you surprised? I mean, it was actually kind of a -- kind of a charming, intimate moment.
QUEST: It was a charming and intimate moment...
QUEST: ... except it was with the queen of England.
QUEST: And, for 50 odd years, nobody has ever gone and put their arm around her like that.
QUEST: I mean, was it a significant -- was it important? Was it a breach of protocol worthy of comment? No, the truth is. The queen is well used to this sort of thing.
What I found fascinating was how Michelle Obama ever got herself into the position where she was able to do that. Normally...
COOPER: How so?
QUEST: Well, normally, when you -- the viewer will bear with us.
Normally, when you're talking to the queen, you're in front of her. You're never really in a position when you're standing like that. So, how on earth -- well, the mind boggles.
COOPER: The mind boggles.
But it was interesting to see Londoners' reactions to this today. You know, we were outside Buckingham Palace talking to people. And everyone did sort of say, it was surprising to see, but they all kind of loved it.
QUEST: The queen is a woman in her '80s who has never been manhandled by...
QUEST: ... you know, by people before.
She will not have -- but the important thing to remember is, she will not have been offended. She puts her arm back around again. It was a touching moment. The palace are very keen to make this absolutely clear.
This is not like that time with Paul Keating or with the lady in Washington.
COOPER: You -- you met the queen, I think, a while back. How did you greet her?
QUEST: Well, yes, one -- one meets the queen and you...
COOPER: One meets the queen?
QUEST: One meets the queen.
COOPER: I see.
QUEST: One meets the queen.
COOPER: One meets the queen. All of a sudden, now you're a one. OK.
QUEST: Well, one's always taught to -- now, stop it.
QUEST: One meets the queen. And you're -- you're not given any protocol.
I mean, if you want to shake hands, you can put your hand out, and she will shake your hand. You don't grasp it...
COOPER: Oh, look, there you are meeting the queen.
QUEST: Oh, there you are.
COOPER: And, so, you did a little head bow.
QUEST: We were both a lot younger in those days.
QUEST: Look at her. She looks she's sucking a lemon.
COOPER: I don't suppose you said that to her?
QUEST: I didn't. I gave her an interesting tour round about our new studios at CNN.
I did give a bow. And, no, you know, what else do you do when you meet the queen?
QUEST: Look, it's one of those things. I challenge anybody not to say they want to meet Queen Elizabeth II.
QUEST: Would you like to meet her?
COOPER: Sure, yes. It would be interesting. I wouldn't know what to do. I would get -- I would -- I would -- I would blow it.
QUEST: Look at him.
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Yes.
QUEST: Look, he's gone to pieces.
QUEST: He hasn't even met her yet, and he's gone to pieces.
COOPER: I know. I would be terrible.
COOPER: We're going to have more with Richard later on in the program.
Back in the U.S., we have breaking news on former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich. He's been indicted by federal grand jury while on vacation in Disney World. I don't think they're going to make that into a commercial. We'll talk to Jeffrey Toobin about what his future holds.
Meanwhile, a very different day for Michelle Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: You know what, my husband, you know him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
OBAMA: He's going to be very jealous of my afternoon, because I'm spending it with all of you. He's meeting with important people, but it's not as much fun as being here. I am just delighted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Michelle Obama, given really a rock star welcome by 200 schoolgirls. Some emotional moments. We'll tell you what made her, and frankly, a lot of the kids get choked pup.
COOPER: More breaking news tonight. New troubles for former Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich. You remember him, of course. Who can forget? He was impeached in January after being accused of trying to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, among other things. He resigned from office, and now a federal grand jury has indicted him on 16 federal counts, including racketeering, conspiracy, and wire fraud.
Blagojevich says he's saddened, hurt, and innocent. Somehow, we expect that is certainly not the last we're going to hear from him. Senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, joins me now.
Jeff, you recently interviewed Blagojevich. You say he's as confident as ever that he's going to beat these charges.
JEFF TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: To follow-up on your conversation with Richard, I have not met Queen Elizabeth, but I have met Rod Blagojevich. And he was so confident. I mean, he was just the same as ever. And he said not only is he going to be acquitted, but he's going to resume his political career and be as big as ever, when this trial is over.
I mean, he may be crazy. In fact, there's a good argument for that, but he's certainly confident.
COOPER: How serious are these charges? And are they different from the criminal complaint against him in December, when he was originally arrested?
TOOBIN: Well, they're enormously serious, especially that racketeering count, because that really elevates the case to a new level. Put it this way: if he's convicted of most of these charges, he is looking at at least ten years in prison, realistically. So it's a very serious white-collar case.
And remember, it's not just Blagojevich, it's his brother. It's two former chiefs of staff. It's two other associates. It's basically the entire top of Illinois state government for the past, almost eight years.
As for -- I'm sorry, what was the other question you asked?
COOPER: Well, how are they different than the original complaints against him?
TOOBIN: They're not that different. It's pretty similar. The pay-to-play, the overall theme of the case is that if you wanted to do business with Illinois's state government, you had to make campaign contributions, you had to give Blagojevich and his cronies money.
One interesting additional charge is they basically say that Congressman Rahm Emanuel, then-congressman, now White House chief of staff, was extorted for his -- when he was trying to get something out of state government. They don't accuse Emanuel of doing anything wrong, but they say he was a victim. So almost for sure, Emanuel is going to be a witness at this trial, which will certainly be a dramatic event.
COOPER: We learned he's -- he's actually in Disney World with his family for his kids' spring break. He released a statement tonight saying -- I just want to read it. He said, quote, "I'm saddened and hurt, but I'm not surprised by the indictment. I'm innocent. I now will fight in the courts to clear my name. I would ask the good people of Illinois to wait for the trial and afford me the presumption of innocence that they would give all their friends and neighbors."
At this point, this has got to be incredibly expensive for him.
TOOBIN: It's going to be very expensive, but I also think it's worth pointing out that there may be a defense here. I don't know if it will work, but there is a plausible defense, which is, look, politics has gone on for many years with campaign contributions and people getting benefits from politicians.
Lots of people who have contracts with government give campaign contributions. That, in itself, is not illegal. Now, what the government is charging is that the quid pro quo was so direct -- you give money, you get contracts. That's illegal.
But you can see Blagojevich arguing and saying, "Hey, wait a second. This is just trying to criminalize business as usual in government." And you never know what a jury might believe. So, you know, we should not be too hasty to -- to put Rod Blagojevich in prison just yet. He may beat this case.
COOPER: Do you think they're going to -- do you think they're going to -- will they offer a plea to the former, you know, chiefs of staff, maybe the brother, get them to flip on Blagojevich?
TOOBIN: I think that's a dead certain that, you know, there's six defendants. The "always" rule in white-collar crime is you try to get some of the lesser-known, less-important people to flip.
The brother, I think, is less likely, but certainly John Harris, the former White -- the former chief of staff. They are going to be looking at cut deals, in all likelihood.
The government will probably want to cut a deal with them, because they know that their success or failure will not be judged on these underlings. It will be whether they can get Blagojevich. So look for some deal making in the months ahead. There probably won't be a trial here for easily six months.
COOPER: All right. Jeff Toobin. Appreciate it. Thanks, Jeff.
Still coming up tonight, Michelle Obama's emotional visit to London's girls' school. Her message to them.
But first, Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea's long-range missile launch, the rocket could take off at any minute. The State Department is choosing its words carefully, but it did say, quote, "We don't want to see this launch put forward."
Cautious, though, that any strong-armed criticism could jeopardize fragile diplomatic inroads with the country.
Japan says it will shoot down the missile if it threatens Japanese territory, a move North Korea labels an act of war.
Wanted no more. A suspected drug cartel leader paraded before the cameras today after being captured in Mexico City. Mexican authorities and the FBI have been looking for Vicente Carrillo for some time. He's accused of running a cartel that hauls in tons of cocaine and marijuana into the U.S.
The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week to 650,000, and people filing continuing claims hit an all-time high for the ninth straight week.
We now know Michael Vicks' next job is going to be in construction. The suspended former NFL quarterback, in federal prison for running a dog-fighting ring, will be released in May. His employment plans came out in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy hearing today, Anderson.
All right. That's a strange twist.
Erica, let's play "Beat 360" right now, our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than the one that we can come up for a photo that we put on the blog every day.
So let's take a look. The picture tonight: President Obama posing with Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and Russia's president at the G-20 summit.
Our staff winner tonight, Tom Foreman. His caption: "In a rare break from the G-20 meetings, three world leaders play a quick game of rock-paper-bald guy."
(SOUND EFFECT: "Ooooh!")
COOPER: Harsh but funny. Our viewer winner is Adam from New York City. His caption: "Smile big in this one, fellows, make it a good one. I'm going to have it framed for Limbaugh."
(SOUND EFFECT: DRUM BEAT)
COOPER: Also -- that was good. Your Beat 360 T-shirt is on the way. Congratulations.
Coming up next, an act caught on tape that -- it's just kind of stunning. A man robs a convenience store at gunpoint with his 9-year- old daughter at his side. Wait until you hear what he tells the store clerk.
Also, Michelle Obama's moving day. The first lady met young fans, sharing some inspiring words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. OBAMA: I want you to know that we have very much in common. Nor nothing in my life's path would have predicted that I'd be standing here as the first African-American first lady of the United States of America. There was nothing in my story that would land me here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Breaking news to report to you tonight: a campus on lockdown. Radford University, we are just getting details. Radford University in Radford, Virginia, a gunman has been spotted on campus. He apparently entered the premises after opening fire nearby. There's no word yet on who, if anyone, he hit.
Local police are looking for an armed African-American man, shirtless, wearing a camouflaged jacket, apparently. Students are warned to stay inside or seek shelter.
There's about 9,200 students at this school.
We are following the situation, bringing you any updates as warranted. Those are all the details we have at this moment. This is a breaking story that we will continue to follow.
We are also following a crime caught on tape tonight that's simply hard to believe. From Washington state, take a look at this. A man with a gun in his hand holds up a convenience store, and at his side his young daughter, 9 years old. It's not just what the video; it's what he says to the victim and what happens to the father and the child after the robbery.
Dan Simon has the latest.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A father taking his 9-year-old on an errand. What we now know is that he took her to rob this convenience store, about two hours southeast of Seattle.
Watch the dad. He pulls a gun from his coat pocket, his daughter behind him. Listen, you can hear her gasp when her dad produces the weapon. He wants a free fill-up and more.
ROBERT DANIEL WEBB, ROBBERY SUSPECT: You're going to put me on gas on No. 2. And you're going to give me this and what she's got.
SIMON: Police say the father is 42-year-old Robert Daniel Webb, a recently unemployed optician.
ERIC OWENS, CLERK: Why would you commit a crime with a child next to you? Why would you do that?
SIMON: At the time, the clerk, Eric Owens, doesn't ask any questions.
WEBB: Open the till and got me what you have.
SIMON: Owens seems amazingly calm.
OWENS: I can hand the drawer to you. How do you want to do it?
WEBB: Just give me the bills. SIMON: He empties the register, less than $200. He later said he wondered whether other customers might come in, what would happen then.
OWENS: What's going to happen? What's he going to do, grab the kid and use her as a hostage? I was worried about the child.
SIMON: Before it was over, the father says the money isn't for him but for his daughter.
WEBB: I'm out of work. My daughter's got to survive.
SIMON: He also warns, no calls to the police.
WEBB: You call the cops, I'll come back and I'll (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kill you.
SIMON: The ending was almost surreal. Here you see the daughter skipping back to her dad's car in the parking lot. Did she really understand what had just happened? Police say they worry most about her.
CLAYTON MYERS, KITTITAS COUNTY UNDERSHERIFF: Clearly, this child is at risk being in his care and being in his vicinity.
SIMON (on camera): The father drove off with his daughter and wound up far away at a friend's home along the northern California coast. The friend, apparently, knew the dad was wanted and called police. When they closed in, the father disappeared. As for the girl's mother, she's gone to pick her up.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
Next, Michelle Obama's biggest fans may be her littlest ones. The first lady and her amazing reception at a girls' school in London today.
COOPER: Well, from the queen to the fashion press and on down, London seems to be embracing Michelle Obama. Today, the first lady visited an all-girl's school where she let the students in on a secret. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. OBAMA: You know what? My husband -- you know him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!
M. OBAMA: He's going to be very jealous of my afternoon. Because I'm spending it with all of you. He's meeting with important people, but it's not as much fun as being here. I am just delighted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, even before arriving in London, Mrs. Obama had gained an edge on her husband in this Gallup poll. The president getting favorable ratings of 69 percent. High, certainly. The first lady was 72 percent.
Michelle Obama's just as popular overseas. People seem to respond to her warmth, her candor, from the queen to the young girls she met today.
Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lost in a sea of screaming students is first lady Michelle Obama. That's her, bending down on the stage, mobbed by students trying to touch her and talk to her as if she's a rock star from the U.S. Secret Service stand over her, but these girls get what they came for.
More than 200 students from London's Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School waited anxiously for Mrs. Obama. They performed for her upon arrival. She was visibly touched by their excitement.
M. OBAMA: There are diamonds like this all over the world. All of you are jewels. You are precious, and you touch my heart. And it is important for the world to know that there are wonderful girls like you all over the world. All over the world.
KAYE: The first lady, so filled with emotion, it seemed, she quickly turned to prepared remarks. Her message: strength and determination, compassion and confidence.
M. OBAMA: And my brother and I were raised with all that you really need: love, strong values, and a belief that, with a good education and a whole lot of hard work, that there was nothing that we could not do.
KAYE: Mrs. Obama's audience seemed to hang on her every word, mesmerized by her tales from Chicago's South Side, her middle-class upbringing.
M. OBAMA: Nothing in my life's past would have predicted that I'd be standing here as the first African-American first lady of the United States of America. There was nothing in my story that would land me here. I wasn't raised with wealth or resources or any social standing to speak of.
KAYE (on camera): She spoke of teachers and her own mother, who taught her about quiet strength, dignity, and integrity. She told the students they, too, can control their own destiny.
M. OBAMA: I loved getting "A's." I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I liked getting my work done. I thought being smart was cooler than anything in the world. And you, too, with these same values, can control your own destiny.
KAYE (voice-over): From Mrs. Obama, the students at this all- girls' school got a lesson in girl power.
M. OBAMA: You are the women who will build the world as it should be. You're going to write the next chapter in history.
KAYE: Her final world to the girls: "We are counting on you." With that, she turned to leave, but not before more hugs and more screams.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: A lot of hugs, even tears today for Mrs. Obama. Richard quest joins me again.
There's a lot about that visit in the newspapers today.
QUEST: Huge amount. I mean, after the G-20 itself, it was really all about Michelle Obama. Let's take our careers in both hands, and attempt to open up, without giving the viewer a nasty shock.
COOPER: Just to explain, often on this -- what, the second page of a lot of these British tabloids, they have fully naked -- images.
QUEST: We'll move on.
This is the most best-selling newspaper in Britain. It is the "Sun," several million. Whew. Made that one. "Yes, You Can," says "The Sun." And it's got an editorial about it, saying Michelle Obama is truly inspirational. The first lady has wowed Britain with her down-to-earth touch. So she really has been an overwhelming...
COOPER: What do you think it is about her that so many Britons seem to respond to?
QUEST: I think what people love about her is the extraordinary nature of her ordinariness. She's an ordinary person who's really -- the big time.
Some bad news for you. I have a communique...
COOPER: Last night you said, you said -- you predicted what some of the language would say.
QUEST: I said you would be buying the coffee.
COOPER: Something about Doha, I believe. QUEST: The Doha world trade talks. It doesn't matter which communique, doesn't matter how often, there it is right in the bottom of, in the communique, on page 8, section 23.
COOPER: For those of you at home, "We remain committed to reaching an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha development round, which is urgently needed."
QUEST: The Doha round made it into the G-20 communique, which means...
COOPER: I owe you some coffee.
We have all been -- the world has fallen in love, of course, with Michelle Obama. The world has also been transfixed by some of your vocabulary these last three nights on the program. We just want to play some of our personal favorites from the last several nights. Shall we?
QUEST: I mean, I don't want to denigrate the fact that there was a bit of violence and a bit of -- I use the phrase argy-bargy.
COOPER: Argy-bargy? Argy-bargy?
QUEST: Argy-bargy. A little push and tell, you know. Get out of the way.
What everybody's talking about is what's known as the wags. It's...
QUEST: The wags. Wives and girlfriends. It's the phrase that comes with footballers' wives, from the World Cup. Those who are flashy, lots of bling, lots of show, show, tell, tell.
COOPER: I don't think you know what you're talking about.
QUEST: We've then got -- of course I am. You don't know any better. It's a bit of flimflammery.
COOPER: What was that show and tell tell -- show, show, tell, tell?
QUEST: Quite enough of that. I need your help.
QUEST: I need your help. I need to beat -- beat Rick Sanchez at the Twitter stakes.
COOPER: OK. So you want people to Twitter with you? QUEST: Yes. Come on, come on.
COOPER: How do you -- what's your Twitter address?
QUEST: RichardQuest, just one word. RichardQuest.
QUEST: I mean, he's up there in the stratospheric...
COOPER: Like 60,000...
QUEST: I'm somewhere down in the basement.
COOPER: OK. So you -- people would love to Twitter with you. I'm sure.
QUEST: I bet. Twitter RichardQuest. Follow me.
COOPER: All right. We'll do it.
Richard, thank you. It's been fun. Really enjoyed it.
Up next, more on our breaking news, a Virginia college under lockdown tonight. We're just getting more word on this. Police searching for a gunman. We'll have the latest.
And at the top of the hour, President Obama's world debut at the G-20 summit. The hits, the misses, the pledges to fix the economic crisis. Can they be delivered on, though? That's the question when 360 continues.
COOPER: Updating the breaking news that's unfolding right now in Radford, Virginia. The school on lockdown right now after a gunman was spotted on campus.
What we know now is local station WDBJ is reporting the gunman shot someone off-campus. The fear is he might have fled onto university grounds.
Details are sketchy. Police now are searching the campus. They've set up checkpoints, a command center in hopes of trying to catch this man, whom they describe as young, African-American, wearing a camo jacket but no shirt, obviously, considered dangerous. Call 911 if you see him, but do not come close.
His victim, shot in the chest, was taken to a local hospital. That's all the details we have right now.
Coming up at the top of the hour, wrapping up President Obama's first big moment on the world stage: how he did, what he accomplished, and what the world thinks of us now.
Also, my interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his warning to bank CEOs after the removal of GM's top man. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Tonight, declaring victory. President Obama calling the G-20 summit here a turning point for the global economy. All smiles at the closing photo session. World markets already giving it a thumbs up. And as you'll see, the world media falling hard for the Obamas.
Mrs. Obama making an especially warm impression. Some very touching moments to show you: what happened at a local girls' school today.
Also tonight, breaking news back home, as well. The president's budget passing the House. His old governor, Rod Blagojevich, indicted on corruption charges. All that's ahead.
But right now, what the president achieved today and the new reality of America's role in the world. Listen.