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Chinook Down: Hunt for Culprits; Chilling Testimony Today in D.C. Sniper Trial

Aired November 3, 2003 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): A bloody weekend: a new explosion. What happens next in Iraq?

Firefighting felons: battling the blazes with California's convicts.

Calories on menus: is the government trying to make you thinner?

The teen surfer who lost a limb to a shark plans to get back in the water.

A new generation gets political: what they want Washington to know.


COOPER: Good evening and welcome to 360. We are coming to you live from Boston's Historic Faneuil Hall, making our last-minute preparation for our big event live on CNN tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. Eastern: "America Rocks the Vote," where the Democratic candidates are going to square off and answer questions from young voters. More on that to come.

First, another dangerous and deadly day in Iraq. Just hours ago, there were explosions in central Baghdad, three rockets or mortar shells. No one has been reported hurt.

Earlier in Tikrit, a U.S. soldier was killed, another wounded, when their vehicle hit a mine. And in Karbala, a bomb exploded in front of a hotel. Some bystanders were killed, though right now it is unclear exactly how many.

The attacks follow the second bloodiest day yet for U.S. troops in the war in Iraq. Sixteen U.S. soldiers killed after their chopper was shot down yesterday near Fallujah. A trip that was supposed to be the beginning of R&R for most on board. Twenty were wounded; 16 of them are right now being treated in Germany near the Ramstein Air Base. Eleven are in intensive care. What happened yesterday is being felt across the U.S. in hometowns and on military bases.

Today, President Bush showed sympathy for the victims but offered no retreat from the mission.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The enemy in Iraq believes America will run. That's why they are willing to kill innocent civilians, relief workers, coalition troops. America will never run.


COOPER: We have coverage of this story from a lot of different angles tonight. From the Pentagon, where Jamie McIntyre is looking at the hunt for those responsible; from Ft. Carson, in Colorado, one base hit especially hard by yesterday's attack. Jason Carroll is there. And from Iraq, where some Iraqis in the stronghold of U.S. resistance in Fallujah were actually celebrating the death of Americans.

CNN's Jane Arraf is in Baghdad with the latest -- Jane.

JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Anderson, in the wake of that deadly helicopter crash, there are a lot of questions being asked about whether defensive measures were taken and why exactly it happened. But maybe the most difficult is why these attacks keep happening at all.


ARRAF (voice-over): It wasn't supposed to be like this. Townspeople cheering U.S. blood. The hat, a trophy from an attack in Fallujah that killed two contractors for the military.

While many soldiers are enraged and bewildered, the people they believe they've come to help could harbor the attackers. For many Iraqis in the so-called Sunni triangle, it's crystal clear. "Make them leave our country," said Hadi Abas Farhan (ph), a farmer nearby Fallujah. "They trespassed over our sacred values, entered our mosques, entered our homes."

Farhan (ph), who has 11 children, complained the Americans have brought the most developed weapons in the world, but didn't bring generators. And seven months after the war couldn't restore all the electricity.

In this country of weapons, it's still easy enough to get hold of rocket-propelled grenades and even missile launchers. Military officials and analysts say they believe the attackers these days are a mixture of foreign fighters, Saddam loyalists, common criminals and Iraqi nationalists.

Saddam Hussein bankrupted the country by twice leading it into war. But even with the terror of that regime, many Iraqis in this part of the country tell us they took comfort in knowing for the most part how to avoid danger. This fear and uncertainty is new.

In areas like Fallujah, simmering anger against the U.S. occupation makes it easier for attackers to melt into the countryside. Monday, soldiers and investigators were still searching through wreckage of the crash strewn across the fields. But they won't find many answers there into why the attacks continue.


ARRAF: And as you mentioned, Anderson, there were explosions earlier tonight in central Baghdad. Those appear to be mortars flying over in the direction of the U.S. coalition headquarters. And no word of injuries there, but an indication that this city is still very vulnerable -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jane Arraf live in Baghdad, thanks very much.

At the Pentagon today, there were the burning questions. Who were the culprits? How did they pull it off? And how can the U.S. keep it from happening again?

As the military tries to answer those questions, the president stands firm. The latest from senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As 16 of the 20 wounded in Sunday's helicopter downing arrived at Ramstein Air Base, Germany for medical treatment, President Bush was vowing the U.S. will not cut and run in Iraq.

BUSH: This collection of killers is trying to shake the will of America. We will not be intimidated.

MCINTYRE: Sixteen soldiers died in the attack. According to eyewitnesses, the second of two shoulder-launched missiles fired from a stand of trees hit the CH-47 Chinook twin rotor transport helicopter as it flew just a few hundred feet above the ground. It's not clear the missile actually detonated, but it struck the rear engine and started a chain reaction that plunged the helicopter into a fiery crash.

This infrared image of a similar CH-47 helicopter shows the hot spot on the rear engine that would have been a magnet for the heat- seeking missile. Still, knocking one out of the sky is not easy.

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It takes some training. But again, if it was a lucky shot, if it happened to be the right slant angle when the adversary engaged the coalition aircraft, then he could have got a hit.

MCINTYRE: U.S. helicopters, like this one seen over Baghdad in April, routinely fly at low altitudes to make them harder to target. But in this case, the low altitude gave the crew almost no reaction time to dispense flares or maneuver to evade the supersonic missile, even if they saw it coming.


MCINTYRE: While operating helicopters at night when they are harder to spot would also make it harder for them to be shot down, the U.S. military still believes helicopters are the fastest and safest way to get troops around. So they are not planning any ban on daylight flights. What they will do is review their flight patterns to make sure they aren't becoming too predictable -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jamie McIntyre, at the Pentagon, thanks.

We go now to Ft. Carson, Colorado, home to many of the soldiers hurt or killed yesterday. One was reportedly on his way home, not for R&R, but for his mother's funeral. Now the family of Sergeant Ernest Bucklew (ph) has two loved ones to mourn. And that is but one of the many terrible stories of loss that Ft. Carson is dealing with today.

CNN's Jason Carroll is live at Ft. Carson with the latest -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Anderson, it's another very difficult, emotional day for the soldiers and their families here at Ft. Carson. Since last May, the military says that they've suffered 25 losses as a result of the military operations over in Iraq.

The official word here that they've suffered several casualties as a result of the helicopter attack. But they've only released one name so far. And that's the name that you mentioned, that of 33-year- old Ernest Bucklew (ph). Despite all that has happened, many here still saying that morale is still just as strong as ever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death of one soldier is one death too many, and we're resolved to continue to fight and create a situation there in Iraq that this doesn't happen anymore.


CARROLL: They provided counselors obviously to the soldiers and their families here at Ft. Carson. They'll be doing the same at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma, and as well at Ft. Hood in Texas. And they'll be doing it again at the Air National Guard's 106th Aviation Battalion. They suffered a loss there too.

That being First Lieutenant Brian Slavenas (ph). He was 30 years old. He was the pilot of that helicopter. He was 6'5", 230 pounds. His family describes him as a gentle giant.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a soldier, you know the risks, but you don't think it's going to happen to you. You don't think it's going to affect your family. Even, you know, you watch the news every day and you see the reports and you say, well, thank god it wasn't our family, but eventually your number comes up. It's just bad luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CARROLL: Slavenas' (ph) parents say that he was not eager to serve in the Middle East, but he felt as though that he had an obligation to serve his country -- Anderson.

COOPER: And the mission continues. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

A flashback for you now. This, of course, is not the first time the U.S. military has faced trouble trying to bring peace to other global hotspots. Somalia, October 3, 1993, a mission involving scores of U.S. Special Operations Forces went awry when one of their Blackhawk helicopters was shot down over the capital city, Mogadishu.

In the all-night firefight that ensued, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed. Hundreds of Somalis also died. In America, the televised images of a U.S. soldier's body being dragged through the streets while Somali crowds cheered fueled the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia.

We go now to the D.C. sniper trial. Chilling testimony today about the day the suspects were arrested. CNN's Jeanne Meserve was in the courtroom in Virginia Beach.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prosecutors began weaving together the strands of their case against John Muhammad, using the evidence found in the Chevy Caprice at the time of his arrest. The Bushmaster rifle, discovered with the safety off and a live round in the chamber, hidden behind the back seat. A rifle scope concealed in a pair of dirty socks.

Two gloves, one found stuffed in a gun portal in the car's trunk. Its apparent match found near the scene of the shooting of bus driver Conrad Johnson. Prosecutors allege a computer also found in the car was stolen from shooting victim Paul Larufa (ph) in early September.

They tried to establish links to the shooting of Hong Im Ballinger (ph) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on September 23es. A Day Planner found in the car was identified earlier in the trial by Ballinger's (ph) husband.

Receipts appeared to place Muhammad and Malvo in the vicinity of various shootings. Also found in the car, papers with the number of the sniper taskforce. Jurors have already heard testimony about phone calls to that number which prosecutors contend were from Malvo and Muhammad.


COOPER: Jeanne, there were reports that Malvo's mother might actually testify at this trial. What's the latest on that?

MESERVE: Prosecutors had expected to put her on the stand later this week. But last night, she went to an airport in Jamaica and was very upset apparently about the fact that she's been paroled into this country to testify against Muhammad, but not to participate in her son's defense. In the end, she decided not to get on the plane. So it's unclear whether she'll appear in this case or not.

COOPER: All right. Jeanne Meserve, covering the trial. Thanks very much, Jeanne.

Let's go "Cross Country" now for other stories making news around the U.S.

Washington, D.C.: still trying. John Hinckley Jr., the man who shot President Reagan in 1981, has asked again for unsupervised leaves from the hospital where he's being treated. So far, he's only been allowed supervised leaves in Washington. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Los Angeles, California: gunshot survivor. The lawyer who was shot in front of TV cameras outside a courtroom Friday is out of the hospital. Jerry Curry, that's his name. He was hit in the arm and neck. He says he doesn't even know this guy William Strier, the man accused of firing the shots.


JERRY CURRY, LAWYER: I'd never seen Mr. Strier before. This is the first time I ever -- I didn't know what he looked like. So I've never seen him before.

And I walked out of the courthouse after the hearing, and a man walked up to me and said, "Are you Mr. Curry?" And I said, "Yes, who are you?" And then he just shot me.

I didn't even see the gun. I just heard a pop and like the blood splattered on my face. I knew I had been shot because the blood splattered on my face.


COOPER: Unbelievable.

Washington, D.C.: appeal denied. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear not a challenge of the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from an Alabama judicial building. Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says he's disappointed by the decision but will keep fighting.

Also in Washington: bad phones calls? AT&T is accused of violating the Do Not Call list and faces a possible $780,000 fine. The FCC says the telephone company made 78 calls to 29 people who asked telemarketers to leave them alone. AT&T says it does respect do not call lists.

And that's a look at stories "Cross Country" tonight.

From the jailhouse to the front lines: unlikely firefighters. Find out who has been battling the blazes in California. Also, countdown to "Rock the Vote." Young voters sound off on the 2004 election. Find out what's driving them to the polls, if anything.

And shark attack: the dramatic rescue that saved a surfer from the jaws of death.

But first, let's take a look "Inside the Box" at the top stories on tonight's network newscasts.



COOPER: Take it from the band Boston, we are live from Boston's Faneuil Hall, making our last-minute preparations -- and we do mean last-minute preparations -- for our big event live on CNN tomorrow night, "America Rocks the Vote" with Democratic candidates and young voters.

First, we go, though, to southern California, where firefighters have finally gotten the upper hand in the battle against blazes that burned a stretch of land about the size of Rhode Island. The most redestructive and deadliest fire, the Cedar fire, is now 99 percent contained. The other major fires are 75 percent contained or more.

Some residents began returning home, those at least who still have homes to go back to. We should point out 3,400 homes have been destroyed.

Meanwhile, a lot of firefighters are finally catching their breath after more than a week of 16-hour days. Now, those days were made a little easier with the help of some 2,000 inmates from California prisons. Frank Buckley reports on that from Crestline, California.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man with the chainsaw is a convicted criminal. So is this man and these men. But underneath their inmate orange suits are the souls of proud firefighters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time I put it on, I'm proud. I'm a firefighter. I'm not an inmate anymore when I come out here. I'm a firefighter.

BUCKLEY: Since 1946, inmate firefighters have been on the front lines of California fires, right alongside professional firefighters. And Captain Ken Horn says his men, who have trained for months behind bars, are professional.

CAPT. KEN HORN, FIREFIGHTER: They put their life on the line just like them. And I don't think they should be looked at any differently. BUCKLEY: They do backbreaking work in 12-hour shifts for $1 an hour, minus a percentage for restitution to their victims. There are no murderers or sex offenders or arsonists here, but there are men like Jeff Kirkpatrick, serving seven years for commercial burglary, who see this as a path to redemption.

JEFF KIRKPATRICK, INMATE FIREFIGHTER: I'm getting a chance to make up for some of my past mistakes. You know, pay back the community.

BUCKLEY: They sleep on the ground, apart from other firefighters. But there are no guards with guns, no fences. No walls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd rather be doing this than behind the wall, because you ain't learning nothing there. And here you're learning something.

BUCKLEY: While providing part of the backbone for the firefighting effort. Nothing speaking to that more than the homes that didn't burn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, a lot of homes up there wouldn't be around if it wasn't for these guys.


BUCKLEY: And these firefighters who fought these fires throughout California will continue to be available throughout the fire season to continue to fight fires. All the while, Anderson, serving their sentences and their communities -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Remarkable. Frank Buckley, thanks very much for that tonight.

Here are some fast facts on California inmates for you. They also make all the state's license plates and all the office furniture that's found in every state building, right up to the governor's office. Plus, they refurbish computers for California schools and repair eye glasses for seniors on state Medicare.

All right. You are what you eat. You've heard that before. But restaurant food is often a great mystery full of calories. A closer look at new menus that will let you know exactly what you are putting in your mouth.

Also tonight, Rosie O'Donnell's $100 million court battle. Hear what she is saying in her own defense.

And a little later, countdown to "Rock the Vote." How do the candidates plan to reach young voters? Do they? I'll ask the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

First, today's "Rock the Vote" Web question: Which issue is more important to you in the 2004 election, Iraq or the economy? Vote now:, or you can vote from your cell phone. Text message your answer, Iraq or economy, to 26688, which is CNN TV on your mobile phone keypad. The results, we'll have them at the end of the program.


COOPER: Well, if there is one place where ignorance really is bliss, it's got to be American restaurants. I mean, does anyone really want to know how many calories are in that deep fried chimichanga with a side of chili fries? You may not want to know, and restaurants probably don't want to tell you, but now there's a push to end all that blissful ignorance.

Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nutrition label is standard reading for many shopping for groceries. The information is required by the government, including how much fat, sugar, sodium and calories are in each serving. Now those same weighty facts may soon be appearing on restaurant menus. That's if one U.S. congresswoman has her way.

Representative Rosa DeLauro says laws must be passed to fight the obesity epidemic and also the $117 billion health care tab that comes with it.

REP. ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: If you provide them with the information, you allow them to be responsible in order to make the choice. I think that this legislation helps to do that.

GUPTA: Studies show people do read supermarket food labels to create a healthy diet. But the FDA up until now has not focussed as much on restaurants.

DR. MARK MCCLELLAN, FDA COMMISSIONER: I think there are some steps that we can take to work with the restaurant industry, working with consumer groups and others to help steer consumers to better diet choices, including at restaurants.

GUPTA: Not surprisingly, the restaurant industry is against mandatory labels, saying it could be a liability issue because the information may not always be accurate.

LEE CULPEPPER, NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION: A lot of times, the discretion that a kitchen has is going to affect how much of the side item is on a plate, how much of a side item is on the plate, how much of a main portion, did it have a little more sauce, a little less sauce?

GUPTA: Still, six states have menu labeling legislation moving forward. And a hearing in the District of Columbia next week may make the nation's capital the first to put labeling on the menu.


GUPTA: Of course, the real test will be to see what consumers actually do with that information, Anderson. You mentioned a deep- fried chimichanga. That has about 800 calories, just in case you were curious. If you get the full platter, that's about 1,600 calories with the sour cream and guacamole.

That's almost a full day's worth of calories in that one meal. Maybe that will dissuade some people -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, I'd definitely prefer not to know that. Sanjay, I just want to ask you about this other story I heard about today. A gene that has been identified, thought to be linked to osteoporosis. How significant?

GUPTA: Yes, interesting, and possibly very significant, Anderson. Osteoporosis has been a tough one for a long time. Hard to treat this particular disease process.

They've been looking for a gene. A little peek behind the curtain will suggest that this company out of Iceland basically has found a gene, actually three variants of it, that if you have one of those variants, your likelihood of developing osteoporosis almost three times as much.

They're going to be developing a test for that over the next year or so. But this could be a pretty significant breakthrough. What it means for people if you have the gene is to definitely pump up the calcium early in life and lots of exercise and the knowledge that you might develop this. So that is a significant breakthrough in this whole human genome project.

COOPER: All right. Sanjay, thanks very much. Enjoy your dinner tonight.

GUPTA: Thanks. You too.

COOPER: All right.

We're going to take the pulse of young voters and find out what's really on their minds.

Plus, Rosie O'Donnell. Find out what she says about her $100 million court battle. It's getting nasty.

And that shark attack in Hawaii. A very young surfer survives the jaws of death. Find out how.


COOPER: Time for the "Reset." Tonight's top stories.

We take you to Birmingham, Alabama. Presidential resolve. President Bush made no direct reference to Sunday's deadly Chinook helicopter crash in Iraq, but he did say, "The enemy in Iraq believes America will run." "That," the president added, "will never happen."

Atlanta, Georgia: autism and vaccines. Researchers at the CDC say they have found no link between childhood vaccines and autism. But critics say the study was manipulated to protect the federal government and vaccine makers from potential lawsuits. More on that later on.

Washington, D.C. payout: The federal government is paying Linda Tripp and her attorney nearly $600,000 to settle privacy charges.

Tripp accused the Defense Department of violating her privacy rights when information about her was disclosed during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Tripp, who was working for the Defense Department at the time, taped conversations with Lewinsky about her relationship with President Clinton.

Tallahassee, Florida. Retirement from politics. Last month Senator Bob Graham dropped his quest for the White House. Now the Democrat says he won't seek re-election to the U.S. Senate. The four- term senator says he now plans to write, teach and possibly create a center to train young political leaders.

And that is tonight's "Reset."

Now to "Justice Served." Tension inside and outside the courtroom as Rosie O'Donnell and her former publisher square off. As CNN's Mary Snow reports, today's heated words came from a former editor in chief.


MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rosie O'Donnell was all smiles going into court. But inside the courtroom, a picture was painted of the brasher side of the woman once dubbed the Queen of nice.

The editor in chief of what was "Rosie" magazine, Susan Toepfer, testified about a clash she had with O'Donnell shortly after joining the magazine in July of 2002.

Toepfer said O'Donnell called her, screaming about a cover photo that she didn't like. She quoted O'Donnell as saying, quote, "You're trying to destroy me. I don't want my fat f-ing body on the cover."

Toepfer said that O'Donnell later apologized for yelling.

In cross-examination, O'Donnell's lawyers questioned Pepper about claims she didn't give O'Donnell much involvement in the choice of cover photos. They're trying to show that Pepper was attempting to seize editorial control of the magazine, a job that they say had been granted to O'Donnell.

Outside court, O'Donnell was asked about testimony regarding her sexuality. Toepfer quoted O'Donnell using the phrase, "as a lesbian," in a statement in which she said the comedian expressed concern about being on a cover physically close to other women.

O'Donnell denied the statement.

ROSIE O'DONNELL, ENTERTAINER: I don't think in my entire life I've ever used the phrase "as a lesbian." So what, should I start saying to people, "As a lesbian, can you pass me the mayonnaise? As a lesbian, can I have a Diet Coke?" "As a lesbian" -- what? What?

SNOW: O'Donnell says she's looking forward to testifying Thursday and telling her side of the story.

Mary Snow, CNN financial news, New York.


COOPER: For more on "Justice Served" now, the Scott Peterson preliminary hearing. One strand of hair is taking center stage. Peterson's lawyers are putting up a big fight over the prosecution's evidence.

I want to bring in our legal analyst, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. She joins us tonight from San Francisco.

Kimberly, good to see you, as always. The detective who spoke with Scott Peterson, he is scheduled to testify soon. How important is that going to be?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's going to be important evidence to the prosecution. Keep in mind the whole series of witnesses they've put on so far, besides the DNA experts, have been to undermine Scott Peterson's credibility and his alibi.

Scott claimed that he was actually going golfing to Amy Roche and never did that. Then when he went fishing, couldn't tell this detective what bait he used or what kind of fish that he was trying to catch. Very suspicious behavior and really cast doubt on his claim that he actually did fish that day instead of trying to just set up an alibi for himself by getting a receipt for entering that particular area.

COOPER: I guess the most crucial testimony this week is going to come from Amber Frey, or is expected to come from Amber Frey, the former girlfriend of Scott Peterson. What's she going to say? How bad is it going to be?

NEWSOM: There's a lot of speculation about whether or not she should testify. Many experts stating that they don't think it's a good idea to give someone who's as skilled as Mark Geragos free reign to go at her on the stand. But if it makes her feel more comfortable when she eventually testifies in front of a jury, I think it will be a good thing.

She's going to, I think, hurt Scott Peterson's case more than people realize. She'll present evidence, I believe, of inconsistent statements that he's made that can then be used against him in this trial.

And anything that she can provide to show that this was some kind of premeditated, deliberate murder, will hurt Scott Peterson's case. For example, statements, if he made them, that in fact his wife had died the previous Christmas, will be very damaging against Scott. And he was claiming that he was going on vacation in Belgium or out of the country during the Christmastime. It just, overall, shows a pattern, a web of lies and deceit, that Scott Peterson was a man with a motive to lie, perhaps a motive to kill.

COOPER: All right. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks very much for joining us.

Still to come this evening, a shark attack leaves a very young surfing star an amputee, but her spirit apparently intact.

Also tonight, the ongoing uproar over the TV movie that hasn't premiered yet, the miniseries about the Reagans.

And up next, we'll talk about what drives young voters. We'll also rock the vote with the Republican National Committee chairman, Ed Gillespie, on the GOP strategy for keeping the White House, come 2004.


TRACY CHAPMAN, SINGER (singing): I believe the tables are starting to turn, talking about a revolution. Talking about a revolution.

COOPER: That's a very old song of Tracy Chapman, who of course exploded on the Boston scene in the late '80s with her socially conscious music.

And we are live tonight from Boston's Faneuil Hall, getting ready for America Rocks the Vote, which is going to be tomorrow night. The event with the Democratic candidates taking questions from young American voters.

We want to look at now which issues are driving young voters, if any. One of our guests tonight says it is three things: jobs, jobs and jobs. Her name is Kate Davidson. She's the city editor of the "Daily Free Press," the independent newspaper at Boston University.

Also joining us, for more on the political buzz on college campuses, our old young friend, MTV news reporter, Gideon Yago. Thanks for being with us.

Kate, let me start off with you. Number one issue, you say, is jobs. Why?

KATE DAVIDSON, CITY EDITOR, "DAILY FREE PRESS": I think so. I think that, particularly for upper classman, jobs are an important question, obviously, because they're entering the work force soon.

But even for underclassmen who might be looking for summer jobs, internships, the upperclassmen are kind of scooping those up, as well, because they are having a tough time breaking into the job market.

COOPER: You're in your senior year. Are you worried about getting a job?

DAVIDSON: I am worried about it. Even in the field of journalism, particularly, I know a lot of my friends who graduated last year are still jobless, unfortunately. And they've taken part- time internships to and, you know, make end's meet. Or, you know, take on other jobs.

COOPER: Gideon, what's your take? I mean, how important do you think the war is going to be?

GIDEON YAGO, MTV NEWS REPORTER: I think it's going to be up there. I mean, I agree exactly with what Kate says. You're seeing it fall off a little bit. The economy is still the number one concern for college students.

But I feel bad for somebody like a kid, because they kind of have the deck rigged against them. I mean, most people when they leave college have huge insurmountable debts to education. They kind of have to get a college degree just to play ball in the job market. And unfortunately, and it's a weak job market at that.

And unfortunately you don't see a lot of the candidates, especially Democrats, and Republicans as well, reaching out and talking about that, trying to make that relevant to this potential huge voting block.

COOPER: On the campus, I mean, do you get a sense that there is an election going on, that the process is already well under way. I mean, does it feel -- Are politics in the air?

DAVIDSON: I think politics are in the air. I think that there are certain groups that talk about politics more, you know, the poli- sci majors, the journalism majors.


DAVIDSON: But I mean, everyone definitely knows, especially because the Democratic national convention is going to be in Boston, people are talking about that. There is a buzz.

COOPER: Gideon, do you think the candidates, Democratic and President Bush, have really made an effort to reach out to young voters at this point?

YAGO: I don't. I don't at all. And I think that it's a real -- you know, I said this before. It's an opportunity they can totally squander. All the poll data that you guys have done, we have done, that Harvard has done, seems to show, like, there's this incredible interest now amongst young people to get involved. And you can recast that image...

COOPER: But why should candidates pay attention to young people? I mean, they don't go to the polls? You know, in 1972 and 1992 they did.

YAGO: Nineteen seventy-two, 1992. Not traditionally, but you look at what's going on right now and you have this demographic echo to the Baby Boom. That's bigger than the Baby Boom. All of these kids are dialed into the world around them because of the events of the last three years.

And it just makes no sense to me that nobody in government would want to try and establish loyalty or dialogue with this huge demographic block.

COOPER: But the demographic block actually seems more conservative than, at least, their parents' generation...

YAGO: To a certain extent.

COOPER: ... if you go by the polls. Were you surprised at some of the numbers you saw in these polls?

DAVIDSON: I was very surprised. There have been a couple of polls, actually, that have been released over the past few weeks, I think, that have shown that young voters actually are more conservative.

COOPER: Are you surprised just because you're on a liberal college campus or surprised because that was your take of folks at home, as well?

DAVIDSON: I think both of those elements. Yes, the campus seem a little more liberal. Perhaps that's just because maybe those more conservative groups haven't started mobilizing yet because we haven't had the primary. But also because traditionally, college students are more liberal. So that's why I think it was very surprising.

COOPER: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Kate Davidson, it was great to meet you.

DAVIDSON: Thank you. Nice to meet you, Anderson.

COOPER: And Gideon, always good to see you. See you tomorrow, as well.

YAGO: Yes.

COOPER: All right. That brings us to our Rock the Vote Web question. Which issue is more important to you in the 2004 election, Iraq or the economy? You can vote now, CNN.COM/360. Or you can vote from your cell phone. Text message your answer, "Iraq" or "economy" to 26688, which is CNN TV on your mobile phone key pad. The results at the end of tonight's program.

Tomorrow Democrats will get their say when we host America Rocks the Vote. I think I plugged this already, but let's do it again.

We don't want to leave the Republican voice out of the conversation, of course. Earlier today, I spoke with Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

I began by asking him if the reports were true that White House strategist Karl Rove wants Howard Dean as the Democratic candidate, because Rove sees him as easy to beat.


ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: From our perspective, it doesn't matter who emerges. We're going to run on the president's strong and principled leadership and his positive agenda.

COOPER: It doesn't matter who it is?

GILLESPIE: Well, of course it matters in some ways.

COOPER: Who would you like to see be the nomination?

GILLESPIE: You know, as far as I'm concerned, they're all Howard Dean now. If you look at the rhetoric that they deploy and the positions they've taken, they continue to move further and further outside the political mainstream.

So they all have their relative strengths and their relative weaknesses. In my estimation, in every case, their relative weaknesses outweigh their relative strengths. But whoever emerges will be a strong nominee. We anticipate a close contest.

COOPER: What do you think are the issues that's going to bring young people to the polls? Is it the war; is it jobs?

GILLESPIE: I think it's both those things. I think it is a strong national security. And I think that younger voters understand the need to remove Saddam Hussein.

I think it's the economy. They're obviously coming out of college or high school, and they're interested in making sure they can get a job. And I think they appreciate the president's jobs and growth agenda, and they don't want to see the job creation we're starting to see take effect in the country be reversed.

And I also think they appreciate the president's leadership. Presidential elections are not just about issues. They're about the presidency, and he's a strong and principled leader.

COOPER: So to get young voters today, do candidates need to, I mean, play the sax on a late night TV show? And do they need to kind of go out of their way?

GILLESPIE: I think the younger voters are more sophisticated than to fall for gimmicks or ploys or things like that. They have to be out there talking about issues, things that matter to people in terms of their quality of life. Communicating with them. The Internet, obviously, is a key tool.

COOPER: Do you think Democrats made a mistake by being too negative, by being -- basically running on the idea that the economy is going to get worse and the war is going to go badly?

GILLESPIE: I do. And I have to say, I think it's, you know -- It's almost unseemly. We saw great economic news in the last quarter. And it was -- The Democrats acted almost with bitter disappointment that people were starting to get their jobs back. COOPER: You really think the Democrats want the economy to go south?

GILLESPIE: I think they believe that it's in their political interest. I don't think that they don't that they want it to go south, but I think that you could feel it when you look at your own network and the clips from the people on the Democratic side and their reaction. It was almost disappointment that people were getting their jobs back.

COOPER: Finally, do young voters matter? I mean, they don't go to the polls that often. Why should a politician care about them?

GILLESPIE: Because they matter in terms of -- they are the future. I think the more we can bring young voters into the party, the better off we are. I'm glad to see Democrats doing the same thing. We have an obligation as party leaders to increase participation in our process.

And you're right. Younger voters are less likely to vote than senior citizens and other voters. And we need to make them be on a par with 45-year-old voters and 65-year-old voters and make sure that they're out there participating in the process, because it's their future that they're shaping.


COOPER: All right. Let's take a quick look now at "The Current."

Hip-hop star Sean "P. Diddy" Combs said he will not be running the New York marathon next year. Combs finished yesterday in four hours, 14 minutes and 54 seconds, raising $2 million for charity. Combs said it was not a publicity stunt, and he'll explain why at a press conference.

Hey, kids, it's bull-fighting season. That's right, the roar of the crowd, the thrill of victory and the futile struggle for life as a hopeless male cow. It all kicks off in Lima, Peru.

For those unfamiliar with the so-called sport, the Spanish word for bull, "toro," translates loosely as "red fox." I don't know about that one.

"USA Today" reports CBS has made 18 changes to its upcoming miniseries "The Reagans," which is coming under fire from critics who have not seen it. Some claim the movie manipulates the Reagans' public image, which traditionally had been a job for others.

ABC has scheduled a miniseries of "Little House on the Prairie" for next year. The producer of the classic show is back on board but says the new miniseries will be more true to the books. Therefore, the miniseries will include neither the malevolent Nelly Olsen nor Michael Landon's hair.

Still to come this evening, a shark ripped her arm off Friday morning. Now, is a 13-year-old surfing star considering going back in the water?

Also tonight, what possible motive could Princess Di's butler have for selling a book about the secrets she tried to keep while she was alive? What could it possibly be? Some say it's money.

Be right back.


COOPER: An amazing story from Hawaii. It's about a 13-year-old surfing star who lost one of her arms in a shark attack. But she apparently has not lost the thing that matters perhaps most of all, her spirit.

Here's CNN's Wolf Blitzer.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one saw the shark before the attack. No one's seen it since. But the beast may be responsible for derailing the career of a surfing star.

Thirteen-year-old Bethany Hamilton, winner of several amateur events in Hawaii, routinely out surfed older competitors, had already secured sponsorships and was about to turn pro.

Early Friday morning, about a quarter mile off the north shore of Kuaui, Hamilton was lying flat on her board, arms dangling in the water. One motion, one bite, and her left arm was gone.

JEFF WAIBA, WITNESS: There was no movement. It was a clean attack. Just took a bite and split.

BLITZER: Hamilton somehow got to shore. A friend's father, who was nearby, used a surfboard leash as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. He may have saved her life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole way through it she remained conscious, and she was trying to paddle in by herself. She kept it together the whole may in. She never cried. I didn't see her cry. And then she -- she was a trooper.

BLITZER: Measuring the size of the bite, authorities told local media they think this was the work of a tiger shark, 12 to 15 feet long.

Hamilton is now at a local hospital, and her family says, in good spirits. A second surgery was planned for today.

Her mother was quoted in one newspaper as saying Hamilton would take up underwater photography, but her brother Noah told CNN she plans to return to competitive surfing, with or without a prosthetic. Either way, it seems Bethany Hamilton is destined to return to the water.

Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, for tonight's edition of "Fresh Print," we were inspired by the new Princess Di tell-all -- or maybe it's a "tell some," since there may actually be more to come.

Paul Burrell says he's setting the record straight with his book, "A Royal Duty," about the 10 years he served as Princess Diana's butler.

Is it possible there's another motive at work here?


COOPER (voice-over): Burrell stands to pocket almost $5 million, according to one report. But he says it's not about the money. His promotional tour, he says, is about spreading truth. His truth, anyway.

Burrell is hardly the first former confidant to claim good intentions for spilling the beans. Some, like Christina Crawford, have backed it up. She may have sold "Mommy Dearest" to the movies, but she also spent years raising awareness of domestic violence.

When "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again" told blistering tales, peppered with names like Hawn, Beatty, Streisand and Spielberg, author Julia Phillips said she had to be brutally honest about everyone in order to be honest about herself.

The author of a Liberace tell-all explained why he spilled salacious details about his former boss and lover in "Behind the Candelabra." Scott Thorson said he needed the money, a confession ironically that's about as surprising as finding out, well, that Liberace was gay.


COOPER: Well, coming up next on 360, why is it that politicians always seem to be doing things with their hands that no one ever does?

Plus, tomorrow we're going to be live from Boston again as CNN and Rock the Vote present the Democratic presidential candidates for the first time taking questions from America's young people.

But first, today's Rock the Vote Web question. Which issue is more important to you in the 2004 election? Iraq or the economy? Vote now, Or you can vote from your cell phone. Text message your answer, "Iraq" or "economy" to 26688, which is CNN TV on your mobile phone keypad. The results when we come back.


COOPER: Among the candidates you'll see tomorrow night in America Rocks the Vote, there is decades of combined political experience. But age and a long resume isn't always a prerequisite to being elected. America has more than a few political prodigies. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS PORTMAN, MAYOR OF MERCER: Hi. Chris Portman, mayor of Mercer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're the young kid.

COOPER (voice-over): Chris Portman isn't exactly a kid.

PORTMAN: I, Christopher David Portman.

COOPER: But at 21, he is the youngest mayor in the nation. Portman was still in high school when he became mayor of Mercer, Pennsylvania, two years ago.

PORTMAN: Do you trick or treat, and do you have any candy yet?

COOPER: Now he's in college and lives with his parents.

Mercer is small, but being mayor has its perks. "Cosmo Girl" magazine selected Portman as one of America's 10 most eligible college students.

PORTMAN: I have to admit, it was great being able to introduce myself and tell girls that -- eventually, that I'm one of the youngest mayors in the country. So that was a lot of fun.

COOPER: Portman, a Republican, is one of a handful of truly young politicians.

Democrat Marco Lopez is just 24. He's the mayor of Nogalas, Arizona.

There's also Brook Adams...


COOPER: ... a 25-year-old independent. She got 1 percent of the vote in the California recall.

PORTMAN: If we get active and we start voting, the politicians in Washington are going to start listening to us because we're an active voice.

Isabel. Mayor Portman calling from Mercer, how are you?

COOPER: Portman says he's trying to bring jobs to Mercer and preserve its historic sites.

PORTMAN: I like the fact that I can play a role and really make a difference in our town.

COOPER: Residents of Mercer so far seem pleased with their young mayor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's fresh ideas. It's new ideas. It's new concepts, and I think it's great for the borough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's time the young people took over and got things straightened out.

COOPER: Portman may one day dream of going to Washington. For now, he says he just wants to run his town.

PORTMAN: OK. Very good. We'll see you, Brad.


COOPER: All right. Time now for the Rock the Vote Web question. We asked you, which issue is more important to you in the 2004 election? Iraq or the economy? More than 130,000 people have voted. Thirty-one percent say Iraq is the most important issue. Sixty-nine percent say it is the economy.

Not a specific poll, just your buzz.

Time for the "Nth" now. Taking hand gestures to "The Nth Degree."

As you may have picked up, tomorrow I'll be moderating a live forum of Democratic presidential candidates here in Boston. I think I might have mentioned that.

Now some of you may think you can't wait and read the transcript -- or you can just wait and read the transcript. But that would be folly, my friends. Folly. Why? Because politicians communicate with their hands and their bodies, as well as words, in ways no one else does.

Who knows? One of the candidates tomorrow might explain exactly what it means when they make that fist with their thumb on top. That thing?

Clinton was a pro at it, sometimes even executing the full thumb fist combined with a classic half lip bite. He even performed the synchronized news conference finger point on the pro circuit. No net people.

Today's candidates have their own moves. Howard Dean, for instance, seems to favor a very symmetrical approach to his gestures.

Dick Gephardt, meanwhile, was apparently an orchestra conductor in another life.

I kind of hope one of our audience participants tomorrow will ask about all this political semaphore. I mean, why can't politicians just talk to people the way us normal average folks do, you know, enunciating precisely, punching select syllables, maintaining eye contact, and wearing tons of makeup and looking at whichever camera some strange guy in a headset points to.

Why can't they?

That wraps up our program tonight. See you tomorrow from Boston. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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