Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Immigration Reform Dead in Senate; Hillary Revealed; Suspected Killer Caught; Faith and Politics; Will They Be Killed?

Aired June 7, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it was, Anderson, just a few weeks ago when Senators struck this bipartisan deal they hoped would end years of partisanship over this particular emotional issue, the issue of how to secure the border and also what to do about millions of illegal immigrants in the United States.
But tonight it is a stunning casualty and an emotional political divide.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion is not agreed to.

BASH (voice-over): With that the grand compromise collapsed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going try to put aside the hurt feelings we have.

BASH: All day long, as the immigration bill teetered on the verge of ruin, its architects pleaded for its survival.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a jungle on that border. A jungle on that border. And everyday we have -- we continue without this legislation, we have these well trained, well disciplined border guards out there chasing people across the desert that are landscapers. They ought to be out there looking for the terrorists, the smugglers, the law breakers.

BASH: Across the aisle, a Republican veteran warned if immigration went down, the Senate's credibility would go with it.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MINORITY WHIP: Do we have the courage, tenacity and the ability to get anything done anymore? If we can't do this, we ought to vote to dissolve the Congress and go home and wait for the next election.

BASH: But in the end, the bipartisan support gave way to bipartisan opposition and brinksmanship. Senate Democratic leaders wanted a final immigration vote by week's end. To make that happen, they tried to limit debate, saying two weeks is enough. Not fair, said Republicans, who argued Senators need more opportunities to change the controversial bill.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: This is no small matter. It's a big issue, a big problem. And it requires broad bipartisan cooperation to bring a bill like this to conclusion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: There's obviously disappointment among some on Capitol Hill, Dana, but for the president, this a big setback.

BASH (on camera): It's a big blow to the president. You're absolutely right, Anderson. Since day one he was in office, the president had wanted to get immigration reform through. He wanted that as a top domestic agenda item. And now this has probably robbed him of getting this while he is in office.

And it was interesting, Anderson, throughout the day, Democrats were really egging him on, saying if you really want this, you need to come to Capitol Hill, twist some Republican arms. But the hard cold fact is he just doesn't have that kind of influence with his fellow Republicans here anymore, especially on this issue where many conservatives are so vocally against this because they say bottom line is it is amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants.

COOPER: No doubt, it's going to have an impact on the campaign trail as well. We'll talk about that later.

Dana, thanks very much.

(END BREAKING NEWS)

COOPER: Now tonight, a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. That's how Winston Churchill once described the Soviet Union and how even people who know her well describe Hillary Clinton.

That's like catnip to a writer. And tonight, two new biographies are making headlines for what they reveal and they try to but don't.

In a moment, the author of one of them, Carl Bernstein, who has tackled mysteries as dark and deep as Watergate, but nothing perhaps like this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): She's called herself the most famous woman that nobody knows. But with dozens of books written about her already and two more out this month, it's hard to believe there's anything we don't know about Hillary Rodham Clinton.

JOE KLEIN, POLITICAL CONSULTANT, "TIME" MAGAZINE: I think there's some interesting, juicy details here that essentially flesh out old news.

COOPER: Among those juicy details, Carl Bernstein writes in his book, "A Woman in Charge," that in the late '80s Bill Clinton wanted to divorce Hillary for a corporate executive named Marilyn Jo Jenkins (ph), but that Hillary refused.

The former "Washington Post" reporter of Watergate fame also reports that Hillary's father was "a sour, unfulfilled man whose children suffered his relentless, demeaning sarcasm." Hardly the picket fence picture that Hillary has painted of her childhood.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I grew up in a middle class family in the middle of America in the middle of the last century.

COOPER: "Her Way" by Jeff Girth and Don Van Natta also offers up revelations that during her husband's 1992 campaign, Hillary vowed to undermine her husband's alleged mistress, Jennifer Flowers "until she was destroyed." Also, that early in their relationship, the Clintons secretly crafted a 20-year project to get them to the White House, a claim that has since been disputed.

For the new ground covered in these books, there are also miles of familiar territory. Both paint Hillary as an enigma, camouflaged, controlling, committed to public service, ambitious to a flaw.

CLINTON: God bless America!

COOPER: And both revisit all the Clinton foibles from Whitewater, to Lewinsky, to the national health care plan derailment.

The Clinton campaign has dismissed the books as a rehash for cash, but they could also pay off for political opponents.

KLEIN: If I'm working for one of the other campaigns and these books come out, I'm pretty happy because they remind people in a general way of the circuses we had in the 1990s. But I don't know that there's anything specific in these books that you can actually use to target her with in a campaign.

COOPER: If you're looking for more vitriol, there's plenty out there. In her book "Extreme Makeover," Republican Strategist Bay Buchanan accuses Hillary of being a '60s radical trying to disguise her liberal record.

On the end of the spectrum, "The Case for Hillary Clinton," by Susan Estrich, glorifies her as does, not surprisingly, Hillary's autobiography, "Living History."

So will all this ink really make any difference in the campaign?

KLEIN: I don't think that this is how Hillary's fate is going to be decided. I think it's going to be decided on whether she has the positions they like on the issues. These books are a sideshow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, now Carl Bernstein, co-author of "All the President's Men" and writer of the new bestseller, "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton." I spoke to Mr. Bernstein earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot of the supporters of Hillary Clinton will say, you know, for someone who's been in public life so long, she's still not really known. Is that what you found?

CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR, "A WOMAN IN CHARGE": Absolutely. She's the most famous woman in the world, and nobody really knows very much about her.

COOPER: How is that possible?

BERNSTEIN: Because she wanted it that way.

COOPER: Why?

BERNSTEIN: Because she's camouflaged. She likes to control things. She has a self-perception that is quite different than those of others around her, except perhaps some acolytes. And even there, the perception is usually quite different.

COOPER: What surprised you most then?

BERNSTEIN: How unknown the real Hillary really is and how nuanced and complex and contradictory within herself she is.

And also straight off the bat, I sat down with one of her closest friends who'd said the key to understanding her is her Methodism. And it was the first thing that I went to look at, and of course, it turns out to be absolutely essential to her character.

COOPER: Why is that key?

BERNSTEIN: Because she comes from a family that is conventionally religious. And when she was in the tenth grade, a youth minister came to her church, who was a follower of the great 20th century, early 20th century theologians who believed in a social gospel, very much like John Wesley himself had enunciated, do all the good you can in all the places you can at all the times you can. He brought in Bob Dylan records. He brought in Picasso pictures of Guernica, about the Spanish civil war. He took her to hear Martin Luther King, and showed her a social gospel that married to her old faith, that moved her from her Goldwater roots into the idea of social activism that was religiously based.

COOPER: It's not something traditionally she has talked about...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: This is the one time, however disingenuous she can be, which is awfully disingenuous. Look at her on the war. This is genuine and it's real.

Now, there are those, such as people I have quoted in the book, including one of his principal -- one of Bill's principal deputies, who says she uses her religion to justify her own actions as if leading the unwashed to the promised land that there's a self- righteousness about it.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: And as long she feels -- you write, that as long as she feels she's going for the greater good.

BERNSTEIN: Well, absolutely. The ends justify the means. I'm not sure that's always the case. I think it's probably a mixed bag in there, but her religiosity is the absolute fundament of understanding her. And I was so grateful to this person who told me this at the beginning because it enabled me to then follow people who knew her and to bring this up.

And once they saw that I understood that about her, they were more willing to talk to me. Because it seemed to them that I was willing to be open in the way reporters sometimes weren't, open minded.

COOPER: The other thing you focus a lot on, of course, is the marriage. And it has sparked endless speculation for years and years and years.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

COOPER: In the book, you write, "It took Hillary more than two years to make up her mind to marry Bill. She had serious doubts not only about his womanizing, but about living in Arkansas, about the intensity with which he pursued his passions." In 1989, he...

BERNSTEIN: Including his passion for her.

COOPER: And in 1989, he actually, you write, wanted a divorce.

BERNSTEIN: Yes. He had -- he had a kind of breakdown in 1989. And he wanted to run for president in '88.

His Chief of Staff Betsy Wright, who was one of the people who talked to me at great length, had called him to a meeting as he was about to announce for the presidency in '88 and says, look, before you go ahead with this, you have to tell me who all the women are that you've seen. Because if this is going to ruin your life and Hillary's life and Chelsea's life, you can't do this.

So he laid it out for her. She brought another person to the meeting, she told me to be a witness, because she knew that Bill was liable to deny that the meeting ever took place. And he decided not to run in '88.

But thereafter, he went into such a funk or depression that he thought his life was over. And in the course of that -- and he was very, you know, inattentive to his job as governor. And in the course of that, he fell in love with a woman named Marilyn Jenkins, decided that he -- this is according to Betsy Wright, to me and others -- decided he wanted to leave the marriage.

And as Betsy Wright told me, Hillary would not give her a pass, is what Bill and Hillary told Betsy Wright.

COOPER: Would not give him a pass, would not grant him a divorce?

BERNSTEIN: Would not give him a pass out of the marriage.

COOPER: Why? What is it -- what is it that kept her in then, kept her in through all the bad times?

BERNSTEIN: I think, first of all, this is a love affair. I think, you know, we don't know what goes on between two people when just the two of them are there. And even Betsy Wright doesn't know what goes on. She's closer than anybody else to that situation, but when the two of them -- he decided that he wanted to repair ultimately his marriage with Hillary. Betsy Wright says that there was some kind of an agreement that he would perhaps get counseling, that he would work on the marriage, that he would become monogamous and it didn't quite out work, but as we know, but there's another aspect to this.

They had a grand dream. And not a cynical one. But they both believe in public service. And she recognized very early that his sexual compulsions were ruinous. And here he was the most talented...

COOPER: She saw that early on?

BERNSTEIN: Very early.

And she sought to keep them hidden and covered up. And there's aspects of the book that deal with that. Why? Because he would not be politically viable if his sexual compulsions became known.

COOPER: And early on, she identified him as one of the great political actors of our time?

BERNSTEIN: Well, that did not take -- you know, it don't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. And there were a lot of people that recognized that. But she recognized it, but she's one of the few who recognized very early on. She attributed it to his childhood, to this lack of not having a father, that these sexual compulsions, he couldn't be politically viable if they were allowed to manifest.

COOPER: There are some fascinating passages about the impact that she has had on his political career. You write, "Bill, as he was falling in love with Hillary, perceived that she possessed the one necessary quality that was not native to his soul: a kind of toughness, the significance and nature of which would be endlessly debated by the Clintons' friends, advocates and adversaries. Without it, he could never have gotten to the presidency."

What is that toughness? And is that something that is -- that voters like or is that part of the problem with her?

BERNSTEIN: Both. Both. She is a real warrior. And she goes on the offensive probably too fast sometimes. And Bill Clinton is someone who is very slow to decide that somebody is out to get him.

She reads -- there's a paragraph in the book when you read it about how she reads the landscape with a kind of military rigor and sees the dangers ahead and deals with it. And that's really, you know, she is someone who is -- since she's young, has been at war with others and at war within herself to some extent. She's not somebody who is known to be comfortable with herself.

COOPER: Is she a leader? I mean, that's the criticism. People say, look, she's ultimately, in her career, has been a follower and has sort of waited to see which way the wind blowed.

BERNSTEIN: I don't think that that's true. I think that she is somebody who has been a person in her past of great advocacy and has stated her views very clearly through her life, beginning with her famous commencement speech at Yale, then a League of Women Voters convention where she went after the pro-war, Vietnam War faction of both the Democratic and Republican parties, spoke out against the war. Health care, where she said to people as prominent as Senator Bill Bradley and Pat Moynihan at a meeting of Senate Democrats, anybody that gets in -- in the way of this health care train, I'm going to demonize.

COOPER: The book is "A Woman in Charge."

Carl Bernstein, appreciate you being on the program. Thanks.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: While the books are being written, Senator Clinton's war chest is growing. Here's the raw data.

As of tonight, the presidential candidate has amassed more than $36 million for her campaign. Barack Obama is at a distant second with just over $25 million. For the Republicans, Mitt Romney raised $21 million, followed by Rudy Giuliani with $18 million.

Still to come tonight, not money and politics, but God.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): Faith and politics. From the right...

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jesus Christ is my savior.

COOPER: And the left.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a deep and abiding love for my Lord, Jesus Christ.

COOPER: Spreading the gospel on the campaign trail. But will it turn into votes?

Also, a suspect arrested for the kidnapping and murder of a Kansas teen. He's a husband and a father. Tonight on 360, why police say they've got their man. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER (on camera): Tonight, Kelsey Smith's alleged killer is in jail. Saturday evening, with the camera watching, someone shoved the 18-year-old into her own car in a parking lot outside Kansas City. The body, apparently hers, discovered just yesterday.

A vigil held tonight, the sadness in Overland Park, Kansas, plain to see. But today, at least people there woke up to news about a suspect and later, the charges against him.

More on who he is from CNN's Ed Lavandera.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Around this Kansas City neighborhood, Edwin Hall is known as Jack. He moved here with his wife and young son a few months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He didn't really speak to anyone or say anything to anyone. And we didn't know him well or anything.

LAVANDERA: And someone going by the name Jack on this MySpace Web page looks just like Edwin Hall. This is the Web site photo. This is the Edwin Hall's mug shot. This Jack lives in Kansas City, just like Edwin Hall. And both have a wife with the same name.

If this is Edwin Hall's MySpace page, it paints a disturbing picture of the 26-year-old man accused of kidnapping and killing a teenage girl.

He calls himself a sweet, troubled soul, who likes eating small children and harming small animals. His heroes are Batman and his dad, even though he calls him "the bastard." And one of his favorite movies is "Strangeland"...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STRANGELAND")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Where's my daughter, Hendricks?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: ... a 1990s horror movie about a schizophrenic killer who lures teenage girls over the Internet and tortures the daughter of a police detective. Kelsey Smith's father has had a long career in law enforcement.

Investigators say Edwin Hall kidnapped Kelsey Smith from this Target store Saturday night. Police say this surveillance tape shows Hall's pickup truck entering the parking lot soon after Smith arrived. The video then shows Smith being forced into her own car.

On Wednesday, Smith's body was found in the woods. But, at this point, it's not clear if Edwin Hall even knew Kelsey Smith. Those closest to the teenage victim are wondering why she was targeted.

JOHN BIERSMITH, KELSEY'S BOYFRIEND: When did you first see her? Was it just random? What was going through your mind?

LAVANDERA: Cameron Migues lives next door to Hall. His call to police led to Smith's arrest.

CAMERON MIGUES, NEIGHBOR OF SUSPECT: I saw the picture, she goes, and it looks just like our neighbor. And we both just kind of laughed it off at first. And then when I saw the picture of the truck...

LAVANDERA: Until that moment, Migues says, Edwin Hall was just a friendly, normal guy.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, still to come, faith on the campaign trail. A lot of candidates talking about God these days. Is it genuine testimony or preaching to the polls? We'll take a closer look.

Plus, Americans held hostage for more than four years. But tonight time may be running out. The story and never before seen footage of what really happened the day they went missing, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The debates in New Hampshire made clear which issues divide Democrats and Republicans and there are certainly quite a few of them. But the debates also revealed some surprising common ground -- sacred ground, in fact.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a deep and abiding love for my Lord, Jesus Christ.

COOPER (voice-over): It's starting to feel more like a camp revival than a campaign these days.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Jesus Christ is my savior.

JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The hand of God was in what we are today.

BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am my brother's keeper. I am my sister's keeper.

COOPER: Candidates for president on a mission to prove themselves pious.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have great gifts in this country that come to us from God.

COOPER: President Bush was mentioned just seven times in last night's Republican debate. God got three times more play with a whopping 21 mentions and we're not even counting God bless yous.

MICHAEL CROMARTIE, ETHICS AND PUBLIC POLICY CENTER: All the candidates have read the same polling data that most political scientists have read, which shows very clearly that Americans, for whatever reason, want their president to be a person of faith.

COOPER: Candidates aren't holding back. Reporters are digging in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it the story of creation as it is reported in the Bible?

COOPER: Evolution has been a topic in two debates this year.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president. I'm not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth grade science book.

COOPER: This, coming from former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister.

HUCKABEE: I'll tell what you I can tell this country. If they want a president who doesn't believe in God, there's probably plenty of choices.

COOPER: Not really, not since George W. Bush tapped into a gold mine of evangelical votes. The president talks the talk.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you turn your heart and your life over to Christ, when you accept Christ as your savior, He changes your heart and changes your life.

COOPER: Republicans want to keep Bush's base of religious voters, but now Democrats want a piece too.

CROMARTIE: They want to pull away, you know, even several percentage points of religious people who up to now have voted Republican. Remember, just a few percentage points in any number of states can change an election.

COOPER: Hillary Clinton has hired a consultant to handle faith outreach. And Barack Obama and John Edwards launched faith web pages in the past week.

Monday, Clinton and Edwards revealed how religion saw them through their darkest hours.

A son's death.

EDWARDS: I can tell you it is prayer that played a huge role in my survival. COOPER: A husband's infidelity.

CLINTON: I am very grateful that I had a grounding in faith that gave me the courage and the strength to do what I thought was right regardless of what the world thought.

COOPER: Still some believe all this talk of God could backfire.

CROMARTIE: If they're faking it, if they're -- if it's contrived, if it's something they're using only to score political points, the American people will see through it and they will reject it.

COOPER: Amen to that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): Earlier I discussed faith and politics with Jennifer Donahue of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Jennifer, in recent elections, Republicans have claimed a monopoly on God and values, at least in talking about it. How are Democrats now trying to convince voters that faith is just as important to them?

JENNIFER DONAHUE, NEW HAMPSHIRE INSTITUTE OF POLITICS: Well, you certainly saw the other night on CNN, Hillary Clinton, for the first time talking openly about her faith.

Senator Edwards has already talked openly about his faith.

Senator Obama, perhaps a little less comfortable talking about it, clearly recognizing it has to be discussed. It has to be on the table for every candidate in this field because voters are saying they want to hear it.

COOPER: Do they discuss it, Republicans and Democrats, in a different way? Do they approach the faith and discussion of faith differently?

DONAHUE: I think they do and I think historically that's pretty well backed up. I mean, you saw four years ago, Senator Kerry not even that comfortable talking about faith.

You saw Gore the same way, really, obviously uncomfortable talking about faith.

Bradley, actually, his opponent, said I won't talk about it. I just won't.

And I think what happened up here, if you watched voters, is that just wasn't good enough. They want to know what you think. They want to know what your values are, what your principles are, what guides you. They're not judging what religion someone is, they're judging whether that person has sort of a moral barometer, something that leads them, a higher purpose that they aspire to that guides them in their decision making.

COOPER: There's been a lot of talk about Romney's faith, of course, as a Mormon. He made the comment last night that kind of stood out to a lot of people. Let's just play that for our viewers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Well, President Kennedy, some time ago, said he was not a Catholic running for president, he was an American running for president. And I'm happy to be a proud member of my faith. You know, I think it's a fair question for people to ask, what do you believe. And I think as you want to understand what I believe, you can recognize that the values that I have are the same values you'll find in faiths across this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Can he overcome those people who are skeptical or don't know about his faith or don't like his faith for whatever reason, can he overcome that?

DONAHUE: I think he can overcome that. I think actually, and this is ironic, but his Mormonism is such a strong part of him and he talks about it so openly, it may help him reach Christian voters, evangelical voters, religious, Jewish voters because he is someone who talks about his faith, feels it very strongly.

And if you talk to people who hold strong faith, they are looking for other people who hold strong faith. There is not really a pecking order as to what faith.

COOPER: Jennifer Donahue, appreciate your comments. Thanks.

DONAHUE: My pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, be sure to catch CNN tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern. Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama share their views on faith and politics. CNN's Soledad O'Brien hosts this special forum. It's at 8 p.m. tomorrow night.

Still ahead, our planet in peril. Temperatures rising to deadly levels. What can be done about it? The president says he has a plan. We'll take a look.

Plus, Americans held hostage by fierce rebels. New developments tonight that could put their lives in even more danger. 360 next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Those three Americans have been hostages for more than four years now. Currently the longest held American hostages in the world. They're being held by Colombia's largest rebel force, a leftist group that has been battling the Columbian government for more than four decades now.

Tonight, the men are closer than they've ever been to seeing their families again. Their freedom could come in a prisoner swap.

The last few weeks have brought incredible developments, but also new reasons for their families to worry.

Here's CNN's Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Spring 2003, Colombia. A small plane flies low over rebel-held territory on an anti-drug surveillance mission. Four Americans are on board. Private contractors working for the U.S. government's drug eradication program. The plane goes down in the worst possible place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We have lost engines. We are north at 020394.

JOHNS: They are surrounded by gunmen, soldiers of the largest armed rebel force in the western hemisphere, a guerilla group that goes by the name FARC. FARC controls huge areas of the Colombian jungle, earning money from the cocaine trade, waging war against the Colombian government. Its members kidnap and kill. And the U.S. government has branded FARC a terrorist organization.

In this October 2003 video, one of the Americans describes what happened.

KEITH STANSELL, FARC HOSTAGE: Bags of the aircraft, I looked, and I heard gunshots, and the FARC were on the ground. They were shooting into the air.

JOHNS: The plane's pilot, an American and a Colombian intelligence officer are taken away and shot dead execution style.

This never before seen footage of the crash site, taken by a Columbian recovery team, shows the wreckage and the bodies.

The three surviving Americans, Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves are taken to a FARC camp. They have been held ever since.

More exclusive footage obtained by CNN, taken by the Colombian army after a failed attempt to rescue the hostages. By the time the army got there, the men had been spirited away, out of sight, all but forgotten for the next three years.

May 2007, an incredible development. A Colombian police officer, part of a group of 60 hostages that includes the Americans, escapes and tells his story. Pinchao says the Americans are alive, that he has seen them just weeks ago.

JHON PINCHAO, ESCAPED FARC HOSTAGE (through translator): I hope they make it back soon one way or another. I know that some day they will see the light of liberty.

JOHNS: This week, an even bigger break, Columbia's President Alvaro Uribe, who was elected on promises he'd destroy the FARC, releases 50 FARC fighters from Colombian jails and says he'll free over 100 more. It's what the FARC has wanted all along, a prisoner exchange, terrorists for hostages.

There's been no response from the FARC, but the families of the captured Americans are more hopeful than they've been in years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still have that bear.

JOHNS: 18-year-old Lauren Stansell and her 15-year-old brother, Kyle, have gone through their teenage years without their father, without knowing if he's dead or alive.

LAUREN STANSELL, DAUGHTER OF HOSTAGE: We definitely read everything we can and stay up to date. And we're very hopeful and we pray for the best, but we don't want to get our hopes too, too far up.

JOHNS: Why has it taken so long to get to this stage? The answer is in Washington and in the U.S. government's policy against negotiating with terrorists.

For years, the Bush administration has discouraged everyone from dealing with FARC. From Northrop Grumman, who the hostages worked for, to the Colombian government. However, that tough tone seems to be softening.

SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We're going to do everything that we can and we have been doing everything that we can that we think is effective in getting these three people back reunited with their families. Everybody wants to see that.

JOHNS: But there's a catch. In U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., Simon Trinidad, whose real name is Ricardo Palmera is on trial this week, charged with kidnapping for his alleged role in trying to bargain away the hostages.

He's a big prize for the U.S., proof of progress in the war on drugs and the global war on terror.

(on camera): Trinidad is the highest ranking FARC official in U.S. custody and FARC wants him back. The fear is that a jail sentence for Trinidad could be a death sentence for the hostages.

(voice-over): The hostage families question why the government is trying Trinidad now, while their loved ones are being held by his comrades.

The answer is in the indictment. The government charges Trinidad broke the law and he must be held to account. The message to the FARC -- hurt Americans and we'll come after you. For now, the families of the hostages can only hope that the Trinidad case won't mess up what appears to be a major diplomatic effort to recover the men. So they wait and watch precious video from years ago.

MARC GONSALVES, FARC HOSTAGE: I love you too and I want you to know that I am being strong.

TOM HOWES, FARC HOSTAGE: What I need is my family more than anything.

KEITH STANSELL, FARC HOSTAGE: When I feel like sometimes not going on, I think in my mind about my 11-year-old son and I'm sorry, Kyle, for missing your birthday, my 14-year-old daughter, Lauren.

L. STANSELL: It's going to be hard. He's missed a lot. And there's so much to catch up on, but initially, I just want to see him. I just want to hug him. I just want to hold him. I don't want to worry about catching up anything or telling him anything. I just want to hold my dad. I just want to be with him. I just want to be with him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Imagine what that's like, being held captive for four years?

Just ahead, how one man was able to help hundreds of people. Saving lives, doing something simple, something you can probably do. He's our CNN hero.

But first, it's hot out and only getting hotter. Our planet is in peril. Tonight, a new plan. 360, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, Greenland and its massive melting ice sheet may be a long way from Germany in miles, but the crisis it represents, global warming, was front and center today at the G8 summit. The summit host German Chancellor Angela Merkel put forward a plan supported by most European leaders. It would have set a firm goal and a timetable for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The key words, would have. President Bush dug in his heels when it came to the specifics.

With that, here's CNN's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a posh German resort on the shores of the Baltic Sea, no leaders from the G8 were hitting the beach, but President Bush still managed to draw a line in the sand.

BUSH: Nothing is going to happen in terms of substantial reductions unless China and India participate. MATTINGLY: When his G8 counterparts wanted all of the world's richest countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than half by 2050, the president said no to specific targets, no to a timetable and no to mandatory emission caps.

JIM CONNAUGHTON, DIRECTOR, W.H. OFFICE OF ENIVIR. POLICY: The United States can cap its emissions, along with Europe, but if the other major emitting countries aren't part of that equation, what that means is our energy intensive industries go overseas to these other countries, but you get an increase in greenhouse gases in those other countries.

MATTINGLY: The administration's plan for global warming, get all the world's biggest polluters together including China and India and let them decide how best and how much to cut back.

And instead of caps and penalties, rely on advances in technology to reduce emissions.

DAVID DONIGER, NATIONAL RESOURCE DEFENSE COUNCIL: Bush is increasingly out of touch, not only with Europeans, but with American states, American business leaders and leaders in the Congress who all realize that we are running out of time to start cutting the global warming pollution if we want to stave off a catastrophe.

MATTINGLY: A recent report from the U.N., written by scientists around the world, say the mercury isn't just rising, it is speeding up.

European leaders in the G8 believe rich nations that can afford to make cutbacks should do it now.

EDWARD ALDEN, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: They argue big countries like those in Europe and the United States should really take the lead and go first and not wait for China and India and all the developing countries to be fully on board.

MATTINGLY: And like a glacier in Greenland, over time the president's view does seem to have melted to some degree.

Compare Bush in 2000.

BUSH: But science, there's a lot of -- there's differing opinions and before we react, I think it's best to have the full accounting.

MATTINGLY: To Bush in 2006.

BUSH: I think we ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary to enable us to achieve a couple of big objectives.

MATTINGLY: Bush 2007 says the U.S. may even take a leadership role to map out a new global greenhouse agreement for when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, a treaty he pulled the U.S. out of when he first took office. David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And global warming can, of course, lead to wild weather. We don't know, of course, that it was the culprit in what you're about to see. But in any case this iReport video was sent in by Patty Brundedge (ph) of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. A brutal hail storm, very quick, but left its mark on the city. Large balls of hail. Check that out. We're talking about softball size hail. There it is. Here's a close-up photo of it sent in by viewer Cody Alt (ph). And hundreds of windows were knocked out of cars as well as homes.

From weather trouble to troubles with our own bodies, we want to get in shape, but the best way to did it is not always clear. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta will separate the facts from the fiction.

Plus, saving lives with a simple act. You won't believe just how far he goes to do it. Our CNN are hero, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: If someone you love was sick, maybe even dying, you could help, you probably wouldn't think twice about doing everything you could even if meant traveling three hours to get there. But what if the person in trouble was a stranger? You're about to meet a man who spent much of his life quietly saving other's lives. He could have helped you and you wouldn't have even know about it. Wilbur Armstrong is tonight's CNN hero.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, Wilbur.

WILBUR ARMSTRONG, CNN HERO: My name is Wilbur Armstrong. I've been donating blood for 33 years.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Half of all Americans are eligible to donate blood ... but only five percent ever do.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

(END GRAPHIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wilbur is a very good donor. He never flinches and he never complains.

ARMSTRONG: You know, so many people afraid of needles, but it doesn't hurt at all.

Every other day I go to donate blood. When I became legally blind, I couldn't drive anymore.

Hi there. Thank you.

I can travel around the public by myself. I take three buses. Roughly an hour and a half each way.

HARVEY SCHAFFLER, DIRECTOR OF MAKETING & DONOR RECRUITMENT: Wilbur is exceptional. Today he makes his 216th platelets donation. Patients with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy require platelet treatment. So it's really urgent that people donate.

ARMSTRONG: They told me I had a high platelet count and I was what they call a splitter. A split is a double donation. Whole blood takes about 10 minutes, a split for platelets will take you an hour and a half, but you'd be helping out two people instead of one.

RICHARD PRENDERGAST, RECRUITER: For all the platelets he's donated, he's bound to run into people that have his platelets running through their blood and that they are alive because of him.

ARMSTRONG: I don't know who these people are that I'm helping, but if I'm helping somebody. And if helping to keep them alive, it makes me feel good.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Wilbur's blood platelets have helped an estimated 600 patients.

Source: New York Blood Center

(END GRAPHIC)

ARMSTRONG: I lost three kids in my neighborhood to cancer. That shakes you up. These kids, they were just beginning to live and they were gone already. So I said if I can prevent somebody else from dying like that, let me do it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: If you would like to make your own life giving contribution like Wilbur Armstrong, you can go to your -- our Web site, CNN.com/heroes.

COOPER: And we want to help you stay healthy. So it's time now for fit or fat. You sent us your health questions. We put them to 360 M.D. and CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Take a look, we might have picked your question tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Our first question comes from Roza (ph) in Hollywood, Florida. Do you think tuna is good for us? Marinated in herb with spices?

So Sanjay, what is it? Tuna, fit or fat?

GUPTA: I'm going to definitely give you a fit on this one. I mean, tuna is one of these great foods for one simple reason, it's loaded with a substance called omega-3 fatty acids. A lot of people know this. If you don't, pay attention. This is a great substance. It can actually lower your triglycerides. It can lower your bad cholesterol too, Anderson. This is something you and I've talked about quite a bit. The only caveat here is that is that it can also have high levels of mercury, a special concern for pregnant women. Pay attention to that. Otherwise, definitely fit.

COOPER: And you should go for the tuna packed in water, right? Not necessarily oil?

GUPTA: Exactly. Especially if you're trying to cut down on calories.

COOPER: See, I knew that.

All right, Natalie in Los Angeles, writes, is a vegetarian diet 9including some dairy products) really the healthiest diet there is?

Sanjay, vegetarian diet, fit or fat?

GUPTA: You know, I'm going to give you fit on this one, but I'm going to stipulate. It's not just lawyers who can stipulate. Doctors can as well. I'll stipulate a couple things. One thing that you said that's important there is that you're also eating dairy. And that's important because you need to get protein into your diet. A lot of people who do the vegetarian diets skip the protein. As a result, they're also skipping other important vitamins and minerals. Even better would be soy. If you can add some of that to your diet. If you're going to do the vegetarian diet, don't overdo it. Make sure you get some of these other food groups in every now and then. Fit for you on this one, though.

COOPER: That looks like the video we're showing is a salad bar, I think, at Whole Foods, which is very fit.

Nancy, in Jacksonville, Florida, writes, what do you think about Alli, a new over the counter drug for weight loss and its risk? -- I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing it right. Alli, is it safe?

So, Sanjay, the new drug, Alli, there's been a lot of news about it lately, I guess. I haven't heard about it, but what do you think, fit or fat?

GUPTA: Well, we're going to say fat on this one, but I want to give you a couple of points on this. Orilistat (ph) is actually the generic name Alli that the new drug. Even the manufacturer of this drug -- it's really interesting, Anderson, the manufacturers, GSK, say this drug is not going to work alone. Rarely do you hear that from a pharmaceutical company. They're always banging on the big cures and the big -- the sort of shortcuts. They say you got to exercise. You got to eat right with this particular drug. And even then, if you lose five pounds, this may give you another two or three pounds off. So it's not a miracle drug by any means by anybody's account.

Also, Anderson, it's worth pointing out. I'm not going to get into the details on your show tonight, but there is some very unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects of this particular medication as well. I'm not going to get into it, but there are. So if you really, really want to take this particular medication, be aware of that as well. We'll give you fat on this one, some caveats.

COOPER: Yes. Wow. My mind is racing.

Let's get to the last question from Barbara in Las Vegas. She writes, I know coffee isn't good for you, but I can't give up my one morning cup. The rest of the day I drink water or iced tea. How much harm am I doing?

Sanjay, coffee, fit or fat?

GUPTA: Yes, I'm going give you a fit on this one. And I think a lot of people are going to be surprised. Yes, you're going to get fit. In fact, I talked about this a lot in my book, "Chasing Life," about the fact that coffee can actually be loaded with antioxidants, as many antioxidants as three oranges in fact. So, lots of antioxidants. If you stick to the one cup, obviously that's better.

Caffeine can be a concern. If you have high blood pressure, that's a particular concern. It can actually speed up your heart rate, increase your blood pressure as well. Stick to the one cup. We'll give you fit.

COOPER: All right. Sanjay, thanks very much.

GUPTA: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, how a young man in a wheelchair got stuck on the grill of an 18 wheeler. The pictures and the wild and scary ride, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Erica Hill joins us with a 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a deadly first week of June for Baghdad. Iraqi officials say sectarian violence has claimed the lives now of nearly 200 people. Today a car bomb outside a popular restaurant killed five people and wounded 14. And north of Baghdad in the town of Rabia (ph), nine people were killed by a car bomb outside a police station.

A former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. could be in hot water. British media reporting that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) may have received up to $2 billion in confidential payments from a British defense firm. He has denied the allegations through a statement from his lawyer.

Another rough day on Wall Street amid indications the Fed could end up rising -- raising interest rates later this year. The Dow tumbling nearly 200 points on the news to close at 13266. The NASDAQ lost 45, ending at 2541, while the S&P closed down 26 points.

And if you think investors are having a bad day, check out what happened to this Michigan man. 21-year-old Ben Carpenter's electric wheelchair was in front of a semi at a stop light and got stuck in the grill when the truck moved forward. Now, the driver couldn't see Carpenter, so he took him on a ride four several miles, going about 50 miles an hour, until officers stopped the truck. Amazingly, Carpenter wasn't hurt. And he said the ride though was, quote, "pretty scary."

Yes, I would probably use some more choice words, but glad he's all right -- Anderson.

COOPER: Unbelievable. Several miles. Just incredible.

Erica, thanks.

Don't miss the day's headlines with the 360 daily podcast. you don't need an iPod. You can watch it on your computer at CNN.com/AC360podcast or go to the iTunes store where it's a top download.

Now, here's John Roberts with a look at what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the forecast calls for temps into the 80s and 90s this weekend in the northeast. Other parts of the country facing record drought. How prepared is your home for the most extreme weather conditions? We'll show you a quick test that reveals where you're losing all your cool air and money to boot. "AMERICAN MORNING" begins at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: John, thanks.

For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is next. Here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up.

See you tomorrow night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines