Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Michael Jackson Memorial; Suspected Gaffney Serial Killer Killed in Shootout; What's Next for Sarah Palin?; Obama and Putin Agree to Pursue New Arms Ban Treaty
Aired July 6, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight breaking news, and the big question answered in court and major new questions being raised in the investigation. This city is bracing for impact, preparing for possibly the biggest celebrity sendoff L.A. has ever seen.
Take a look live at the Staples Center downtown at 10:00 a.m. local time. Twenty thousand celebrities, luminaries, randomly selected ticket holders will pack inside, no different from a Lakers game except for the hundreds of thousands more who might also want in. They have been told to stay away; a four-block perimeter is being setup.
Portions of two major boulevards, Pico and Olympic blocked-off, buses rerouted. Of the many who applied online the lucky few ticket winners picking up the goods today at Dodgers Stadium. They got tickets but also golden wristbands which they'll likely sleep in tonight. Show up with just a ticket and you are out of luck.
Before the event, Jackson friends and family are expected to say their goodbyes here at Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills. Extra security on hand there as everywhere to do with Michael Jackson. A busy day tomorrow; we'll be covering it all live, of course.
But as we said, a lot are happening right now starting with the investigation. Randi Kaye has that. She brings us up-to-date on what's new tonight in that investigation. Randi, what have we learned?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I can tell you that five doctors -- at least five doctors are now under the microscope in this case. That's according to the "L.A. Times." We don't have the doctors' names.
But clearly, investigators want to find out if any these doctors prescribed medications that may have contributed to Michael Jackson's death. One of the doctors who we know was interviewed -- we were able to confirm today -- that's Dr. Conrad Murray. As you know, he is Michael Jackson's personal physician. He's a cardiologist. He was actually there trying to resuscitate him the day that he had...
COOPER: So you were saying he was interviewed today?
KAYE: He was interviewed -- the last time he was interviewed was actually a week ago...
KAYE: ... Saturday. He has been interviewed twice.
COOPER: So he is one of these five?
KAYE: He is one of these five.
Now, his lawyer says that he is just a witness -- he is not a suspect. But his lawyer did release a statement to us today. I just want to tell you what that said, and I'm quoting here, "Dr. Conrad Murray did not prescribe or administer anything that should have killed Michael Jackson."
So I thought it was interesting that he said should have. Because we do know that the attorney told CNN last week that the doctor did not provide Demerol or Oxycontin to Michael Jackson. But he still has yet to make a statement about whether or not he had anything to do with providing this Diprivan...
KAYE: ... this very powerful sedative that was reportedly found in Michael Jackson's rented mansion. So still we have yet to get a comment about that. We asked again and we pressed and again, the lawyer would not comment on it.
COOPER: Well, that's interesting even if he admits he did administer Diprivan, any doctor we have talked to had said, it raises ethical questions, because no doctor should be giving Diprivan to some patient inside their home.
How do we know which doctor -- I mean, how are authorities is going to determine which doctor actually prescribed to Michael Jackson? Because he could have used aliases -- see a lot of different doctors?
KAYE: Right. Right, the false names is definitely a problem but we do know that there are a couple of ways they could this. There is a state database which was used in the death investigation of Anna Nicole Smith.
And what they would do in that case is the attorney general is already doing that in this case, he's going to sort through the doctors' names. Those are all in the database. It takes a look at what controlled medications they prescribed, when they prescribed them, the amount they prescribed, who they prescribed them to and who actually received it.
So they're going to look at that database. And we also know that billing information can actually provide some clues. We talked to a company today called MD Systems which a lot of doctors use for their billing. And those -- those electronic billing and also electronic recommendations for the drugs, actually the records, the electronic prescriptions are actually in this server on the computer forever. COOPER: Right.
KAYE: So that's there for them to look at. And even if somebody tried to delete it -- this is key -- if somebody tried to delete that information, maybe they thought they were being looked at, there is a record of who actually went in to try and delete it. And so they'll be able to follow which doctor may have been involved if that was the case.
COOPER: All right, Randi Kaye on the investigation. Randi, thanks.
In a moment, we're going to be taking a closer look at the events happening tomorrow; what happens when and who is expected to be there and who isn't. Jackson's kids will attend but not the birth mother of his two eldest, Debbie Rowe, who was basically assaulted by paparazzi on the streets yesterday.
Let's take a look at her outburst today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready to fight for your kids, Debbie?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, are you ready to fight for your children?
DEBBIE ROWE, EX-WIFE OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Don't touch me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready to fight for your children?
ROWE: Do not touch me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody touched you here.
ROWE: You just did. Don't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready to fight for your children?
ROWE: Are you ready to get your butt kicked? Don't (EXPLETIVE DELETED) touch me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready to take a cash settlement for the kids?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How important are the kids to you, Debbie?
ROWE: God bless you and your children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Debbie Rowe giving the photographers probably exactly what they were hoping for, some sort of an outburst. That's, of course, Jackson's ex-wife, who's mentioned in the will but only to exclude her as a beneficiary.
Meantime, lawyers for all the major players were in court today. Significant develops on that. Don Lemon has that angle -- Don.
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the man everyone has been wanting to talk to -- the man who is the executor of Michael Jackson's will, the administrator of his assets, John Branca. I got a chance to speak with him today about how he's going to administer that will.
And here is his message, Anderson, to Katherine Jackson and to family members. He says, "Katherine Jackson has nothing to worry about, family members have nothing to worry about, that they will be provided for, well provided for, especially as the will and trust stipulates."
Anderson, as you know, 40 percent will go to his mother, 40 percent to his kids and then 20 percent will go to charity. And he said it was a very emotional meeting after he got back from vacation and learned of Michael Jackson's death. And the will surfaced.
He met with the family members, he met with Katherine Jackson and the children and they were very happy that Michael Jackson had at least provided for his mother and for his family in that will.
COOPER: An industry insider says that this man and the two executors are very capable. They certainly had Michael Jackson's confidence. The family had contested it. The family had wanted more control over it but they didn't get that.
LEMON: Yes, but well -- they did but it was before the will surfaced that they had contested. They didn't know about this will. And so that's when they went to court to do all of this.
LEMON: But, of course, the family would like more control over their family member's assets. But again, yes, John Branca is the man who managed Michael Jackson at the height of his career, he's the one who negotiated the deal with Sony Music, he's the one that negotiated the "My Jack Deal."
And people say he is the reason that Michael Jackson still has some money today. And back in 1980 went to the White House with Michael Jackson and arranged all of those things at the height of Michael Jackson's career.
COOPER: Do we know how much money? I mean, does the will specify?
LEMON: We don't know exactly how much money. I mean, were thinking -- they're thinking over $1 billion that Michael Jackson -- at least in assets, and that it will exceed that in perpetuity as time goes on.
COOPER: Right we know already his estate is making huge amounts of money right now.
LEMON: Yes, it's been reported though $400 million in debt. And that is the report. And as you said, they don't know how much money. The reason that they went to court, the reason that the family wanted to go to court, they're not so much concerned about the will that Michael Jackson put in place.
They're not contesting that. What they wanted from Michael or from that executor is to have some say into Michael Jackson's image in the future, his earning potential in the future and where that goes and where his money goes, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Don Lemon, we appreciate that reporting.
Let's get some perspective nor from our senior legal analyst and longtime Jackson watcher, Jeffrey Toobin. He joins us now.
Jeffrey, so a judge today granted control of Jackson's estate to the executors of his will taking away the temporary limited power his mom had over his affairs. What does that mean for the family? I mean, how much of a battle do you think this really was?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it was a preliminary skirmish and it may have settled all battles in the future because the will is clear. The will says that John Branca is in charge of managing the estate -- managing Michael's estate.
Katherine Jackson was given only that temporary authority when it did not appear that there was a will in place. Michael Jackson could have designated his mother as the controller of his business interests but he didn't.
And so what the court did today was simply honor Michael's wishes for his estate. But Branca was conciliatory in court. He said he will consult with Katherine Jackson; he will consult with the family. The judge asked him to do that. But there's no doubt who is in charge here, it's John Branca.
COOPER: If Michael Jackson was so clear he wanted this guy Branca, how come Katherine Jackson's lawyers then were arguing that, and I quote, "irreparable damage" could be done to the estate if these two executors are allowed to take control?
TOOBIN: I think, frankly, that was just lawyer talk. That kind of combative attitude seems to have faded over the course of the day. I think everyone knows that Michael Jackson's estate, the long-term financial interest is in much -- in much better shape with John Branca, a very sophisticated long time music executive rather than Katherine Jackson in charge.
They still want some control over how the estate is exploited but I just don't think there's any doubt that the judge is going to leave Jackson's wishes intact and leave Branca in charge.
COOPER: All right, let's talk about the investigation. More search warrants apparently executed; reports the investigators focusing on several doctors who prescribed drugs to Jackson. At this point what do you think they're looking for?
TOOBIN: Well, there are all sorts of ways this process can be abused. Are there multiple names? Were there legitimate reasons to give these prescriptions? Were there multiple prescriptions given when only one should be given? Did the doctors coordinate with each other? Did the doctors lie to each other, to the pharmacies?
All of this is frankly, unfortunately, fairly typical when you have these celebrity deaths or celebrity investigations. Anna Nicole Smith, Elvis Presley, Rush Limbaugh, all of these involved possible abuse in the prescription process.
COOPER: Now, if you have a doctor who is administering, say, a powerful sleep drug like Diprivan, which is something that is supposed to be administered in hospitals and they're doing it in someone's private home or whatever they're doing it -- I mean, can that person be brought up on charges and if a person overdoses because of it or has a bad reaction?
TOOBIN: They don't even have to be overdosed for them to be brought up on charges. If you prescribe -- you as a doctor -- prescribe something that you shouldn't prescribe or prescribe it to a person who shouldn't get it, those are violations. They are not necessarily criminal violations.
They can involve losing your license; they can involve civil judgments if the person's estate sues. There are all sorts of possible remedies. But misprescribing drugs can definitely expose a doctor to criminal or civil liability.
COOPER: All right, Jeff Toobin. I appreciate it. Thanks, Jeff.
We talked at the top about how big tomorrow is going to be and possibly how much bigger and more complicated it could become, despite all the efforts to prevent such a mess.
Efforts by the way at taxpayer expense at this point. Not everyone is happy about that. But for all the complexity, saying goodbye to Michael Jackson starts off very simply.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The services begin at 8:00 a.m. with a private gathering for the family. CNN has learned the singer's parents, siblings and children will meet at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills. They'll be escorted to the cemetery by the California Highway Patrol who will afterwards accompany the family to the Staples Center.
It's there at 10:00 a.m. where the public memorial gets underway. The streets around the downtown arena will be under heavy security, which will be provided and paid for by the city. There is still no word on the price tag and some local politicians are far from happy at the expense.
The star-studded tribute will be watched live around the world. It'll also be shown in about 40 theaters around the country. Inside the Staples Center, about 9,000 seats are reserved for Jackson's family and friends. As for the public, out of the estimated 1.5 million fans who entered the online lottery, just 8,750 won tickets. Each person gets two tickets bringing the total number of public seats to 17,500. But there's only room for 11,000 public seats in the Staples Center. The remaining 6,500 overflow winners will watch the memorial on a Jumbotron next door at the Nokia Theater.
Judging by the lists of speakers and singers, Tuesday's memorial will be a celebration of Jackson's life and legacy. Today the family released a list or participants including Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie who co-wrote with Jackson "We Are the World."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There will be many others as well. We will have more on other performers a little bit later on in this hour.
Let us know what you think. Join the live chat happening right now at AC360.com. Talk to other viewers in the United States and around the world watching us now.
Up next, more breaking news: the suspected serial killer in South Carolina tonight is dead. Police not long ago confirming they got their man in a deadly shootout. The question is what happened. And we have a just-released picture of the man who they say took five lives, terrorized a whole lot more.
And later, whether it is reason as logic or reason as a simple motive, everybody has got a reason they believed Governor Sarah Palin is quitting. The question is -- do any of them make any sense? We'll talk to pundits and people in Alaska and the author of a fascinating account of her rise to national fame from "Vanity Fair."
360 tonight, live in Los Angeles. We'll be right back.
COOPER: More breaking news tonight in the search for a serial killer who has terrorized a small South Carolina community.
Take a look at this picture of the suspect. Police say his name is Patrick Tracy Burris. They also say the 42-year-old will not hurt anyone ever again.
David Mattingly joins us from Gaffney, South Carolina with the latest. David, what have you learned?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this case coming to an abrupt and violent end in North Carolina about 30 miles north of here. This serial killer killed in a shootout with North Carolina police.
But it's only just within the last hour that we actually had a name and face to go with this: Patrick Tracy Burris. We see the face of him now. It has been put out to the public. This is the face of the man who terrorized Gaffney with five murders in nine days.
Now police are saying that the search for their serial killer is now over but the investigation continues.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Before dawn on Monday morning a serial killer's trail of blood came to a violent end at this rundown house in North Carolina.
TERRY VALENTINE, NEIGHBOR: And it scared me. It did. It really -- especially when I heard the gunshots and I actually froze.
MATTINGLY: A quick exchange of gunfire left an officer wounded and a gunman dead. Fourteen hours later police say the gunman's bullets match those used by a serial killer in five murders in Gaffney, South Carolina.
REGINALD LLOYD, SOUTH CAROLINA LAW ENFORCEMENT DIRECTOR: We believe the killer is off the street. And at this point, we are working backwards to make sure we collect all the evidence.
MATTINGLY: It ends a reign of terror that began with the murder of a 63-year-old peach farmer; then an 83-year-old woman and her 50- year-old daughter were killed in their home.
His final victims, a 48-year-old man and his 15-year-old daughter were shot in their family's appliance store. Nobody felt safe.
Pawnshop owner Chris Spencer tells me his gun inventory was running low after a spike in sales.
Libby Jones had never fired a gun before, but didn't want to go to work without protection.
And its not just guns; lights, locks, security devices, sales for all of them have jumped here. Everyone seems to be taking precautions. Even in this downtown street, businesses were open but some kept their doors locked allowing people in only if they recognized them.
It's all because of the seemingly random nature of the killings. There was no pattern behind the murder and no profile to fit the murder.
I stopped at Mabrey's Cafe (ph), expecting to find the usual lunchtime crowd. Instead it was almost empty. And the topic of conversation was "watching your back."
(on camera): What's everybody's state of mind?
WAYNE PHILLIPS, RESTAURANT CUSTOMER: I'm excited that we are all pretty much panicky, if you want to know the truth.
MATTINGLY: Owner Tammy Coleman tells me she almost didn't open today. How tough was it for you to come out and go to work today? TAMMY COLEMAN, RESTAURANT OWNER: It's really tough. We are all carrying guns.
MATTINGLY: You've got your gun here right now?
COLEMAN: Yes. I've got my gun.
MATTINGLY: Where is it?
COLEMAN: It's here. It's close. It's behind this counter.
COOPER: So what do we know about this guy, Patrick Tracy Burris?
MATTINGLY: What we know tonight, Anderson, is this man has had a long history with problems with the law. Law enforcement officials, locally and the state have been talking about what a long rap sheet this guy had, breaking in and entering, weapons charges.
All kinds of things in his past and the question was raised tonight, there's going to have to be some explaining done by the judicial system about why this man was still out free and still able to do so much harm.
COOPER: All right, David Mattingly, I appreciate it for the latest.
Next, a deadly day for Americans in Afghanistan.
Also, a standoff over who runs Honduras? A plane trying to land with the president onboard, the former president; troops blocking the way. We'll show what the drama was about. Crowds not liking what they're seeing there.
Also, people are still talking about Sarah Palin and her decision to resign as governor on Friday. What that means for her future. Does anyone have an answer that makes sense?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) ALASKA: No, it may be tempting and more comfortable to just kind of keep your head down and plod along and appease those who are demanding, "Hey, just sit down and shut up." But that's a worthless, easy path out. That's a quitter's way out.
And I think a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just kind of hunker down and go with the flow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Still ahead, the "Raw Politics" behind Governor Sarah Palin's surprising decision to leave office before the end of her first term. But first, Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in nearly a year. Seven Americans killed, four of them in an attack in a relatively peaceful northern part of the country; a sign that the war being fought in the Taliban heartland of the south and east could now be expanding to the north.
In Honduras, supporters of deposed President Manuel Zelaya are vowing to widen protests and block trade. Yesterday at least one protester was killed when security forces opened fire at the airport where the ousted president was attempting to land; that effort ultimately unsuccessful. Zelaya is now expected to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington tomorrow.
General Motors plans to restructure, given the green light by a bankruptcy judge. That judge ruling bankruptcy is the only available means to preserve the continuation of GM's business. Now, under the plan, the auto maker will create a new company; it will also shed crushing debt and some very expensive contracts.
And talk about a big upset at the 14th Annual World Wife Carrying Championship -- it's a very important one -- a Finnish couple won for the first time in more than a decade. Here's why you want to win Anderson. The prize? Your wife's weight in beer.
HILL: There you go.
COOPER: There you go.
HILL: The larger the lady, the better off you are, if you like beer.
COOPER: Well, how so? Oh, I see, if you like beer.
HILL: It's because you win in your wife's weight in beer.
HILL: So if you want a lot of beer.
COOPER: Is that the winner?
HILL: I think it is.
COOPER: Who is that?
HILL: To be honest, I'm having a lot of problems with my contacts and I try but I can't really see it very well.
COOPER: All right, well, I assume that's the winner. Congratulations to the lucky couple.
HILL: Excellent work. COOPER: Up next, the announcement that has political junkies around the world scratching their heads. Former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin says she is done being Governor of Alaska. Even though she is only really 18 months into her first term.
Is this a smart move or is this political suicide? We've got the "Raw Politics."
Also ahead, President Obama's mission to Moscow and a deal with the Russian President could help avoid another Cold War. Details on that ahead.
COOPER: There are just two real secrets of the universe, tonight: Colonel Sanders' 11 Herbs and Spices and why Sarah Palin up and quit on Friday. As for the second, pundits of polls have been talking nonstop about the soon-to-be former governor of Alaska.
We'll talk more of about her motives shortly with Todd Purdum who wrote a blockbuster article on Governor Palin and her chaotic experience as John McCain's running mate. The story ran just days before she resigned.
First, though, the "Raw Politics" from our Sean Callebs.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Friday was the shock the past few days have been about the awe or simple wonderment on why Sarah Palin abruptly stepped down as Alaska's governor.
NANCY HAYES, ALASKA RESIDENT: I heard Sarah Palin had resigned. And I was, like, "What?"
CALLEBS: Her reporters are bristling about the "q" word.
THOMAS VAN FLEIN, PALIN ATTORNEY: She is not a quitter. She is changing the rules here.
CALLEBS: Palin's attorney and confidante told CNN the governor picked the July Fourth weekend to announce her resignation by design, her way to -- and we're quoting here -- "declare her independence from politics as usual."
VAN FLEIN: It had become apparent in the last few months particularly after the campaign that she was becoming a lightning rod for partisan attacks.
CALLEBS: So the best way to help her state and herself, walk away from the job a year and a half early. Palin prides herself on someone who breaks the mold. And that spirit is one of the reasons she was elected.
But in Anchorage today, a lot of people we've talked to said she is letting the state down. RON CLARK, ALASKA RESIDENT: I think that -- my personal opinion -- that there will be some consequences to pay for that because the people in general, they don't like quitters.
BRIAN ARNOLD, ALASKA RESIDENT: She has a commitment to the people of Alaska that she made a contract with. And I was kind of surprised that she took that avenue.
CALLEBS: The governor is keeping a low profile. One quick public appearance at a July Fourth parade in Juneau, then it was fishing with her family in Bristol Bay, getting her side out the way so many of us do nowadays, via Twitter and Facebook.
Saying, "How sad that Washington and the media will never understand it's about country; though it is honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term. Of course, we know by now a different standard applies to decisions I make."
CALLEBS: The man who had largely put Palin on the national map, John McCain offered support saying, quote, "I have the greatest respect and affection for Sarah, Todd and their family. I was deeply honored to have her as my running mate and believe she will continue to play an important leadership role in the Republican Party and our nation."
A similar note from top Republican in the house John Boehner.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: I was as surprised as anyone by Governor Palin's announcement. But if I had gone through what she's been through over the last nine months, I would want to break from all of it as well. I wish her well.
CALLEBS: But many national Republicans are highly critical, like Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the daughter of the man Palin beat in the Republican primary for governor.
"I'm deeply disappointed that the governor has decided to abandon the state and her constituents before her term has concluded."
COOPER: So, Sean, now the FBI says they are clearly not investigating. Why would they come out and make that statement?
CALLEBS: Yes. That is an unusual move for the FBI. The reason they are doing it, the blogs are out there. A lot of people have been saying, "Look, the other shoe is going to drop. There is a scandal somewhere. You're going to hear about it. It is going to affect the governor." But the FBI says, "Look, we are not investigating her."
She has been the target of 15 ethics violations accusations here in the state, but she has been cleared of 12 of those; 3 are still pending. She spent about $500,000 defending herself but said, "I'm done with it. I'm tired of being a lightning rod. I want to move on." COOPER: All right. Sean Callebs thanks.
Joining us now is the author of the "Vanity Fair" article that caused such a big stir just days before Governor Palin announced her decision. The title of the article, "It Came from Wasilla."
Writer Todd Purdum is also national editor for "Vanity Fair;" he joins us from Washington.
Todd, you spent many months reporting on Sarah Palin. Were you surprised though by the announcement and why do you think she actually quit?
TODD PURDUM, NATIONAL EDITOR, "VANITY FAIR": I was very surprised at the resignation. I was not surprised at her announcement that she didn't want to run for re-election. And I think she quit because she was tired of the whole thing.
It was not that much fun being governor of Alaska for her after she's been on the national campaign. She went home and the legislature that had once worked with her was attacking her, at loggerheads with her. She had all these ethics complaints; racked up $500,000 in legal bills. I think she just got tired of it.
COOPER: What do you think of the way she made the announcement? Because in your article you write -- and I want to show this to our viewers -- you said, "Palin has shown herself to have remarkable gut instincts about raw politics, and she has seen openings where others did not and she has the good fortune to have traction within a political party that is bereft of strong leadership. She may decide she does not need office in order to have great influence anymore than Rush Limbaugh does."
Were you -- what do you think of the way she announced she was leaving?
PURDUM: The actual news conference was -- it bore the hallmarks of someone who made up her mind to do something and almost wanted to rush to the neighbors and tell them in case she changed her mind.
There was a certain kind of nervous quality to it. It was sincere, obviously. She was just talking so quickly and almost rushing to get her breath that you felt that she just was determined to get this off her chest before she had another thought about it.
COOPER: Well, it's sort of surreal. I spoke to her spokesperson later that same evening on my show. And the spokesperson was in New York on vacation, I think, in upstate New York somewhere and claimed that she knew about it in advance.
But it seems that if -- you'd think if your spokesperson knew you were resigning your office in advance she would want to be there by your side.
PURDUM: No. I watched that, Anderson. I felt for you in questioning Meghan Stapleton because one of the things that was a surprise to me to learn about Sarah Palin was just how little staff she has ever really had around her. She is not like most politicians you would ever have covered.
She doesn't have a cadre of advisors and consultants and media people. She has really been her own chief adviser and her husband, Todd, has been her sort of counselor.
COOPER: For those who haven't read your article in "Vanity Fair" and I urge people to because it is fascinating look at her, what do we know about what happened behind the scenes in the McCain campaign?
PURDUM: There was a lot of animosity. In fairness to Governor Palin, I think she felt very ill-used by the McCain campaign.
They imposed a staff of about 20 people on her, most of whom -- all of whom she never met before. She didn't really have any of her own trusted people from her world helping her. Several people in the McCain campaign said it was as if she'd had to go from Triple A baseball to the World Series.
So, I think it was very hard for her. And the general rule of thumb in politics is if it looks bad from the outside, on the inside it is much, much worse.
COOPER: So what do you think she does now? I mean, her spokesperson said she can do anything. It seems to me she would go do lectures, write a book, maybe have a TV show somewhere; what do you think?
PURDUM: Well, she clearly already has a book contract. There have been feelers from people in Hollywood about doing a reality show based on running the state of Alaska. There have been other feelers about talk shows, and she could clearly command a lot of money on the speaking circuit. She could pay off this $500,000 campaign debt in nothing flat if she made a few speeches.
COOPER: What is the one thing reporting on her that surprised you the most?
PURDUM: The one thing that I have to say at the end of the day that surprised me the most is if my 9-year-old daughter had gone to a playground in Anchorage, she would have found out more from the other kids and the mothers on the playground about Sarah Palin and her record in Alaska than John McCain knew on the day he picked her.
And that made me feel sad for John McCain and, at the some level I guess, for the state of politics in the country now.
COOPER: It is fascinating. The article is in "Vanity Fair." Todd Purdum appreciate your time, thanks.
PURDUM: Thanks so much, Anderson.
COOPER: Sarah Palin has been tweeting about her time in office, as we mentioned. She opened an account back in April. To check out what she's been talking about on Twitter, go to our Web site at AC360.com.
Palin's abrupt resignation just one of the discussions happening now in the 360 live chat. You can join Erica and me at AC360.com. Actually, I'm not logged in tonight because my computer is not up here.
But ahead, President Obama's suddenly full foreign policy plate. We'll talk to David Gergen about that. David also has an interesting take on the death of Robert McNamara, the man who was the architect of the Vietnam War but who also may have helped prevent a nuclear war with the USSR.
And later, more on the star-studded farewell to Michael Jackson: we'll have the names of some of the entertainment A-listers who're going to say goodbye tomorrow to the "King of Pop."
COOPER: Another story we're following tonight: President Obama's tricky mission to Moscow. He arrived today on Air Force One with his family. The White House said that Mr. Obama is working to reset relations with Russia. That is certainly no easy task.
Ties between the two nations have cooled in recent years. Today some progress; a handshake, Mr. Obama and the Russian president agreed to pursue a new arms ban treaty, one that significantly reduces the number of strategic warheads possessed by each country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First, we take an important step forward to increase nuclear security and stop the spread of nuclear weapons. This starts with a reduction of our own nuclear arsenals. As the world's two leading nuclear powers the United States and Russia must lead by example and that's what we're doing here today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COPER: Along with the arms race agreement, help for the war in Afghanistan. Russia's president said he would let American planes use Russian air space to fly military equipment into the battle zone. Lots to talk about tonight; with me now, senior political analyst David Gergen.
David how significant is this arms deal between the U.S. and Russia?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is important in its own right, Anderson, because it continues a pattern now some 18 years long reducing armaments on both sides; as of 1991 when the talks started, over 10,000 warheads with each side. This treaty will put us under 2,000 on each side. And it also allows both nations to push other rogue nations like Iran not to build nuclear weapons. COOPER: What role did the Obama administration though really play in bringing it about? I mean, is this something that had been in the works for a while?
GERGEN: Well, certainly, George W. Bush actually negotiated one of these treaties along the way. But it was about START -- the treaty was about to expire; this became a high priority -- I must tell you, even if it was a high priority in terms of the relationship, It was sort of low-hanging fruit. Both sides wanted this.
And these talks so far, we haven't heard anything about the really...
COOPER: This was relatively easy.
GERGEN: This was relatively easy. The tough things are still ahead. Whether it's a missile defense or whether -- what to do about Georgia and Ukraine coming into NATO and all-important, the United States would like Russia's help with regard to Iran. And so far, there's no indication of that. You know, the Russians embraced Ahmadinejad right after that election in Iran.
COOPER: Over the weekend, both President Obama and Vice President Biden indicated that the current situation in Iran would not stop them from attempting to engage in direct negotiations. But it's interesting. By reaching out, the president also risks credibility or risks giving the regime -- Ahmadinejad's regime -- credibility.
GERGEN: That's absolutely right, Anderson. I think a lot of Americans are having trouble adjusting to this idea that, after we've seen the repression and the bloodshed and know how many people are now being tortured that we can't see with cameras that it seems to be sort of business as usual, the existing regime.
One had thought that perhaps the Obama administration would ratchet up the sanctions, and maybe in Moscow the president can persuade the Russians to join in tougher sanctions as a threat.
Over the weekend Vice President Biden also seemed to give a blinking green light to the possibility that Israel might strike as a sovereign nation if the Iranians don't negotiate.
COOPER: I know the other thing that is interesting is Robert McNamara died early this morning, 93 years old. He was defense secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Known, of course, as the architect of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
You knew him. How do you remember him?
GERGEN: I remember him very much, Anderson, as a man of triumph and tragedy. His triumph came in the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962. And Bobby Kennedy gave him a lot of credit for the decision, the switch decision to go from striking Cuba, striking the missiles, the Russian missiles to quarantine, which actually worked. Had we struck -- had they gone against McNamara's advice, we now know there was a very high likelihood we would have had a nuclear war. We came very, very close. That was his great triumph.
His tragedy, of course, came in the Vietnam War that followed. And a man who grew very skeptical, left government but never really told the country it was a war we couldn't win. And it was a tragedy he took with him all his life because he was blamed, in effect, as chief architect. It was almost a cross he bore all of his life.
In the mid '90s he issued -- issued a mea culpa, took responsibility, got trashed for doing that. I thought it was a brave act.
So I found -- one last thing, Anderson. His -- the whole rest of his life he devoted to trying to reduce the number of nuclear armaments. And somehow, it's fitting that on the day the Soviet -- the Russians and the Americans sign a new agreement to reduce those weapons that he died. I think he would have liked knowing that.
COOPER: There was a fascinating documentary, I think, Errol Morris made. I think it was called "The Fog of War."
COOPER: I'm not sure if you saw it, David but it's a fascinating series of interviews with him. Maybe people can go and rent that if they're interested.
David, appreciate it. Thank you very much tonight.
GERGEN: I highly recommend it. Thank you.
COOPER: You do. Interesting to know since you knew him.
We'll recommend that and try to put a link to it or something on our blog.
McNamara was arguably the most influential and controversial defense secretary in history. His rise to power began in a surprising way. Log on to AC360.com right now to see how he came to power.
Coming up next on the program, the memorial for Michael Jackson: music royalty pays their respects. And it's a who's who of the industry. We'll tell you who is going to be performing tomorrow at the Staples Center. That's ahead.
Also tonight, violence in the streets: a deadly protest in China. Dramatic scenes of fighting; we rare see this in China. Look at that, overturning a police car.
What's behind the unrest? That story coming up on 360.
COOPER: Taking a look at images from Forest Lawn Cemetery. A lot of media folks already gathered out there. That is where there's going to be a service tomorrow at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. The Jackson family, the Jackson parents, the siblings, Michael Jackson's children will be gathering for a private service at Forest Lawn Cemetery right here in Los Angeles.
From there they're going to drive to the Staples Center under police escort for the very public memorial that's certainly going to be watched by millions around the world. We'll be there tomorrow, as well.
So will some of the most popular recording artists in the world, from young superstars to music legends, all to honor the life and legacy of Michael Jackson.
Erica Hill shows us who's going to be paying tribute.
HILL (voice-over): A final tribute to the "King of Pop," the man who forever changed the way the world experiences music and firmly altered an industry.
SMOKEY ROBINSON, SINGER: I think that all of the young men singers and some of the young ladies who have come behind him have, in some way, mimicked him.
USHER, SINGER: This man was my inspiration. I would not be the entertainer I am today had he not been who he was. Culture and music would not be what it is without Michael Jackson.
HILL: Both Smokey Robinson and Usher will take the stage at Tuesday's memorial in Los Angeles to pay tribute to Jackson bridging generations and boundaries. Also slated to appear: John Mayer, American Idol Jennifer Hudson, pop star Mariah Carey, and Stevie Wonder.
Industry greats dwarfed by the occasion.
EMIL WILBEKIN, MANAGING EDITOR, ESSENCE.COM: This memorial is going to be very, very emotional. It will also be something that everyone will always be able to remember, because it's going to be a trip down memory lane.
A lot of the stars and celebrities will put their egos away.
HILL: Stars like Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who confirmed to CNN he will be attending. Brooke Shields, a fixture with Jackson at awards shows in the '80s, will also be at the memorial, along with the Reverend Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, NBA greats Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant and Berry Gordy, who signed the Jackson 5 to Motown Records.
Jackson's ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, the mother of his two eldest children, will not be attending. Nor will his longtime friend Dame Elizabeth Taylor, who tweeted today she didn't believe "Michael would want me to share my grief with others." HILL: Lionel Richie co-wrote "We Are the World" with Jackson. But they first met when Michael was singing with his brothers in the Jackson 5.
LIONEL RICHIE, SINGER: This is going to be probably the largest -- largest singer, songwriter, artist, I should say, dancer, performer in the world ever. And now he will be the "King of Pop" forever.
ROBINSON: His legacy is that he was an innovator. His legacy is that he was Michael Jackson.
HILL: A complicated life but an undeniably gifted soul.
HILL: Anderson, it is interesting, when I was talking with Emil Wilbekin earlier today at "Essence," he spent more than a decade at "Vibe" magazine, so he really has a (INAUDIBLE) for these kind of comments.
He was talking about John Mayer being there. He was saying John Mayer, you know, is really a music guy, which is what Michael Jackson was. He really felt the music. He was about the music; so an interesting connection there.
And in terms of Usher, he said when you look at Usher and you look at Michael Jackson, Usher really is the next step in that lineage.
COOPER: Did Elizabeth Taylor really tweet about the memorial?
HILL: She did. In fact, it was confirmed to CNN that not only did she --- she post that tweet today, but she is apparently very active on Twitter and in general.
COOPER: Good for her.
HILL: That was her tweet. Just like all of your tweets come right from you, Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Well, yes, they do, if I say so.
That's great. I didn't know she tweets.
COOPER: She twitters. Very cool.
Erica, next on 360, a deadly showdown in China: ethnic fighting in the streets. Scores have been killed. Now the army has been called in. We'll have the latest on that.
Also tonight, a star quarterback turned homicide victim. Did Steve McNair's 20-year-old mistress kill him? New clues in the investigation, coming up.
COOPER: Still ahead, a new twist to the strange tale of the woman who showed up at a police station with a squirrel stuffed into her shirt. That's our "Shot of the Day."
But first, Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, 156 people reported dead, more than 800 injured and nearly 1,500 detained after protests turned into riots in western China. Now, the protests were parked by increasing ethnic tensions in the region between the Uighurs and the Han Chinese.
Police say the gun used to kill former NFL quarterback Steve McNair was bought by his girlfriend two days before they were both found dead. McNair was shot four times. She was shot once in the head. The gun was found under her body. McNair was married with four children but had apparently been involved with the 20-year-old woman for months.
Al Franken will be sworn in as senator from Minnesota tomorrow; the "Saturday Night Live" alum arriving on Capitol Hill today where he promised to work day and night. Franken defeated Republican Norm Coleman after an eight-month recount battle.
And it looks like Alec Baldwin may want to follow in Franken's footsteps, the actor telling "Playboy" magazine that he's seriously considering running for Congress. But he did acknowledge his opponents would have plenty of fodder to use against him. At one point -- he's a native New Yorker, of course, Anderson -- said he wouldn't mind moving to Connecticut to run against Joe Lieberman, but that probably won't ever happen, he said.
COOPER: We'll see, Erica.
Our "Beat 360" winners, how about that? Our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than the one we can come up with for the photo that we put on our blog every day.
So tonight's picture, President Barack Obama at a press conference in Moscow with Russia's president and foreign minister.
Staff winner tonight is Rick in Atlanta. His caption: "Can he see Alaska from his house?"
HILL: Very clever.
COOPER: The viewer winner is Hazel from Las Vegas. Her caption: "He's still upset because he didn't get tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial?"
COOPER: I think that's Obama asking the question. That was very good. I didn't read it right, Hazel, but congratulations. Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
360 is all about accountability. Tonight, we have some answers, details you won't find anywhere else about a video we showed you days ago.
Why was this squirrel buried in this woman's top? Why did she put it there, and what did she do with it? We'll tell you.
COOPER: Erica, for tonight's "Shot," we've got the scoop on the lady with the squirrel.
COOPER: That's right. You know you love her. We showed you this crazy piece of video. We've added the sound. A woman being interviewed by cops in Ohio shows up with a squirrel under her shirt. Insert joke here, pops out every now and then.
We wanted answers. Why did she do this? Who's this person? Tonight, we got some; the woman's name is Amber. Not perhaps a big surprise. She's 26, a lover of animals -- again, not a surprise. Her friend found the squirrel; it apparently had a broken leg, so she gave it to Amber. Amber wanted to take care...
HILL: Who served as a sling? A cast?
COOPER: What? What?
COOPER: No. Amber wanted to take care of the squirrel. That's why she took to squirrel to the police station.
COOPER: Because she said she didn't want to leave it at home, alone.
HILL: Yes. And in the bosom the squirrel would heal so much faster.
COOPER: Well, yes. And we're told Amber later set the squirrel free. So apparently, the healing power of Amber was enough to heal the squirrel. And it's now...
HILL: Wow. That's some power right there.
COOPER: Yes, it is.
HILL: You know what? I don't think I want to hear about Amber's power again. Is that OK?
COOPER: You really think we're done with this?
HILL: I'm glad we cleared it up, though. I mean, I like knowing the whole -- 360, going full circle, we have the whole story.
COOPER: Exactly. If it was a slow news day, we probably would have had Amber on.
HILL: Breaking news.
COOPER: That's how we roll.
COOPER: You can see all -- you can see more of Amber, frankly, at -- on our Web site at AC360. All the most recent shots there, as well.
Hey, that does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.
I'll see you tomorrow night.