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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Paris Liberated; Interview With Carl Bernstein
Aired June 7, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Glad to have you all with us tonight. Welcome.
Here's what we're bringing out in the open.
Tonight: the secrets of Hillary Clinton. Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein joins me to discuss his sensational new book about her marriage, her ambition, and what kind of president she might be.
Also, is a terrorist target underneath your home? You are going to be shocked at how easy it is for the bad guys to find out.
And how did Paris Hilton get away with serving less than five days in jail?
Tonight, though, we're keeping our eyes on a major breaking story. Indeed, it's one of the biggest and most controversial stories of the year, immigration reform.
As we speak, the U.S. Senate may be just minutes away from killing the deal. We are expecting a make-or-break vote on immigration reform to start any time now. We are keeping our eyes on Capitol Hill. So, stay with us. We will take you there live as soon as there are any new developments.
Now on to the woman who may become this country's first female president, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. In just a few minutes, I will be talking with the author of one of the most anticipated books in years about Senator Clinton. It came out just this week and is already making waves.
Its author, Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, spent eight years doing research and writing. And he's far from alone in being fascinated with Senator Clinton's life, her politics, and especially her stormy marriage.
ZAHN (voice-over): A search for "Bill Clinton" at Amazon.com produces more than 27,000 books. Search for "Hillary Clinton," you get only 7,429. But the Hillary bookshelf is growing faster.
Right now, there are three -- that's right, three -- gossipy new books out about the senator. But, seriously, is there really anything new to say?
In "The Extreme Makeover of Hillary (Rodham) Clinton," conservative Bay Buchanan claims that Clinton is faking a move to the political middle ground to cover up that she's a -- quote -- "dedicated, unapologetic liberal."
In "Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton," written by two journalists, reveals that Senator Clinton never read the vitally important national intelligence estimate on Iraq in 2002, before she voted to authorize the war.
That bombshell led to a question in this week's Democratic debate.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you regret not reading the national intelligence estimate?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I feel like I was totally briefed. I knew all of the arguments that were being made by everyone from all directions.
ZAHN: But most people just want to know about the marriage.
Enter "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton" by famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein. Citing longtime Clinton aide Betsey Wright, Bernstein reveals that Bill Clinton wanted to divorce Hillary back in 1989, because he was in love with another woman.
Bernstein also says that Hillary believed her husband's denials about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The Clinton camp tells CNN, Bernstein's book and others like it are -- quote -- "nothing more than rehash for cash."
ZAHN: And its author, Carl Bernstein, joins me now from Washington tonight.
Thanks so much for being with us tonight, Carl.
CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR, "A WOMAN IN CHARGE: THE LIFE OF HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON": Good to be here, Paula.
ZAHN: So, here you are eight years later, 554 pages later. Tell us something tonight we haven't heard about Hillary Clinton in these thousands of books that have been written about her.
BERNSTEIN: First, it -- this is the real biography that really is the story of her life done through real reporting that is the best obtainable version of the truth for the first time.
Your setup piece referred to gossipy. If there's anything this book is not, it's gossipy. There is no gossip in it. There's nothing salacious in it.
And the parts that deal with the marriage are, you know, a large part of the book, not the majority of the book. This is really the story of a life that has been camouflaged. Now it's not camouflaged anymore.
ZAHN: You talk a great deal about that, and you're highly critical of her for not talking perhaps as openly as you write about her early years with her father. And, of her relationship with her father, and her father himself, you write, he was "sullen, tight- fisted, contrarian, infuriatingly slow to praise his children. Nurturance and praise were left largely to his wife, whose intelligence and abilities he mocked and whose gentler nature he often trampled."
How do you think her relationship with her father impacted her in those early years and then much later on in her adult life?
BERNSTEIN: I'm not a psycho-biographer, but I think there are some obvious suggestions that she grew up in a household in which her mother was humiliated by her father.
Her first boyfriend told me how he went into the household, and he immediately wondered why her mother had never left the marriage, given the abuse she was objected to.
Obviously, Hillary Clinton is someone who was subject to a great deal of humiliation in her marriage. And her mother, Dorothy Rodham, counseled Hillary, and her sons as well, you do not get divorced in this family. You do not get divorced. You go get counseling. You get all the help you can. But you try save your marriage.
And I think we need to understand, as I show when you read this book, that the two fundamental elements of Hillary's life have been her family and religion.
ZAHN: All right. But...
BERNSTEIN: And you can't understand anything without those two fundaments.
ZAHN: And -- and you go in-depth about her religion and suggest that, in part, her -- her faith is camouflage for her.
And let me quickly play a very small part...
BERNSTEIN: Incidentally, I don't...
BERNSTEIN: I don't suggest that. Some other people who are quoted -- this is a book...
ZAHN: Hang on. Carl, hang on one second...
BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.
ZAHN: ... because I think it's important for our audience to hear... BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.
ZAHN: ... her talk about the role...
BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. That's a great...
ZAHN: ... faith plays in her family.
BERNSTEIN: That's a great clip.
ZAHN: Let's listen to something she said on one...
BERNSTEIN: Go ahead.
ZAHN: ... of our specials here on Monday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I'm not sure I would have gotten through it without my faith. And, you know, I take my faith very seriously and very personally.
At those moments in time when you're tested, it -- it is absolutely essential that you be grounded in your faith.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So, you write -- quote -- "There are people around her who believe she uses religion as a mask to cover her faults and those of Bill. The idea of loving the sinner and hating the sin, it allows her to excuse many things."
Are you saying that you yourself don't think her faith is authentic?
BERNSTEIN: To -- to the contrary, I think her faith is absolutely authentic.
And that paragraph is adjacent to another one, saying that more of those who -- who know her believe that her faith is not only real, but it is the key to her belief in public service and good works.
There is -- the first person I talked to about Hillary Clinton who was close to her said to me, find out about her Methodism. Once you understand her Methodism and her view of her religion, in terms of a social gospel of responsibility to other people, you are on your way to understanding something elemental about Hillary Clinton.
And it's absolutely true. And I -- and I believe what she said in that statement the other night totally, not only that she has never worn her religion on her sleeve -- during her first months in office as first lady, she joined a prayer group, in which Susan Baker, the wife of President Bush's chief of staff, James Baker, was a member, a prayer group in which another member was the wife of the pastor of the church that Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor, went to.
These women prayed with her and for her.
BERNSTEIN: I think the faith is absolutely real and key to understanding her.
ZAHN: All right.
So, then, what is this camouflage you talk about? You talk about some of the Hillary mythology and her self-invention.
BERNSTEIN: I think, if you read...
ZAHN: Where's the mask?
BERNSTEIN: You see it everywhere.
This is a woman who has been guarded all her life, and apprehends truths about herself and some of the things that she experiences in public life that those who were around for the experience apprehend very differently.
Certainly, that -- that is true of her time in the White House. It's true of her childhood, judging from her closest friend, who I talked to, Betsy Ebeling, from childhood, Donna Shalala, the secretary of health and human services, who, to my amazement, said to me that she, Shalala, and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen had -- had gone to President Clinton and begged him not to appoint Hillary to the health care job, because they feared it would be a disaster.
All of these omissions and obfuscations are nowhere to be found in Hillary's autobiography, "Living History." And what I set out to do, and was able to do, was to find the people who have known her best from childhood through the Senate years, and get them to talk on the record about who this person really is, so, that now we have a real biography of the person...
ZAHN: All right.
BERNSTEIN: ... who may be president of the United States.
ZAHN: Carl, I just have a couple seconds left here. If she is elected, what do you think, then, would be her Achilles' heel as president?
BERNSTEIN: I think the problems with telling the truth.
This has always been a problem for her. Mark Fabiani, one of her lawyers, says to me, in the book, when you read it, you will see he talks about how she was not forthcoming either with the press or with those investigations that she was subjected to.
And, at the same time, you know, if she did become president, she would go in with more experience and understanding of the White House than any president in the history of our country. More than a vice president would have known, she knows as the wife of a president of the United States. She knew absolutely everything about that presidency. She knows all the levers.
So, we're in -- in for a really interesting ride here. But we need to know, who is this person? We didn't know who George Bush was. We didn't have this kind of biography in the year 2000, and the country has suffered catastrophically, because they didn't know who or what they were voting for in some instances.
ZAHN: All right. We have got to leave it there...
BERNSTEIN: Now we have -- we have got the ability to.
ZAHN: ... tonight.
Carl Bernstein, thanks so much, the author of "A Woman in Change" (sic). Appreciate your time tonight.
BERNSTEIN: "A Woman in Charge."
ZAHN: "In Charge." Excuse me
BERNSTEIN: Not change. Not change.
BERNSTEIN: I think that's what she is...
ZAHN: You know, I'm hopeless without my glasses.
BERNSTEIN: I thought that's what she was...
ZAHN: "A Woman in Charge."
BERNSTEIN: That's what she was saying about Gennifer Flowers.
ZAHN: I think that was Bay Buchanan's book that had her changing a lot.
ZAHN: The wrong bestseller.
All right, Carl, thanks so much.
We're moving on to a sensational crime story now -- out in the open next, a mother's joy. Her missing daughter has been found, finally, and alive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER HESSE, MOTHER OF DANIELLE ERICA CRAMER: I have no intentions of letting her go. She's my girl. And I love her so much. And I am very happy that she is home. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Her teenage daughter vanished nearly a year ago. What happened to her? We are going to have the latest details for you coming up.
Also, is there a terrorist target right under your home? You are not going to believe how easily anyone could find out.
Plus: Paris Hilton's sweetheart deal. How did she get away with doing less than five days in jail? For starters, try not eating anything.
ZAHN: The miraculous rescue of a missing 15-year-old girl is only turning more mysterious tonight. We're going to do our best to bring this story out in the open now.
It has been a day since police found Danielle Erica Cramer in a hidden closet in a Connecticut home. Well, today, three adults who live there were arraigned on charges that include conspiracy to commit unlawful restraint. But we still don't know why the girl vanished in the first place and whether she was staying at that home willingly.
Jim Acosta has the latest for us from -- tonight from Bloomfield, Connecticut.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the parents of the 15-year-old girl who was missing for almost a year, relief, after an indescribable ordeal.
JENNIFER HESSE, MOTHER OF DANIELLE ERICA CRAMER: I can't explain that to you totally. Every parent's nightmare was mine.
ACOSTA: That nightmare ended when police in Connecticut found Danielle Cramer squirreled away under a staircase.
Investigators say it was in the home of 41-year-old Adam Gault. Detectives say, while it was Cramer who ran away from home and into the arms of Gault and his common law wife, 40-year-old Ann Murphy, it was Gault who was in full control. Authorities charged the couple with hiding the child in their home, suggesting they may have had criminal intentions.
CAPTAIN JEFFREY BLATTER, BLOOMFIELD, CONNECTICUT, POLICE DEPARTMENT: We believe that she was taken out of state on more than one occasion. She was compelled to assume a new identity.
ACOSTA: Also living at Gault's house and charged in the case was 26-year-old Kimberly Cray, whose lawyer told reporters, the three suspects were actually protecting Danielle from abuse at her family home. MICHAEL GEORGETTI, ATTORNEY FOR KIMBERLY CRAY: What you're going to find is this is a case of individuals trying to protect a young girl from being sexually assaulted and physically assaulted.
ACOSTA: But we pressed Cray's lawyer on why his client and the others did not deliver Danielle to the proper authorities.
(on camera): Isn't it really up to the authorities to decide what's best for this young girl, not individuals, people who are not even her parents or legal guardians?
GEORGETTI: Well, that's generally true. But, when the system fails, you know, are you going to let somebody suffer needlessly, if the system fails?
ACOSTA: And you're -- that's what you're saying; the system failed...
GEORGETTI: That's what I have been told, yes.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Police say they don't believe there was abuse at Cramer's home.
BLATTER: The parents -- there has been no allegations that the parents have sexually abused their children. And anyone who said otherwise is not being truthful.
ACOSTA: For now, the parents of Danielle Cramer just want to see their daughter through what is likely to be a lengthy recovery.
ACOSTA: And Danielle's family had a prior business relationship with Adam Gault. He was a dog trainer. They owned a kennel. And, because of that relationship, Danielle's mother says she always suspected he was behind her disappearance -- Paula.
ZAHN: That's one strange story.
Jim Acosta, thanks for the update. Appreciate it.
And we're going to move on to another crime story now making some big headlines tonight. When the FBI broke up the alleged plot to bomb pipelines that carry jet fuel, a lot of people were shocked to discover those pipes are right under their homes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CARTELLI, RESIDENT OF BROOKLYN: Now I -- I think about it, it could be something really devastating to the whole -- whole neighborhood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So, what's under your backyard? And how easy should it be for a terrorist to find out?
And, then, a little bit later on, yes, indeed, the liberation of Paris -- this Paris. Why did she get out of jail more than two weeks early? Wait until you hear what some folks have to say about that tonight. They are outraged.
ZAHN: Doubts about the security of the nation's fuel supplies are out in the open tonight because of the alleged plot to blow up JFK Airport in New York.
Investigators are now saying the target was a network of underground pipelines that feed the airport and run through some of the most densely populated parts of New York City. But you might be surprised to know that the company that owns the pipelines and fuel tanks targeted in this alleged plot happens to publish detailed maps of their locations on its Web site. They're available for anyone, including potential terrorists, to see.
Surprisingly, the Homeland Security Department doesn't consider that a major security risk. Well, why not?
We sent Allan Chernoff to find out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much. Appreciate...
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Matthew Cartelli lives directly above a pipeline that carries jet fuel to New York's Kennedy Airport, the very pipeline four men allegedly targeted for a terror attack.
CARTELLI: Now I -- I think about it, it could be something really devastating to the whole -- whole neighborhood.
CHERNOFF: Two fuel pipelines run underneath 40 miles of New York City neighborhoods. And the company that owns them, Buckeye Partners, provides detailed maps of their route online. In fact, all of Buckeye's pipelines in 18 states are mapped online, available for anyone to see.
Here's the path to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, the pipeline route to Saint Louis Airport, and the exact location of the pipeline through Miami leading to the airport.
The chair of the House Homeland Security Committee is concerned about Buckeye making so much information available online.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I would like to probably see the company reducing the amount of detail. At some point, you move beyond just the -- the broad details to specificity, which could potentially provide ammunition for someone who wanted to do something bad. CHERNOFF: Colonial Pipeline Company, which feeds Buckeye's system, took its detailed maps off the Internet after 9/11. The Department of Transportation's Web site provides pipeline maps, but with far less detail than Buckeye's.
Still, Buckeye executive Roy Haase, says, there's good reason for its detail.
(on camera): Anybody could go online and see where the pipeline runs.
ROY HAASE, BUCKEYE PARTNERS EXECUTIVE: That's correct, yes.
CHERNOFF: Isn't that a bit of a security risk?
HAASE: The point of having these -- these maps online is to protect -- mainly to protect the -- the pipeline from excavation damage, because, although terrorism may be a threat, the second largest threat to -- to damaging pipelines is excavation damage. And...
CHERNOFF: After corrosion?
HAASE: After corrosion.
CHERNOFF: (voice-over): Buckeye Partners says, the underground pipelines are not vulnerable to attack. Indeed, the entire pipeline can't be set on fire, says Buckeye, because there is no oxygen inside, which is necessary for combustion.
And Buckeye constantly monitor its fuel flow from control rooms that can shut the pipes off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can monitor pressures along the pipeline, flow rates into my locations.
CHERNOFF: Construction is a big worry. In 1985, an accident damaged a Buckeye pipeline, sending gasoline pouring through a Staten Island, New York, neighborhood. But there were no serious injuries.
(on camera): The threat of excavation damage, you're saying, is so much greater than the threat of terrorism, that it pays...
CHERNOFF: ... to give such a detailed...
HAASE: I believe -- I believe that, absolutely.
CHERNOFF: ... map online for anybody to see?
HAASE: I believe that, absolutely, yes.
CHERNOFF: So, you are going to keep these online?
HAASE: Yes. CHERNOFF (voice-over): I asked New York's fire chief, Sal Cassano, about that.
He said the pipeline is safe, but said he is not entirely comfortable with Buckeye's online maps.
SAL CASSANO, CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT, FDNY: Yes, we do have our concerns.
CHERNOFF: The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which oversees energy pipeline, has told CNN it agrees with Buckeye; the maps help protect the pipelines from construction: "If we found something that posed a security concern, we would work directly with that company to remove it from their Web site. But that has not been the case in this instance. The safety benefits of these maps being available far outweighs security concerns."
(on camera): A pipeline runs four feet underground right here. Far more exposed, though, are the aboveground fuel storage tanks. But Buckeye says there is more safety and security than just this fence. The tanks are constructed of thick steel. They are built in dikes to collect any fuel that might escape. And fuel can actually be extracted from the tanks through underground pipes.
(voice-over): Still, Buckeye concedes, fuel tanks could be vulnerable to attack.
HAASE: But it's an aboveground, obvious risk. And a tank fire, as I said, is a spectacular sight, lots of flame, lots of smoke.
CHERNOFF: A possibility for which fire departments around the country prepare.
CASSANO: We would be able to handle an event, if it happened. And it is not that easy to take place.
CHERNOFF: The fact is, energy industry officials say, the greater risk of terrorism is the one that is right out in the open, fuel tanks, rather than the pipelines that are buried underground, even if maps of their locations are easily accessible.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: On to a couple other stories now that are really hard to believe -- have you heard Paris Hilton is out of jail tonight?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WHITMORE, SENIOR MEDIA ADVISER, COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: She been sent home. And she will be confined to her home for the next 40 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Oh, that's a hardship.
But, wait. Just minutes ago, the Associated Press reported, she has a court hearing on Friday on whether she has to go back to jail -- breaking news on the Paris Hilton front. Please stay with us. We will have that for you.
Then, a little bit later on: how people with bad credit and some spare cash can make everything better. Is that fair?
We will be right back.
ZAHN: Look who is out in the open and out of jail tonight. Paris Hilton sprung from the L.A. County lockup today, supposedly for medical reasons. Just five days ago she started serving what was originally a 45 day sentence for violating probation.
Now she's confined to her home for 40 days wearing an electronic tracking bracelet on her ankle. And while officials are saying nothing about the medical condition that led to her release, the first thing on just about everybody's mind is celebrity special treatment and there is a new twist just breaking right now.
Let's go straight to entertainment correspondent Sibila Vargas who is outside the jail where Hilton was held. What is this thing about this hearing on Friday? She may have to go back to jail?
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The honeymoon might be over for Paris Hilton. Apparently they want her back at hearing in Downtown Los Angeles. This was all started by city attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who basically thinks that this is a whole miscarriage of justice.
He wants Michael Sauer who is the judge who sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail, the same judge, he wants him to bring her back to this jail here at Century Regional Detention Facility so that she can continue her term. Paula?
ZAHN: Well, there are a lot of people that have been outraged that she got sprung so early from jail. Tell us what people are saying there in L.A.
VARGAS: There's tons of people. First of all, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors have gotten tons of e-mail and faxes. They want a full investigation as to what went down over here. Also community leader Najee Ali getting into as well. He had this to say earlier today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAJEE ALI, PROJECT ISLAMIC HOPE: In this situation, Paris Hilton was released only to home confinement for a medical condition. Our argument is there are other inmates, thousands of them in the L.A. County jail system who have medical conditions who aren't being released. They can't go home. So it's a slap in the face to them and their families and their loved ones of a double standard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VARGAS: And apparently that double standard is something that's being echoed by so many people. And this is what's really interesting about this thing. L.A. County Sheriff's Department PIO Steve Whitmore, he said he anticipated this reaction. He had this to say before Ali said what he had to say. So listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WHITMORE, L.A. COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: They make it aware that there may be a public opinion outcry, but does that override the decision? The decision must be rooted in what are we doing here, what is the content of our action?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VARGAS: Contents of actions that they took, and a lot of people are very angry about this. Again, city attorney Rocky Delgadillo wanting Paris Hilton to show up at this hearing tomorrow. Michael Sauer being the judge there, that's the judge again who gave her the 45 days in jail, basically saying, ruling out this type of home device, ankle bracelet, he ruled that out in the first place. And this is exactly what the L.A. County Sheriff's Department had done and they're very angry to say the least.
ZAHN: Well, she may be sorry she's home and away from that 12 foot by eight foot cell. We understand Reverend Al Sharpton is on his way to Los Angeles. He is going to conduct a demonstration outside her home. What do we understand is going on inside that house?
VARGAS: Well, it's very different from what she was sentenced to here, a 12 by eight foot cell. She is going to be staying at a 2,700 square-foot mansion basically. Earlier today she had cupcakes delivered to her home, very different from her strict diet that she was getting here at the Century Regional Detention Facility where all of her meals were being brought to her 12-by-eight foot cell. So very different.
ZAHN: I'm sorry, Sibila, but you have got my panel laughing now that is coming to react to these earth-shattering events in Los Angeles. Sibila, thank you.
VARGAS: I'm laughing myself.
ZAHN: Oh, I know. It's a pretty nutty story.
So let's go straight to our "Out in the Open" panel now. Is this legit or another case of special treatment for someone famous, perhaps someone rich or perhaps someone white. Let's go to tonight's "Out in the Open Panel" now, political consultant Niger Innis who is also the national spokesman for CORE, THE Congress of Racial Equality. And also with us, Ben Ferguson, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host and Joe Madison a talk show host at Washington WOL Radio.
JOE MADISON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Can I add XM to it? "Out in the Open," you have a whole new meaning. That's why I was laughing.
ZAHN: You're bad.
FERGUSON: I wanted to come here. I thought maybe I can defend her. And I was sitting in the car thinking I can't figure out how to do this. Honestly to do this I'm going to change my name to Hilton, I'm going to dye my hair to blond, I'm going to lose 100 more pounds.
ZAHN: This is a woman released for a medical reason, Ben Ferguson, and we see those delicious cupcakes being delivered to her lovely home.
BEN FERGUSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I picked the wrong career. I should have gone into counseling people how to get out of jail in less than a week. To have your shrink show up and say you are having a really bad day. I've seen some crazy people that go to jail for being crazy. She gets let out because she may go crazy and then they say she's not eating. Welcome to the real world of you may not like everything you always want on your plate.
My parents said if you don't want it, you don't eat it, that's fine but you don't get dessert afterwards. She gets to go home and eat her cupcakes.
I tell you this much, what really makes me angry about this issue is the fact that there are so many people who look up to Paris Hilton and this woman put people's lives in danger.
ZAHN: You're saying that with a straight face, Ben.
FERGUSON: I know, it's scary but young people look up to her and now they think you can get away with stuff as long as you're famous. She put people's lives in danger. I've been hit by a drunk driver. The drunk driver died on the scene of the accident when I was child. Luckily my family lived.
So for me it's a serious issue because she could have easily hit somebody while she was in her car one of the two times. And that's what people are forgetting. She's lucky she didn't kill somebody, she's lucky she just got to go to jail for a couple of days.
But what message does it send the young people? It has nothing to do with race, it has everything to do with the terrible decision that people who look up to her think she's brilliant.
ZAHN: Here's what I want to know. Where are the county officials in all of this? They had to understand this would inspire the kind of reaction it's sparking out there.
NIGER INNIS, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: When that guy from the Sheriff's Department was on, I was like the GEICO caveman. What? What did he say? What was he talking about?
This is absurd. This is such a double standard. This is like the triumph of celebrity one more time. I agree with Ben completely. This is real danger to America's youth because they do look up to -- I think Michael Savage celebusluts (ph) or something along those lines and there are a lot of them, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton. And all these disasters, personal disasters.
And the message is to America's youth is that you can live and party and drink and have all kinds of reckless sex and you can break the law and get a double standard. And get a double standard and it's ...
MADISON: I'm going to be honest with you. I am going to put the blame on the parents. I said -- Niger, I bet your father said the same thing my father said. If you ever get your behind in trouble and get thrown in jail, don't call me.
And that's what kept me out of trouble. So the Hiltons, I mean, the parents are as much at fault with this narcissistic daughter of theirs who is ...
ZAHN: I didn't know where you were going with that.
MADISON: Starving for attention.
FERGUSON: Look at Britney Spears, look at Lindsay Lohan, look at Paris Hilton. These young ladies -- and Paris Hilton is a little bit older than that. These young ladies finally get in front of a judge. At that point it's out of mommy and daddy's hands to take care of you and protect you.
But when we have a court system that can't even enforce the law, it tells young people get famous, do whatever it takes to get there, and you'll be fine.
ZAHN: ... the idea of being sprung free because you got a little depressed.
MADISON: I bet mommy and daddy had a whole lot to do with it.
ZAHN: You think so? Oh, I think so, too.
MADISON: If they didn't, their money did. And the bottom line here is, you know what, I'm tired. CNN and everybody else, cut us a break. If she wants to do public service, let her come to Sudan with me. I'll give her some public service for 40 days. She can help the women in Darfur.
INNIS: She may get a headache.
MADISON: Cut us a break.
INNIS: What the judge does on Friday ...
ZAHN: That's critical.
INNIS: He's got an opportunity. She's going back to jail.
ZAHN: All right. They think she's going back to jail. We'll see. Join us Friday night. Niger Innis, Ben Ferguson, Joe Madison, thank you all.
If I told you there was an easy way to fix a bad credit rating, would you think that's too good to be true? Well "Out in the Open" next, the new practice is called piggybacking. It is controversial and some bankers say it ought to be illegal. We'll be back with the details.
ZAHN: We're going to take you to Capitol Hill right now for tonight's major breaking story, the U.S. Senate's make or break vote on immigration reform is just wrapping up and it appears at this moment that immigration reform is losing.
Let's go right to our congressional correspondent Dana Bash. Does that mean the bipartisan deal is dead?
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly seems that way, Paula. This is an extraordinary moment right here in the Senate.
Right now you are seeing on the Senate floor senators are voting. And they are not finished with the procedural vote, but we are told from sources on both sides the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, that this particular procedural move will fail. And what that has meant all day long is that this immigration bill that we've been talking about for so long, for two weeks the Senate has debated, this will actually be pulled from the Senate floor and it will essentially die, at least for now.
The reason this is going on is because of essentially a fight between Democrats and mostly Republicans or just in general opponents of the bill. How many chances they were able to get to change the things they didn't like about this bill.
In the end, what the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said was that he wanted to have a final vote by the end of this week. That's why he was pushing this procedural vote. But Republicans, we're told, said you know what, that's not how we're going play. We, in the minority, want to have a right to keep offering amendments to this bill, so it is essentially going to die as we speak on the Senate floor.
ZAHN: So there is no wiggle room at all for them to bring this up in the near future?
BASH: The Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is saying that he does want to try to bring it up in the near future, but you know how this works, Paula, this has been the most controversial and politically tough issue for senators, Democrats and Republicans so as we get closer to the election, it is going to be near impossible for them to do anything that will reach the president's desk.
ZAHN: Of course, the Democrats really hammering on the president tonight saying he didn't do now push this bill through. So we'll continue to watch it with you, Dana. Thanks so much for the breaking news update. BASH: Thank you.
ZAHN: Appreciate it.
We're going to move on to some business news, consumer news now. Today we learned that mortgage rates are at their highest rate in nearly a year. And because of the meltdown of the sub-prime lending market, if you have bad credit, it's getting harder and harder to get a mortgage. But what if you could just pay cash and just like that get a better credit rating. Sound too good to be true? Well it may be.
For tonight's "Biz Break" we asked personal finance editor Gerri Willis to bring "Out in the Open" a controversial and possibly dangerous, if not illegal new trend in fixing bad credit.
GERRI WILLIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alipio Estruch works as a mortgage broker and he wanted to become a real estate investor, buying homes in this Florida neighborhood where he lives. But his credit wasn't good enough.
ALIPIO ESTRUCH, CREDIT CLIENT: I had a couple things that I was dealing with that were bringing my scores down.
WILLIS: Estruch claims identity theft and too many credit inquiries made him unable to get the mortgage he wanted. A friend told him about a new company that might be able to help, Instant Credit Builders. It is one of a number of new companies who offer a unique and controversial way to improve your credit. The company's Web site promises to raise your credit score in 90 days or less.
JOHN COATES, INSTANT CREDIT BUILDERS: Our goal is to help them get their lives on track, help them get their lives into a position where they can afford to pay for their homes and send their kids to college, save money for themselves.
WILLIS: Here is how it works. A client with poor credit contacts Instant Credit Builders and pays them a fee, starting at $900 for their services. ICB gives part of the money, an average of $150, to a cooperating person who has good credit. A credit card or a line of credit that has been open for a long time with a history of on time payment.
The person with good credit adds the person with poor credit as an authorized user on the account. Now the solid payment history of the credit card becomes part of the credit record of the person with poor credit and automatically boosts their score.
ICB says the credit score can go up by an average of 30 to 45 points for each card the client is added to, which can be the difference between approval and denial of an application for credit.
(on camera): Instant credit builders says it has found a loophole in the credit scoring formula that helps clients get a fresh start but the lending industry says it's not a loophole. It's illegal.
GINNY FERGUSON, NATL. ASSOCIATION OF MORTGAGE BROKERS: The biggest problem is it's fraud, it's putting people into credit grades that they do not deserve, often giving people access to mortgage credit who would not have access at all.
WILLIS: And while the Federal Trade Commission would not comment on ICB in particular, it indicated the company engaging in this business could be violating the Federal Credit Repair Organizations Act.
ICB says it's not breaking any laws. Fair Isaac, the company that develops the FICO credit score says it will stop letting such users get a boost from the main users credit cards. ICB says it will continue to find ways around the credit scoring rules so it can help its client.
And Alipio Estruch is so happy with the company, he hopes to someday work for them.
ZAHN: So give us so more detail and what happens to the guy or gal loaning out his credit.
WILLIS: I have to tell you, we talked to one of them and they are making $2,500 a month doing nothing. And you can see why people are calling that service over and over again but there are big risks there, Paula.
Let's start with the person who has the poor credit. They could ultimately be a victim of identity theft because they are giving their Social Security number to somebody they don't know. On the flip side, the person who is selling their good name to somebody, they don't know there are risks for them too.
The lenders say that it is fraud. Well, you are essentially aiding and abetting what is a lie to the next lender.
ZAHN: Well, you would think that would seem pretty obvious but it's not. It's just too tempting to do.
WILLIS: It's too tempting.
ZAHN: All right, Gerri Willis, thanks so much for the warning. Appreciate it.
One of our top priorities here is introducing you to people who do heroic work. Please stay with us and see how one woman is helping the smallest victims of the AIDS epidemic.
We're also going to meet a man who quit his day job and discovered the story of forgotten World War II heroes who saved some of the world's greatest artworks.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: Right now we want to change focus and introduce you to a young woman from southern Africa who is waging a very personal battle to help her country deal with the staggering devastation caused by HIV/AIDS. She's tonight's CNN hero.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NTHABELENG LEPHOTO, AIDS ACTIVIST: I had people very close to me dying of HIV/AIDS. This stupid virus is tearing lives apart.
But it's not just the medication. They start feeling loved.
My naming is Nthabeleng Lephoto, coming from Touching Tiny Lives. We support orphaned and vulnerable infants.
Our safe house is for critically ill or in-need children.
For us babies come first. We heave to give them medication even if sometimes they have to cry. But it is not just the medication. They start feeling loved.
Eighty percent of the children we help are in the rural areas. We go to each individual household and we give them nutrition like foodstuffs, packages and medication.
We want to discuss their own problems, where they feel free. It's HIV/AIDS leaving children with grandmothers. They shouldn't be doing this but they have to. I need to support these people. It's going to go on and on.
Believe me, there are times when I really say this is too much, but to see them smile, starting to enjoy life as it comes makes me want to help more and more and more.
If there is no Touching Tiny Lives, honestly, all these children we have helped would have died.
ZAHN: Well, there is a lot more about Touching Tiny Lives project on our Web site where you can also nominate your own hero for recognition later on this year. Just go to cnn.com/heroes.
You probably know that this week marks the 63rd week of D-Day when allied forces began their invasion of Europe on their way to defeating Nazi Germany in 1945. But the end of a war meant the beginning of another struggle, to rescue lost masterpieces stolen from museums all over Europe. Uncovering that story has been one man's quest in his life after work. Here's Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer. These masterpieces grace the walls of museums today, but may have been lost forever if not for the work of a group nicknamed monuments men. ROBERT EDSEL, AUTHOR, "RESCUING DA VINCI": The monuments men and women are my heroes. It's a group of men and women, about 350 or so, museum directors, curators, art historians, that volunteered for service during World War II and ultimately were involved in the leadership of what I refer to as the greatest treasure hunt in history, trying to find the great works of art throughout Europe hidden in more than a thousand hiding places.
KAYE: Robert Edsel uncovered the story at a crossroads in his own life. In the late 1990s, Edsel sold the oil and gas company he built in Texas and decided to take a break from work. He moved his family to Italy to renovate a villa, study art and discover his next passion.
Little did he know, it would find him on a bridge in Florence.
EDSEL: I stood on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence, the only of the bridges that wasn't destroyed and blown up by the Nazis in 1944 and thought to myself how did all of this stuff survive World War II. In fact, who were the people who saved it?
KAYE: And so Edsel discovered the story of the monuments men and his new passion is sharing their story.
EDSEL: Literally tens of thousands of paintings, hundreds of thousands of cultural items, hidden in more than a thousand caves, salt mines and other places by Hitler and the Nazis was a circumstance no one contemplated and resulted in an extraordinary effort on the part of this special group.
KAYE: Earlier this week Congress passed a resolution honoring the monuments men, in attendance were four of the 12 surviving members. Fittingly the event took place on the 63rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: And we're just minutes away from LARRY KING LIVE. Tonight the latest on whether Paris Hilton gets to stay out of a jail now that a judge wants her back on court on Friday. We'll be right back.
ZAHN: And that's it for all of us here. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. We'll be back again sometime, same place tomorrow night. Until then, have a great night. LARRY KING LIVE starts right now.
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