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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Judge Dismisses Charges Agains Kobe Bryant; Interview with Rudy Giuliani

Aired September 1, 2004 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening from New York. I'm Anderson Cooper.
Breaking news from the Kobe Bryant trial.

360 starts now.

A Kobe Bryant bombshell. Jury selection's under way, but is the judge about to say, Case closed?

Vice President Dick Cheney takes center stage in Madison Square Garden as the Republican National Convention enters day three.

Switching sides. Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat, calls President Bush the right man for wartime. Will his primetime speech swing swing voters to the right? Mayor Rudy Giuliani joins us live.

John Kerry bucks tradition, campaigning hard despite the GOP. Today, with vets, he comes out swinging against the president's record in Iraq.

Secret Service on edge after Dick Cheney's close encounters with protesters inside the hall. How are these demonstrators slipping through the security net?

And Jenna and Barbara, Alexandra and Vanessa, speaking out for their fathers at national conventions. How did they do? A side-by- side comparison inside the box.

ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, live from the Republican National Convention in New York.

COOPER: And good evening to you.

Strictly speaking, what happens here in Madison Square Garden tonight isn't news. Everyone knows who is going to speak, and pretty much what they'll say. There is no mystery about the man who is the party nominee.

So we'll get to the news of the known in a moment.

But we're beginning with some breaking news out of the Kobe Bryant case tonight. And for those who have been following this case, the news is big. With less than one week before opening statements were to begin, the criminal case against the NBA star has been dropped. The case is over. CNN's Gary Tuchman is outside the court in Eagle, Colorado, with more. Gary?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in the middle of the jury selection for the trial which begins with opening statements this Tuesday, which was supposed to begin, an attorney for the accuser, the personal attorney for the accuser, tells us that the case, the criminal case, will be dropped against Kobe Bryant.

But the civil case, which was filed last month, will be continued. Lynne Wood (ph), the attorney, told us that it will be dropped, and Kobe Bryant will not be allowed to be charged criminally again. That means the case has been dropped with prejudice, will not be allowed to be tried again. But they will go civil court. Lynne Wood tells us they want Kobe Bryant to have to testify in the civil case. He cannot take his Fifth Amendment right. He will have to testify.

Now, why drop it now? We don't know. We do know that in court the other day, the prosecution complained to the judge that too many people, potential jurors, have heard about this case in the news media, and said they already thought that Kobe Bryant was not guilty, or was probably not guilty. They were troubled by that.

They're going to hold a news conference, it's expected to start at any time, to explain why they've decided to drop the case. We do believe they'll try to put a good face on it, but it's very unusual, Anderson. This alleged crime, after 14 months ago, for months now, there has been talk that this case has been very weak. But the prosecution apparently has waited to jury selection to drop the case.

One fly in the ointment we want to warn you about. As we speak, inside the courthouse here in Eagle, Colorado, attorneys from the defense, the prosecution, and the judge are meeting. Judge Terry Ruckriegle has to sign off on this deal. That signoff has not happened yet. We know he'll be very unhappy about this, because he said, I don't want to set this trial date until I'm sure this will go to trial. He set the trial date very late.

We know he'll be angry, so we're not 100 percent sure he'll sign off yet on the deal. But once the deal is signed off on, the prosecution says they will come out here and talk to us about the situation, Anderson.

COOPER: Now, Gary, am I right in understanding the defense had just recently complained about some evidence that they said they did not get in a timely manner?

TUCHMAN: Well, Kobe Bryant's attorneys today filed a motion saying that the prosecution had hired an expert to talk about injuries the woman had. They say, when the prosecution found out the expert was going to testify to things that were favorable to the defense, the defense wasn't notified. Under court rules, the defense has to be notified about exculpatory information, about information that would favor it. The defense claims it wasn't notified, filed a complaint with the judge, telling the judge, You should drop this case, judge, because the prosecution didn't notify us about this. But the judge hasn't made a ruling on that yet, and he may never make that ruling now.

COOPER: And we don't know if that is related to this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) right now. Gary Tuchman, gathering more information. We will bring that press conference to you live.

Let's also, standing by, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Jeff, what do you make of this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, you know, I try to be measured in my comments. But, you know, this is an unbelievable fiasco that this prosecutor's office would charge Kobe Bryant with a crime that could have led -- left him in prison for 20 years, and branded a sex offender for the rest of his life, and now they simply walk away from this case?

It is a disgrace that these prosecutors have brought a case on such flimsy grounds. And I am interested, to say the least, to see how they justify their behavior. But it is a really extraordinary failure by the prosecutor.

COOPER: You think they shouldn't have brought the case at all to begin with, or they went about, once the charges had been filed, they went about the prosecution the wrong way?

TOOBIN: No. One of the core values, when you are a prosecutor, is, you don't bring a case in the first place unless you are absolutely convinced that you can get a jury to believe you beyond a reasonable doubt. So to answer your question directly, if this is the resolution, they should have never brought answered, brought this case in the first place. It is a really disgraceful performance by the prosecutors here.

COOPER: We, and as, just to reiterate for those just joining us, we are awaiting a press conference from Eagle County District Attorney Mark Hurlburt (ph). We will bring that to you live. What do you think happened, Jeff?

TOOBIN: Well, I think what happened here is, they brought this case only two weeks after Kobe Bryant's -- after this incident. They brought this case very quickly. And remember, we're talking about Kobe Bryant. He wasn't going anywhere. They didn't have to bring it that quickly. But they brought the case.

And then the evidence started to come in, a lot of it, apparently, through defense experts. The defense here hired the best experts that money could buy, and money played a big role here. But a useful role, because their experts brought out, as came out about a month ago, that the accuser apparently had sex with someone virtually immediately after she claimed she was raped by Kobe Bryant.

This evidence, threw such a curveball to the prosecution, and seemed, in the common experience of most people, you know who are, after all, the jurors, they, to be inconsistent with how a rape victim would behave.

The case was simply not investigated thoroughly enough by the prosecutors. So as this evidence came out about the physical evidence, about the mental state of the victim, the possibility of a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt seemed to dissipate.

Plus, you had the situation of the accuser not wanting to participate. So those are the main factors, I think.

COOPER: Well, as I said, we're anticipating this press conference any moment. We will bring it to you live. Just stand by for that.

Thanks very much, Jeff.

Here at the convention, if you're a connoisseur of rare sights, you should enjoy the one coming up later this evening. An enormous arena, packed to the rafters with thousands of Republicans, all paying rapt attention to, and from time to time wildly applauding, we're willing to wager, a Democrat. That would be Senator Zell Miller of Georgia, who delivers the keynote address tonight, as he did in 1992 at the Democratic convention.

As for what else is going to happen this evening, we'll turn to CNN senior White House correspondent John King for the big picture, and CNN's Jeanne Meserve, who has been following the attempts of those being kept outside the Garden to try to get inside.

We go to John King first.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a more conservative flavor in the hall tonight when Vice President Cheney speaks, also a great deal of red meat, not only Zell Miller, the Democrat -- a Democrat giving the keynote speech, but the Republican lieutenant governor and governor of Massachusetts will say their Democratic senator, John Kerry, is out of touch with the country.

But the main event tonight, the president's number two.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): It is the vice president's night. A conservative favorite in the convention hall, but a more controversial figure in the country at large. Mr. Cheney's task, to find mistakes and draw a black and white contrast.

The vice president will say there is more in the balance than who leads the country the next four years. "Moments come along in history," he will say, "when leaders must make fundamental decisions about how to confront the long-term challenge abroad and how best to keep the American people secure. The nation has reached another of those defining moments."

Mr. Cheney's speech casts President Bush as always reluctant to go to war, but a decisive commander in chief once the decision is made, and paints Democrat John Kerry as a waffler with a 20-year Senate record that shows weakness on national security.

On the question of America's role in the world, Mr. Cheney will say the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest.

Also in primetime, Lynne Cheney's introduction of her husband, and keynote speaker Senator Zell Miller, a Georgia Democrat backing the Republican ticket because he says his party has veered dangerously back to the left.

Popularity was a common trait of the primetime lineup the first two nights, polarizing a word better suited to day three's main event.

Forty-four percent of Americans have a favorable view of the vice president, 45 percent an unfavorable view. To the president and other conservatives, he is a trusted, seasoned hand. To Democrats, the poster child of an administration they call captive to corporate interests.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: ... Mr. Halliburton himself, Dick Cheney.

KING: President Bush enjoyed a big convention sendoff at the White House, heading first to Ohio, then to New York in time for the evening lineup.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: And as they did last night, the delegates here in the hall will get a live visit from President Bush via satellite. He will be here in New York City. He will be basking in the endorsement of some local firefighters. Their national union is with Senator Kerry. The local firefighters of New York giving their backing tonight, Anderson, to President Bush.

COOPER: All right, John King, a big night ahead.

It is hard to tell from the inside, but outside the convention, police continue to clash with wave after wave of demonstrators. So far, more than 1,500 people have been arrested. Now, considering the fortress surrounding Madison Square Garden, it would seem virtually impossible for even one protester to get in. Incredibly, some are slipping through, and they have been giving the first unscripted speeches of the convention.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: ... significant audience for the president of the United States, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: AIDS activists from ACT UP arrested after disrupting the Republican youth convention while the White House chief of staff was speaking.

CARD: Thank you.

CATHY GOMEZ, MOTHER OF YOUTH DELEGATE: And all of a sudden, the kids right in front of us stood up on their chairs and ripped off their jackets. And underneath -- you know, they were disguised -- underneath their sport coats, they had signs on their backs.

MESERVE: The protesters had valid credentials to be in Madison Square Garden. So did Thomas Frampton (ph) when he allegedly tried to enter Vice President Dick Cheney's box Monday night, shouting antiwar slogans. Medea Benjamin was also expressing antiwar views near Cheney when she was removed Tuesday. Benjamin says she had no trouble getting credentials from antiwar delegates and friends.

MEDEA BENJAMIN, CODE PINK: WOMEN FOR PEACE: When I first got in, I used a credential from a delegate who didn't want to go back inside. But then I realized that with the press credential, I could get actually closer to where the higher-ups were sitting. And so I used a press credential.

MESERVE: With minimal vetting, approximately 50,000 credentials were issued by the Republican National Committee. A spokesman acknowledges the RNC cannot control their transfer, calling protesters in the hall one of the joys of working in a free society and a democracy.

TERRY HOLT, SPOKESMAN, BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: I think it is a fact of our political life that protest is here to stay. It has become very organized.

MESERVE: The RNC and the Secret Service do not characterize these incidents as security breeches, claiming screening would catch individuals entering the convention with a weapon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MESERVE: But a magnetometer cannot screen thoughts or intentions, and no one here would be surprised if there were more disruptions in the days to come, Anderson.

COOPER: Jeanne Meserve, thanks very much.

While the Republicans are convening right here in New York, the American Legion is convening in Nashville, Tennessee. By no coincidence at all, that's where President Bush was yesterday. Now, guess where John Kerry spent part of his day?

CNN congressional correspondent Joe Johns reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Following strains of "Anchors Aweigh," former Navy lieutenant John Kerry weighed in on whether the United States can win the war on terror.

SEN. JOHN KERRY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: With the right policies, this is a war we can win. This is a war we must win. And this is a war we will win.

JOHNS: Referring to recent controversial statements by the president, one of which Mr. Bush has retreated from, Kerry was back on the attack over U.S. foreign policy.

KERRY: I don't think we need what President Bush has defined as a "catastrophic success." I think we need a real success.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, all.

JOHNS: Speaking just a day after the president addressed the American Legion, Kerry played up his credentials as a veteran and a Legionnaire, telling them how he would have done things differently.

KERRY: I would have given the inspectors the time they needed to do the job. I would have made sure that we listened to our senior military advisers.

JOHNS: Even before he spoke, the Bush campaign slammed Kerry for inconsistency on Iraq, saying the only way to track his position is to follow which position benefits him politically.

Kerry made no mention of the swift boat ads questioning his time in Vietnam, and for some, that was old news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, that doesn't matter (UNINTELLIGIBLE) me. You know, what I care about is what you're going to do for veterans today.

JOHNS: And on veterans' healthcare and benefits, Kerry got some of his biggest applause.

KERRY: Those who fought for our country abroad should never have to fight for what they were promised back here at home.

JOHNS (on camera): From one front to another, Kerry aides continue to downplay reports of changes to top staff, but they said new people will be brought in as they head down the homestretch.

Joe Johns, CNN, Nashville.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): ... what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous night o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): ... what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous night o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): ... what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous night o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

COOPER: That was the Central Baptist Church Choir singing the National Anthem.

Coming up on 360, the politics of terror, and a party on the attack. Will it help push the Republicans over the top? New York mayor Rudy Giuliani joins us live.

Also, dueling daughters. The Bush twins take center stage. How do they stack up against the Kerry girls? We'll take you inside the box for that.

And the bombshell in the Kobe Bryant trial, the criminal case is dropped. It is over. We'll have the very latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, as Republicans here praise President Bush, they're not hesitating, of course, to take some swipes at his opponent, Senator John Kerry. Vice President Cheney has had some pointed barbs on the campaign trail. He'll likely have a few more when he accepts the VP nomination tonight.

Two days ago, it was mayor Rudy Giuliani's turn at the mike. The former New York mayor criticized Kerry more than a dozen times by name in his convention speech as he recalled President Bush's leadership in the war on terror.

I'm pleased that Mayor Giuliani joins me now.

Mayor, good to see you tonight.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Good to see you, Anderson. How are you?

COOPER: I'm doing well. You took (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the speech captivated the crowd here. You took some jabs, though, at Senator Kerry by name, more than a dozen, I think some people said. I, you know, there are some who said if the Democrats had done that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at their convention, that would have been negativity.

GIULIANI: Well, maybe it's because they had spent so much time, you know, beforehand in the primaries and everything else, demonizing the president. They really didn't have the room to just sort of just lay out the case against him in a dignified way.

So I tried to do it with humor. And actually, I was very impressed with the fact that when I began that part of the speech, I said, we have to honor John Kerry for his service to the country.

And people here applauded. And I actually thought that was a very nice thing. It meant that a good portion of this audience is willing to say, we respect his service in Vietnam, we respect, you know, his heroism, but we have a lot of disagreements with him after he came back from Vietnam, in essence, particularly his record in the Senate.

COOPER: Is this becoming one of the nastiest campaigns you've seen?

GIULIANI: No.

COOPER: Really? You don't think it is that bad?

GIULIANI: Come to New York sometime.

COOPER: Hey, I'm a New Yorker.

GIULIANI: No, no. I've seen -- I mean, it's a tough campaign. It is going to get tougher. This is politics. And, you know, these are two groups of people, not just the two candidates, but two groups of people who passionately feel they're correct, and the other guy is wrong. So, of course, you're going to have that kind of thing.

But no, I've seen it get much nastier than this, and...

COOPER: And you think it's going to get worse.

GIULIANI: And this is, and this is mostly about real issues. I mean, it's most, you know, every once in a while one side goes too far, like the Michael Moore thing, and, or maybe sometimes some of the people who are angry about John Kerry because of -- I think they're angry at him probably for what he said when he came back from Vietnam, maybe go too far in attacking...

COOPER: Do you think the...

GIULIANI: ... his record where he got medals.

COOPER: Do you think the swift boat ads were too far?

GIULIANI: I think the part of it that dealt with how and why he got his medals is. I think you have to grant the fact that the Navy gave him those medals. They're his. We should honor him for it. If they want to raise questions, I think it's quite legitimate to raise questions about what he said, how far he went, how he turned his back on certain people when he came back from Vietnam.

COOPER: Today John...

GIULIANI: But I don't think, but I don't think you deal -- you don't deal with -- I mean, you got, you got to deal with, you've got to deal with the medals by saying he got them, he's entitled to that. And, look, you know, we credit him for his heroism. COOPER: Today John Kerry was very tough against President Bush, saying that President Bush failed to listen to top military advice going to the war in Iraq, didn't have a plan for the peace, and failed to bring in the allies. Do you think the president made any mistakes in going to war when he did, how he did?

GIULIANI: I think the president's decision to go to war was the right one. John Kerry believed then it was the right one. And he was right then. And several times along the way, he said he was -- he -- he -- he still thinks we should have gone to war. So I think the decision to go to war was a right one against Saddam Hussein. It had to happen. That was the right time to do it. He's been removed. And...

COOPER: Was it essential in the war on terror?

GIULIANI: Absolutely. I have no doubt about that at all.

COOPER: Why? How, how, how...

GIULIANI: On September 20...

COOPER: ... what, what (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

GIULIANI: ... 2001, when I sat in Congress and listened to the president say, We're going to have to, we're going to have to relentlessly pursue global terrorism, it's not just going to be al Qaeda, it's going to be other groups, other pillars of support for terrorism, I knew one of the people he was talking about was Saddam Hussein. He was a critical player in international terrorism.

Abu Nidal used Iraq as a staging ground at times, certainly a place that where he got assistance. He used weapons of mass destruction, he was sitting on top of billions of dollars. He was a critical player in world terrorism, you know, not the only one.

But it's more complex than to say you can just pursue al Qaeda. And, remember, go back to the president's speech way back on September 20, 2001. He outlined the whole philosophy then. It's not just al Qaeda, it's nations that support terrorism, or that has the potential to do that.

And certainly Iraq under Saddam Hussein fit into that category.

COOPER: Has the Republican Party done at this convention what it needs to do to try to reach out to those liberal Republicans, to those moderates, to those undecideds at this point to bring them into the party?

GIULIANI: I think we have. I think Arnold Schwarzenegger's speech last night did exactly that. I mean, that was the core of the speech. It was you can disagree with the president on certain things. He's talking about social issues. But on the core issues, on what to do about Iraq, what to do about terrorism, what to do essentially about our economy, tax reductions rather than tax increases, which Kerry and Edwards will bring us, for most Republicans, those are the things that really tie us together.

COOPER: It...

GIULIANI: And they make us say we're willing to respect each other for our differences because those things are the most important to us.

COOPER: I want to ask you about your plans for 2008. I know you're not even going to answer, so I'm not even going to ask the question, I'm not even going to ask. But I will ask this. In today's Republican Party, can a candidate who does not agree with the platform on many social issues, can a candidate like that still get the nomination?

GIULIANI: I don't think there is any way to know that in 2004. There is no way to know what the landscape of the Republican and Democratic Party is going to be in 2006, 2007, when a presidential campaign actually starts. And I'm not going to make any decision about any of those things until we get beyond this election.

COOPER: Mayor Rudy Giuliani, like talking to you. Thanks very much for being with us.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

COOPER: So how can you tell when a campaign has hit on a word or a concept that tests well with focus groups? You start hearing it over and over and over again. Take tonight's theme for the Republicans. It's the land of opportunity. And in raw politics, the speeches will probably sound very familiar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Thank you.

COOPER (voice-over): If you've been listening closely to the convention speeches, you might have noticed that some words and phrases keep popping up. It happened last night.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We are one America.

We have one America...

COOPER: And it happened the night before.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: ... resolve...

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: ... resolve...

MCCAIN: ... resolve...

COOPER: Politicians often find a phrase that plays well to the crowd and stick with it.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hope is on the way. Hope is on the way. Hope is on the way. COOPER: But sometimes the research is far more scientific than just crowd reaction. In modern politics, campaigns routinely use polling and focus groups to find which phrases work and which ones wash out.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is nothing but marketing, and that's what a lot of politics is. Politicians use polls and focus groups the same way commercial interests use polls and focus groups. They want to find out what sells.

COOPER: When New Jersey Governor James McGreevey came out, he said...

GOV. JAMES MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY: I am a gay American.

COOPER: ... that phrase was recommended to him by a gay rights organization, which had previously tested it with focus groups.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... and those businesses.

COOPER: This parsing of words has been going on for years. Remember the estate tax? Nowadays, its opponents call it something for more ominous.

CHENEY: ... deal with the death tax.

COOPER: Democrats weren't gaining much ground attacking the religious right. So now they aim their attacks against...

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ... religious extremists...

COOPER: Plenty of politicians support drilling for oil, but you don't hear them using that phrase. Instead they talk about...

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: ... exploring for oil and gas...

COOPER: Sure, the drilling still goes on, but focus groups found "exploring" sounds a lot better.

When every vote counts, every word matters in the world of raw politics.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot of politics.

We are anticipating a press conference from Eagle, Colorado. As we told you earlier in the program, a judge has dismissed the sexual assault case against NBA star Kobe Bryant. We're anticipating a press conference from the district attorney, Mark Hurlburt, of Eagle, Colorado. We'll bring that to you live.

Coming up next on 360, if the press conference doesn't happen, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a Democrat delivering the primetime speech at the Republican convention, where have all the conservatives gone? We're going to talk to Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, going 360 in the "CROSSFIRE."

Also tonight, dueling daughters. The Bush twins take center stage. But was it more gaffes than laughs? We'll take you inside the box.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to the Republican convention.

So a question, why is Zell Miller, Democrat, delivering the keynote address tonight? Another question, John Kerry is on a new offensive, trying to back President Bush into a corner over what some say were his contradictory remarks about winning the war on terror. But will the strategy work?

To put those questions, a few more in the "CROSSFIRE," joining me here at the convention are "CROSSFIRE" co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala.

Gentlemen, good to see you again today.

PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Hey, Anderson.

COOPER: Nice to see you guys out of that diner.

Paul, let me ask you, Zell Miller is addressing the convention tonight. Now, if John Kerry is supposed to be a flip-flopper, isn't Zell Miller the ultimate flip-flopper? Then why is he talking to the Republicans?

BEGALA: You know, as you know, I worked for Zell for years. He's a -- not just a friend, he's a mentor. He's very, very -- somebody I'm very close to. And it always just broke my heart when his critics would call him Zigzag Zell.

And this, I think, seals that political legacy. It does make it impossible, I think, for the Republicans to say that Kerry's a flip- flopper when they have the guy who gave Bill Clinton's keynote address now giving George Bush's, the man who wrote my party's platform in 1996. Not very long ago, all of a sudden now thinks that that same...

COOPER: Well, Tucker...

BEGALA: ... platform's too liberal? It's a, it's a, it's a problem for the Republicans.

COOPER: Tucker, what is it? Has the Democratic Party changed or has Zell Miller changed?

CARLSON: I'll tell you what happened; what it's a product of. Zell Miller spent his entire career cooped up with professional Democrats and after a while, you get kind of sick of them. Look, the reason they're having Zell Miller there, two reasons: one, he's a very clever guy and a smart guy, an articulate guy; I think he'll a pretty good speech, second, look, the Democrats had Ron Reagan Jr. speak. So the Republicans, you know, raised them a Reagan, Michael Reagan and then added a Democratic senator. It's sort of, "We've got one of your guys and we're going to throw him out there."

It's effective. He's got a legitimate point of view. I heard Terry McAuliffe tonight say that Zell Miller's giving this speech to sell books. What a low thing to say, what a totally unfair thing to say. I think you can take him at his word. He's changed his mind; a lot of people do. The evidence changes, your opinions ought to change. And his have. Amen.

BEGALA: But again, it's a problem for the Republicans to make their critique. And I certainly hope Zell, whom I do love and who would give a great speech; he's one of the great orators of our time, this is going to be a real treat for these folks who haven't seen him before because they're Republicans.

But I do think it makes it impossible for them to make the flip- flop argument, particularly when this week President Bush has both said we cannot win the war on terrorism and we can win the war on terrorism.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST CROSSFIRE: No, but wait, the flip-flop argument only works when you don't explain why you flip-flopped. I mean that's sort of the problem with John Kerry, I think, because he hasn't explained why his views on, say the war, have changed, whereas Zell Miller wrote an entire book about why his views have changed. He tells you why. And that's totally legitimate.

BEGALA: The point of the flip-flop attack is the allegation: you're unprincipled. And that's the attack against Kerry.

Now Kerry, for example, voted for the $87 billion when it was paid for and it didn't increase the deficit. When President Bush threatened to veto that bill, Kerry said, "Well no, I'm not going to vote for it the way that it the increases the deficit when we could pay for it easily." So they make that a flip-flop.

I don't think so. I think that's actually a consistent stance.

COOPER: All right.

Tucker, one of the things they're going to be highlighting tonight is the economy. Is this a winning issue for Republicans? I mean, the Democrats say economy's not doing so well. They cite some poverty numbers, jobless numbers. Why are the Republicans making this the issue for tonight?

CARLSON: I'm not sure it is. I think it's one of a number of issues tonight.

I think you make a pretty decent argument that the economy's better than advertised. But I don't think this election is about the economy. You often hear smart people say people vote their pocketbooks. Yes, they have historically. In this election they're voting on national security. I mean, there's just in Iraq. And the two are linked together, at least in the public mind. And I don't think there's any way around it.

That's what this election is about, period. The economy may move some votes, but ultimately it's going to be won or lost on who's going to keep you safer. No question.

COOPER: Paul?

BEGALA: Big question, because the truth is, if you live in Dayton, Ohio, you're not going to attacked by the terrorists. Those of us who live in Washington saw the attack; if you all, who live in New York, Anderson, you saw the attack and it was horrific. And we suffered mightily. But at the end of the day, some guy in Dayton, Ohio, he needs a job.

And the Republicans don't have a very good argument to make and their problem is, when they give us this happy horse manure about how things are so great, they lose credibility with the very voters who they most need to reach: that is, people who are in trouble economically.

COOPER: We'll see what the message is tonight. Paul Begala, Tucker Carlson, thanks.

CARLSON: Thanks.

BEGALA: Thanks Anderson.

COOPER: "360" next: a courtroom surprise. The criminal case against Kobe Bryant dropped. We'll bring you the latest in a live report.

All the latest on the Kobe Bryant case, plus the Bush twins at the podium. How do they stack up against the Kerry sisters? We take you inside the box.

And some political humor, some jokesters weigh in on the Republican convention. Andy Borowitz, among others. Stay with us.

Lewis Black, among others.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back to "360." Madison Square Garden in New York: Vice President Dick Cheney will speak tonight here at the Republican convention. Let me repeat that. This is the Republican convention, yet also tonight Georgia's Democratic Senator, Zell Miller, will deliver the keynote address.

We're going to have more on the convention, though.

We want to get you caught up now on the latest breaking news from the Kobe Bryant case. The criminal case against him appears to be over. CNN's Chris Lawrence is live in Eagle, Colorado with the latest -- Chris.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, in the past few minutes we've seen the entire defense team, Kobe Bryant's entire defense team, go back into the courthouse. Also on hand, we've seen the accuser's parents go into the courtroom. And we know the prosecution and her civil attorneys are also here.

So, all the players seem to be here. They have all gone back into the courtroom. If you take a look now, there's also a very empty hall because earlier, just about five minutes ago, the court cleared all the media out of the hallway because of security concerns. They were going to do a security sweep; as you can see again, the accuser's parents walking in with her civil attorneys, walking back into the courthouse.

Kobe Bryant's criminal defense team already has gone back into that courtroom and the prosecutors have as well. With the security sweep, and the fact that people are going back into the courtroom, we can speculate that perhaps there may be some sort of hearing in court before the prosecutor comes out to speak.

We had hoped to hear from D.A. Mark Hurlburg about 30 minutes ago. That has been postponed. He had said he will speak after whatever hearing is supposed to take place takes place.

COOPER: All right. I want to bring in CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin now.

Jeff, what do you make of this? Not only this hearing now, but of the fact that the case is being dropped?

TOOBIN: Well, just to state the obvious, this is a complete and total victory for Kobe Bryant and his lawyers. It is as if the criminal case were never brought.

He does still face this civil lawsuit which was filed by the accuser. But that is a much...

COOPER: What kind of damage is done to the civil case, though?

TOOBIN: Absolutely enormous damage. Because all the problems that came out in the criminal case will in fact be the civil case as well. True, the accuser does have the benefit of a lower standard of proof, preponderance of the evidence in a civil case, whereas in a criminal case you would have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. But all those problems in the criminal case transfer over to the civil case.

What I expect that she and her lawyers are banking on is that Kobe Bryant, who after all just signed $120 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, might give her a few million dollars just to go away, to get rid of the nuisance factor. But the civil lawsuit is in the first place, much less of a risk than a criminal case, because after all, you can't go to jail in a civil lawsuit.

But it also is just hurt by the same problems that the criminal case was hurt by.

COOPER: Now, the prosecution has agreed to have the charges dropped with prejudice, which means basically, they can't refile the case later. Why would they agree to that?

TOOBIN: Well, because they simply had no choice. Kobe Bryant's lawyers undoubtedly would not agree to a dismissal without prejudice because what does that get them, after all, just to have this case hanging over them? A dismissal with prejudice means the case can never be brought again.

The Constitution's protection against double jeopardy would apply. At this point in the process, a dismissal without prejudice, that is, a dismissal that allowed the prosecutor to go forward, would be almost impossible to do anyway. So, it was really an all-or- nothing proposition and the prosecutors come away with nothing.

COOPER: How does this happen? How does a case which is so high profile, which involves so many people, so many people's lives, so much money at stake for so many people and reputations and lives at stake, how can it get this far and then suddenly disappear?

TOOBIN: Anderson, that's why you get big bucks, because you ask the good questions. Because I don't really know.

This is a fiasco. It's a disaster. I think you to look at incompetence on the part of the prosecutors and extraordinary skill and resources on the part of the defense. They went out and reinvestigated this case. And they found evidence that the prosecutors should have found, but didn't find.

They also were the beneficiary of some good luck because some documents were mistakenly posted on the Internet by the court, which alienated the accuser from the prosecution team. But don't let this thing be turned into, "Oh, blame the court, blame the court's problems"; this was not the court's problems. This was the prosecutor's problems.

So, how did this happen? I have no idea. It shouldn't have happened.

COOPER: Now, Chris -- Chris Lawrence out there in Eagle, Colorado -- is Kobe Bryant in the courthouse now?

LAWRENCE: We haven't seen him, but what we did see, was we saw his security guard who has been with him every day throughout this, posted outside the courthouse, literally just five minutes ago. So, we believe that if the security guard was here, we can speculate to some point that Kobe Bryant might still be here.

COOPER: And we are looking now -- this is the prosecutor, yes?

LAWRENCE: Yes. This is the hallway leading into the courthouse. We've already seen the defense go in. We've seen the young woman who had accused Kobe Bryant of rape. We saw her parents walk in. And now this is District Attorney Mark Hurlburg and his prosecution team coming in.

Again it was the D.A. who had called the press conference for about 45 minutes ago to announce some developments in the case. That has obviously been pushed back because of some hearing that is about to take place inside the courtroom.

COOPER: Well, again, we are standing by, as you had reported before we had anticipated a press conference any moment, that was with D.A. Mark Hurlburg from Eagle County. Obviously that is not happening as he has just gone into this hearing. We continue to wait. As soon as he comes out, we anticipate some sort of a press conference.

We will bring that to you live whenever it does happen.

Coming up next on "360": more on the Republican Convention; the dueling daughters: the Bush twins versus the Kerry sisters. We'll take you inside the box for that.

Plus, Convention comedy comedian Lewis Black from "The Daily Show" and humorist Andy Borowitz, getting plenty of new material. I'll talk with them coming up next.

Hey! And there's Wolf Blitzer. Keep it locked on CNN for live coverage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: You're looking at a live picture of Kennedy Airport, Air Force One; the President's plane has touched down here in New York. He arrives, of course. He will appear by video monitor at the Convention tonight. Of course, Dick Cheney is the featured speaker tonight, proceeding his nomination for vice president. President Bush speaking tomorrow.

But President Bush has now arrived in New York. His plane taxiing on the runway at Kennedy Airport.

It may not seem so, but George W. Bush and John Kerry do have something in common: they each have two daughters who stepped into front and center into the spotlight of their respective party's convention. Last night, the Bush twins took the stage, last month it was the Kerry sisters' turn, inviting the inevitable comparisons "Inside the Box."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT BUSH: You know all those times when you're growing up and your parents embarrassed you? Well, this is payback time on live TV.

COOPER: It was a coming-out party of sorts, for the sisters Bush: Barbara and Jenna, center stage at the Republican Party's big party. Just a month ago, Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry did their time in the spotlight at the Democrats big do. Two sets of sisters, stumping for their dads; two very different styles.

Vanessa Kerry talked about her grandmother.

VANESSA KERRY, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE JOHN KERRY: And I noticed the gleam in my grandmother's eye as her son brought her a little bit of Autumn to her bedside.

COOPER: The Bush twins also talked about their grandmother.

J. BUSH: Grammy, we love you dearly, but you're just not very hip.

COOPER: Alexandra Kerry told the tale of a family pet.

ALEXANDRA KERRY, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE JOHN KERRY: But my dad jumped in, hunched over the soggy hamster and began to administer CPR.

COOPER: So did the Bush twins.

BARBARA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT BUSH: We had a hamster, too. Let's just say ours didn't make it.

COOPER: Of course, both convention crowds were primed and ready to love the candidates' kids. But sometimes, it seemed, the giggling Bushes amused themselves perhaps more than the audience. And sometimes what they found funny, seemed to leave some in the crowd confused.

B. BUSH: Besides, since we've graduated from college, we're looking around for something to do for the next few years, kind of like dad.

COOPER: Reaction to the twins' talk was swift and not often kind.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Whoever wrote that speech is going to be getting out the vote in Kodiak, Alaska.

COOPER: There's no doubt family matters in a political campaign. But placing kids in the public eye can turn them into targets of ridicule "Inside the Box."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's a tough crowd. President Bush's dog Barney even has a starring role here at the Convention. The Scottish terrier has starred in three films and tonight he debuts in a fourth one. It is playing right now on the big screen. Here's a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCENE FROM "MOVIE," "BARNEYCAM III"

ANDY CARD, COMEDIAN: Hey Karl, what's up?

KARL ROVE, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: Well, I need to talk to you for a couple of minutes, a couple of issues, if you got time. CARD: Yes, go ahead. Go ahead.

ROVE: First of all, the numbers are up in all areas, everything is looking good.

CARD: That's good, I like that.

ROVE: But the only thing we're concerned about is the canine vote.

CARD: The canine vote? You mean like dogs? Dogs can't vote!

ROVE: Well, but why take a chance?

CARD: Well, I mean, what are we going to do about it?

ROVE: Well, we need to go to Michigan and Ohio and Iowa and Minnesota and West Virginia and Texas and Oklahoma and Oregon and Washington and Maine and Maryland and Virginia and Florida and Alabama and Mississippi and ahh!

CARD: What's the solution, though?

ROVE AND CARD: Barney!

ASHLEY, UNIDENTIFIED SECRETARY: Hello?

CARD: Hey, Ashley this is Andy Card.

ASHLEY: Yes, sir.

CARD: I need to talk to Barney.

ASHLEY: Sorry, sir, he's very busy now. He asked that I hold all his calls. He doesn't want to be disturbed.

CARD: I've got to talk to him. I know, tell him I've got this month's supply of Snausages and it just came in.

ASHLEY: In that case, hold on one second. Let me get him on speakerphone.

CARD: OK, thanks.

Hey Barney, Andy Card.

(BARKING)

CARD: I know you're busy.

Yes, Barney, you've got to come help. We need you right now. ASAP. I've got the Snausages. They're in. The supply is in.

I need you right now. Hurry over. Come on.

I'll see you in a couple of minutes. Bye. ROVE: Way to go, Chief. Way to go.

CARD: Now we got to get Barney to do this thing.

Hey Barney, thanks for coming over so quick. I really need you. We really need you to help.

Barney, the campaign trail, we want to put you on the campaign trail. We want you to go state-by-state, house-to-house; we need every vote we can get and you're the one that can do it.

ROVE: Get a good night's sleep and remember, Barney, let's win, let's win, let's win...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to a historical first. Tonight, the first-ever presidential candidates' dog debate. To my right, Barney Bush, to my left, Fifi Kerry.

First question: what is your plan on the economy, Fifi?

FIFI KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DOG (through translator): Raise taxes on everyone.

SPOKESMAN: Barney? Same question for you.

BARNEY BUSH, GEORGE BUSH'S DOG (through translator): Make the tax cuts permanent.

(ALARM SOUNDING)

UNIDENTIFIED AID TO BARNEY: Barney, it's a rough world out there. You need raw meat; real protein. Like in "Rocky." You know, "Rocky," you got to be ready, Barney. Doghouse to doghouse, every one.

Most important instructions are: stay on message, stay on message and smile a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Cute or surreal? You be the judge.

"The Daily Show" Commentator Lewis Black joins me now and CNN contributor and humorist Andy Borowitz. Gentlemen, thanks.

You're incredulous, Lewis.

LEWIS BLACK, "THE DAILY SHOW" COMMENTATOR: It's the, "Why do I even begin to write anything vaguely satiric anymore?"

COOPER: Why? Because everybody's a comedian?

BLACK: Well, that's unbelievable! You can't even satirize that, can you?

ANDY BOROWITZ, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Lewis, what they didn't say about that film, is that was actually produced by the swift boat Veterans for Truth. They want to show they have a sense of humor. They can loosen up a little bit.

COOPER: Let's talk about the Bush twins. What did you make of their speech?

BOROWITZ: I didn't think they were very funny until I saw that Barney film. Now I think they're comic geniuses. I really do. They're right up there with Chaplin and the Marx Brothers.

COOPER: Were you surprised?

BLACK: You don't put them on. I think, when did they start, when did it become necessary for me to meet the family? You know that? I don't need to.

COOPER: You don't want to meet them?

BLACK: I don't care. I have no interest in them. It's like becoming like reality shows. Who's got the better family? And what are they going to do, make a revelation?

What, they're going to say, "Oh, yeah, well, dad was abusive."? Is there going to be a breakdown?

BOROWITZ: You know, I was sort of critical of their performance. But I've got to say give them some credit. Anytime the Bush twins appear in public not falling down, I think that's a win for them.

COOPER: Man! Wow!

We're going to need security to get out of here.

BOROWITZ: It's a tough road.

BLACK: If they want to speak to the people that are here, fine. Don't bother us.

COOPER: You were very critical of the location of the Democratic Convention. What do you think about the location here?

BLACK: Oh, this is great, isn't it? Why don't you put it right in the nerve center. If you could have picked a spot where the security would be the most difficult, these idiots have found it. They could have done it in the Meadowlands. Hello!

And still had their photo-ops.

BOROWITZ: Although, they, you know, they've kept the protesters out of the Garden. The protesters are pretty pissed about that. But if the protesters knew that they were missing that Barney film, I think they'd be pretty happy.

COOPER: Now, did you like Arnold Schwarzenegger's speech?

BOROWITZ: I thought it was great. He had such a great concept: which is, he's now going to reclassify the unemployed as "girlie men." Which I think it's such a good idea, that will bring the unemployment rate down. It may however, raise the "girlie men" rate. I think that's a chance.

COOPER: Have you been paying attention to the protesters?

BLACK: Oh! I would just say the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of California and is speaking to us from the Republican Convention and that we're not on acid is beyond belief to me.

COOPER: What, it was like a flashback to you?

BLACK: It was beyond a flashback. I don't understand why anybody would do drugs anymore.

COOPER: Life is more surreal.

BLACK: It's hallucinatory. I was having worse hallucinations watching him than I ever had on the drugs.

COOPER: What are going to hear from President Bush? What do you anticipating hearing?

BOROWITZ: Well, he was talking before that he said that we could win the war on terrorism and then he said we couldn't win the war on terrorism. I think he's probably going to say the war on terrorism will end in a tie. I think that's what he's going to say, he's going to take the middle ground.

COOPER: We're going to leave it there.

Andy Borowitz, great to see you. Lewis Black, love to have you.

BLACK: My pleasure. Thank you.

BOROWITZ: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, taking the Garden to the "Nth degree."

It's a bit of a tough ticket this week getting into the Convention; not that many in the city would be outside standing, yelling, "Who's got two?"

The Garden crowds are used to heavyweight struggles, and we're not talking politics here. There was Frazier-Ali, 15 rounds known as "The Fight of the Century." There was Willis Reid hobbling onto the court, onto the court for game seven of the NBA Finals, bad knee and all, to win the title for the Knicks.

Gretzky's played here, Magic and Michael and Kareem and Kobe, to name just a few; not to mention non-sports draws like Hendrix, Springsteen, Madonna and Sinatra. Hey, even the Pope has played the Garden.

So, forgive the jaded New Yorkers who've decided to flee, rather than try to score a couple of seats here. They've seen some pretty good shows already.

Coming up next, our coverage of the Republican National Convention continues.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's it for "360" tonight. Thanks for watching.

CNN's live coverage of the Republican National Convention continues now with CNN's Jeff Greenfield, Judy Woodruff and Wolf Blitzer.

Wolf?

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