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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Ahmadinejad in America; Interview With Columbia University President Lee Bollinger

Aired September 24, 2007 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: He has been compared to Hitler, accused of sponsoring terrorism killing that is American troops and running a nuclear program. He's advocated the destruction of Israel, denied the Holocaust and more. He says different things to different audiences.
Tonight: keeping Iran's president honest in a war of words that erupted today and threatens to do the same tomorrow when he and President Bush speak to the U.N.

Also ahead tonight in this hour, with a jury right now deliberating the fate of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, we will hear his accuser tell her story of being forced by Jeffs into marriage when she was just 14 years old.

Also, an exclusive new look at what went on behind the scenes during election 2000 and the Supreme Court case that decided it. CNN's Jeffrey Toobin has gotten unprecedented access to the court. His new book is out, "The Nine." And it has gotten rave reviews. It's an extraordinary work. We have got one of the chapters tonight.

We begin, however, with the top story: the President Ahmadinejad's visit in depth. He will address the U.N. General Assembly tomorrow. he spoke today at Columbia University, after perhaps the toughest introduction any speaker has ever gotten.

Here is what the university president, Lee Bollinger, had to say before Ahmadinejad even said a word.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEE BOLLINGER, PRESIDENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

BOLLINGER: And, so, I ask you -- and so I ask you, why have women, members of the Baha'i faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become target of persecution in your country?

In a December 2005 state television broadcast, you described the Holocaust as the fabricated legend. One year later, you held a two- day conference of Holocaust deniers. For the illiterate and ignorant, this is dangerous propaganda. When you come to a place like in this makes you, quite simply, ridiculous. You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated. A number of Columbia graduates and current students are among the brave members of our military who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They, like other Americans with sons, daughters, fathers, husbands, and wives serving in combat -- combat rightly see your government as the enemy.

Can you tell them and us why Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq by arming Shia militia, targeting and killing U.S. troops?

Why does your country continue to refuse to adhere to international standards for nuclear weapons verification in defiance of agreements that you have made with the U.N. nuclear agency? And why have you chosen to make the people of your country vulnerable to the effects of international economic sanctions and threaten to engulf the world in nuclear annihilation?

And, in all candor, Mr. President, I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions, but your avoiding them will in itself be meaningful to us.

I do expect you to exhibit the fanatical mind-set that characterizes so much of what you say and do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, avoid answering, he did.

That was Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, speaking what he clearly believes is truth to power. We will talk with Mr. Bollinger in just a moment.

We will also dig into President Ahmadinejad's message point by point.

But, first, here is how the Iranian leader responded to that introduction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): At the outset I want to complaint a bit from the person who read this political statement against me.

In Iran, tradition requires that, when we demand a person to invite as a speaker, we actually respect our students and the professors by allowing them to make their own judgment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Some perspective now and a fact-check.

Joining us for that is Karim Sadjadpour from the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace in Washington and Fawaz Gerges of Sarah Lawrence University.

Fawaz, for an American audience, it was very satisfying to hear Columbia's president basically stick it to Iran's president, to even hear students laughing at some of the absurd statements the Iranian president said. But the Iranian president was really speaking to an international audience.

How does this thing play internationally, especially to the Muslim world?

FAWAZ GERGES, EXPERT ON MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE: I don't think it plays very well in Iran or in the Muslim world.

I think my instinct, Anderson, is that it will be seen as a great cultural insult and humiliation to Iran, here the president of Columbia University assaulting the symbol of the Iranian nation.

He said, Ahmadinejad, we, in Iran, when we invite guests, we show respect. And I know you Americans show respect. Why have you insulted me? Why haven't you given me the time to defend myself? Why take more time than you have given me about the talk?

And I think what we need to understand, Anderson, is that the primary audience of Ahmadinejad is Iranian public opinion and the larger Muslim public opinion. In this particular sense, given what Lee Bollinger said -- and I respect his views tremendously -- I think Ahmadinejad scored some major points inside Iran and in the larger Muslim world.

COOPER: Karim, certainly, in the United States, the speech is seen very differently. I mean, Ahmadinejad says stuff that is simply not true and at times does not even seem to make sense.

Let's talk about facts. About terrorism, here is what Ahmadinejad was asked and how he answered. Let's listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is your government providing aid to terrorists? Will you stop doing so and permit international monitoring to certify that you have stopped?

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Well, I want to pose a question here to you. If someone comes and explodes bombs around you, threatens your president, members of the administration, kills the members of the Senate or Congress, how would you treat them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He is focusing on Iranian exiles operating in Iraq. The issue he was asked, really, is Iranian support for a group like Hezbollah, a group which has killed American soldiers in the past and caused the war in south Lebanon last year.

How did -- what did you make of his answer?

KARIM SADJADPOUR, IRAN ANALYST, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Well, it's a good question, Anderson. And I think, first of all, it would be useful for your viewers to know a couple things. First is that President Ahmadinejad, despite his title, is not the most powerful individual in Iran. That's the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei.

Second of all, President Ahmadinejad mandate when he was elected was very clear. He was not elected to pursue a belligerent approach on the nuclear issue, to wipe Israel off the map, or deny the Holocaust. He was elected to improve the economy.

COOPER: And he has not done that.

(CROSSTALK)

SADJADPOUR: And he has not done that. He has not really focused on the economy. And the economy has deteriorated.

But, when it comes to Iran's regional foreign policy, Iran right now feels very confident. They say that, when democratic elections happen in the Middle East, our friends get elected. Look at Hezbollah in Lee Bollinger, Hamas in Palestine, a Shiite (INAUDIBLE) in Iraq, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

So they right now do actually view the Middle East as a war, a proxy war, between themselves and the United States for Arab and Muslim hearts and minds, and they believe that the popular man on the Middle East is much more sympathetic to Tehran than they are to Washington.

GERGES: You know, Anderson, on this particular point, what we need to understand, not only the primary target is the Iranian actually, but the larger Middle East.

Iran now, Anderson, is leading resistance to America's dominance in the region Middle East. And this is why, when he says, if we come under attack, we have a natural right to resist. This is not terrorism. What you label terrorism, we consider self-defense and resistance.

And this particular narrative resonates with the larger Muslim Middle East. And, here, Iran, in this particular sense and Ahmadinejad is positioning Iran as the leader, as the resistance leader for American dominance in the region.

COOPER: The other thing he does all the time is answer -- you know, he -- you ask him a question. He answers it with another question. I think he thinks it is clever. I am not sure how it plays internationally. I think, within the United States, it does not play particularly well.

When asked if he wanted the destruction of Israel, he basically danced around the question. Let's listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is: Do you or your government seek the destruction of the state of Israel as a Jewish state? And I think you could answer that question with a single word, either yes or no.

(APPLAUSE)

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): We recognize there's a problem there that's been going on for 60 years. Everybody provides a solution. And our solution is a free referendum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Karim, I mean, last year, or a couple years ago, he gave a speech entitled "Israel Must Be Wiped Off the Map." A couple months ago, he said -- and I quote "With God's help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine."

It seems he has different messages for different audiences.

SADJADPOUR: Well, a couple points, Anderson.

First of all, I would disagree slightly with Fawaz that Ahmadinejad's primary audience is the Iranian street. Actually, Iranians don't have a real sympathy for the Palestinian cause, as Arabs might. There is a certain Persian chauvinism vis-a-vis the Arabs.

And the Iranian street, I think, says, we have bigger priorities for ourselves than the Palestinian cause. So, I think that he is actually trying to reach out to the broader Arab and Muslim street when he makes these comments about Israel.

(CROSSTALK)

SADJADPOUR: Second of all, an important point is the fact that I think, when -- when Ahmadinejad issues these -- this rhetoric against Israel and calls for Israel to be wiped off of the map, he is not calling for the physical destruction of Israel. He's not threatening to drop a nuclear bomb on Israel, but he's calling, essentially, for a one-state solution, which has been Iran's policy for -- for two or three decades now.

COOPER: But isn't that sort of a fine point? I mean, when he's speaking, he -- he uses these terms. He doesn't really elaborate: OK, I am not talking about militarily wipe them off.

Yes, to an elite audience at Columbia, he says, we're talking about a referendum among Palestinian people. But, to a largely uneducated or illiterate group of people who he is talking to, saying wipe Israel off the face of the map can be interpreted a myriad of ways.

(CROSSTALK)

GERGES: Anderson, several points here.

The first point is that Ahmadinejad is not the commander in chief in Iran.

COOPER: Sure.

GERGES: He does not really -- I mean, basically make decisions. In fact, he occupies a very weak position within the Iranian hierarchy, point one.

Point two, remember, he is saying that the Palestinians are the ones who should determine the future of the conflict. It is up to the Palestinians. They are the rightful owners of the land.

And this is why -- I mean, the statement of itself and the various statements you pointed to basically are designed to appeal to the larger Arab and Muslim audience, and, also, Anderson, to undermine the position or pro-American Arab governments, who basically now -- and this why now he's saying Iran is positioning itself as leading resistance to America in the Middle East.

It's saying to Arab and Muslim populations, look, we are the power to defend your interest in Palestine, in Iraq, in Lebanon, and elsewhere.

COOPER: Karim, I also want to play for our viewers something Ahmadinejad was asked about his country's pursuit of nuclear power, nuclear weapons. And let's hear his answer also.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is your government seeking to acquire enriched uranium suitable for nuclear weapons? Will you stop doing so?

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Our nuclear program, first and foremost, operates within the framework of law, and, second, under the inspections of the IAEA. And, thirdly, they are completely peaceful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It is not actually true. The IAEA has said that Iran has not fully cooperated and has not suspended its uranium-enrichment program.

SADJADPOUR: That is right. Iran has -- Iran has a long history of indiscretions when it comes to the nuclear program.

But, Anderson, what we are dealing with fundamentally is a question of mistrust between the United States and Iran, whether we -- you know, this conversation has been taking place for -- for years now. And I think this is going to exist, that the United States doesn't at all trust that Iran's nuclear intentions are peaceful, and Iran does not trust that the United States' intentions are peaceful. They believe that the United States wants to see a different type of regime in Tehran.

So, I think we are going to continue to have these questions. And it is going to be very difficult to find a smoking gun to prove that Iran is indeed pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

COOPER: Fawaz, final thought.

GERGES: Well, in fact, what we need to understand, again, to come back to the audience itself, if you look at the Iranian public opinion, it cuts across really ideological and political lines.

Iranians believe -- I mean, the broad spectrum of -- the broad spectrum of public opinion, Iran has the natural right to develop technology, including nuclear technology. Once again, I mean, what Ahmadinejad did today was to reiterate Iran's position.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: ... nothing new.

GERGES: And -- absolutely -- and play the proud nationalist. He was playing to the audience at home, which believes that Iran has the right to develop nuclear technology.

COOPER: Fawaz, appreciate your comments.

Karim, as well.

Thank you very much, gentlemen.

SADJADPOUR: Thank you.

COOPER: As we have been saying, Iran's president says many things to many audiences to win support, to deflect attention, to send signals to others in the region or in the West. It is probably impossible to pin down what he really believes or what his ultimate goals may be. We can, however, measure his statements against a simple standard: the facts, "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he speaks the truth, but don't take his word as gospel.

Let's begin with the Holocaust. Ahmadinejad has repeatedly questioned the slaughter of six million Jews, labeling it a fairy tale, and once said, "They," meaning the West, "have invented a myth that Jews were massacred, and placed this above God, religions, and the prophets."

He calls it a myth. But, keeping him honest, the Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in modern history. The Nazis themselves kept countless records of their victims.

Here is what one survivor remembers.

ROMAN KENT, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: How can I ever forget the smell of burning flesh that constantly filled the air, the heartbreaking sobbing of the children as they were torn from their mother's arms?

COOPER: Then there's the issue of homosexuality. At Columbia University, Ahmadinejad had this astonishing statement.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country.

(LAUGHTER)

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): We don't have that in our country.

In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: The reality could not be any more different. Gays and lesbians do live in Iran, where activists say they are persecuted by the regime and sometimes brutalized.

This photograph, published by the Iranian Student's News Agency, shows the hanging in 2005 of two teenaged boys in a public square. Initial Iranian reports claim they were executed for engaging in homosexual activity, although the government later said they were hanged for raping a child.

Ahmadinejad also said that women have freedoms in Iran, but here are the facts. Women must wear head scarves. They need permission from a male relative to travel and are forbidden from getting a divorce.

Ahmadinejad likes to portray himself as a scholar, but the truth of his words often don't bear out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That is probably first time the president of the Iran has actually just been laughed at publicly, certainly in the United States.

It is for that reason, avoiding a misunderstanding or rush to war, that the U.N. is supposed to exist. We are going to see what happens tomorrow, whether Presidents Ahmadinejad and Bush tamp down the war of words or actually ratchet it up.

In the meantime, we want to get the best picture we can of the man in the members-only jacket, the Iranian president.

Earlier, I talked with CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, who will be interviewing Mr. Ahmadinejad on Wednesday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: In the West, we put a lot of focus on Ahmadinejad. Does he have that power in Iran? I mean, is he the most powerful man in Iran? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, he is not the most powerful man in Iran. And no president is the most powerful in Iran. The power resides with the supreme leader, the religious leader, who is Ayatollah Khamenei.

But the fact of the matter is, he's a president and he is elected, as elections go there. And, therefore, the religious leaders know that there is a certain amount of form that they have to abide by. And there's a lot of maneuvering behind the scenes amongst some of the very strong and powerful religious leaders to try to keep him in line.

It is going to be very interesting to see what happens in the next presidential elections, because there is a lot brewing there with the reformists trying to come back. But one of the other things that has been characteristic of his presidency is this increased violation of human rights.

And one of Iran's signature human rights activists who was in jail for a long time, a journalist, has written an open letter to the secretary-general of the U.N., saying, look, you have invited the Iranian president here. We don't want war with Iran. But you need to hold Iran's feet to the fire on respecting the international conventions on human rights.

And there has been a huge crackdown on -- on all sorts of things under his presidency...

COOPER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: ... whether it is women, homosexuals, all sorts of...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Right. For him today to point blank say that they don't have homosexuals in Iran is just ludicrous.

AMANPOUR: It is bizarre.

COOPER: And, I mean, they -- there's now a very infamous photograph of two teenagers being hung, two gay teenagers.

AMANPOUR: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And this is something that -- that human rights groups wish that the West would make much more of a big deal about, human rights in Iran.

COOPER: Why does he do this? Why does he want to come here, make these kind of speeches, make these remarks about the Holocaust? What is the audience he is trying to reach?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think, to a great extent, his own hard-line audience, the ideologues, who are still the fundamentalist, hard-line adherents to the revolution of 28 years ago. I think that is absolutely clear. I think he also believes that he is some sort of a folk hero in the Islamic world. He believes that -- that those who are angry with the United States because of the Iraq war conversely admire him, because he stands up to the United States. I think he -- he sort of mistakes people's reactions.

But I think that he also believes that it -- that it is Iran's time to be a real power in the region. And he is trying to -- to position Iran. The problem is, I don't think he -- realizes how the belligerent, provocative, bellicose sort of rhetoric actually backfires against him.

But, you know, there -- there is no -- there is no -- there is no real sense of how to engage Iran, even by the West, not by the United States, not by the rest of the Western countries. So -- and, of course, until this nuclear issue is sorted out, it is going to -- it is going to continue in this regard.

COOPER: You are going to talk to the president on Wednesday?

AMANPOUR: I am, on Wednesday, yes.

COOPER: That will be interesting.

AMANPOUR: It will be interesting. You know, a lot of what he said today -- in fact, he didn't say anything new.

COOPER: Right.

AMANPOUR: He is saying the same things over and over again.

And I want to know, as you want to know, what is the end game? What -- what is the -- the goal, the long-term strategic goal, or even the short term goal?

COOPER: Christiane Amanpour, thanks.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We are going to have more insight on Ahmadinejad's regime in the "Raw Data" now.

The group Human Rights Watch says Iran executes more juvenile offenders than any other nation in the world. The organization says, since 2004, 17 Iranian teenagers have been condemned to death. The youngest sentenced was just 15 years old.

Straight ahead tonight: Should Columbia University have allowed Iran's president to speak? We will ask Columbia's Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia, that question. I found out if he thought Mr. Ahmadinejad answered any of the tough questions that he, himself, posed -- when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOLLINGER: Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.

(APPLAUSE)

BOLLINGER: And, so, I ask you -- and so I ask you, why have women, members of the Baha'i faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become target of persecution in your country?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That is Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, who tried harder today, and more boldly than most, to do what we all want to do, try to get Iran's president to honestly answer for his regime's actions -- not easy, some would say almost impossible.

I spoke at length with the president Bollinger earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Did he ask answer of the questions that you posed to him? I mean, you were very clear in your abhorrence of many of the things he stands for. You say you -- to him, you said, "You exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator." You said to him, "Why have women, members of the Baha'i faith, homosexuals, and so many of our academic colleagues become target of persecution in your country?"

You asked him about a host of issues. Did he actually answer anything?

BOLLINGER: I would say, in the course of the -- of the discussion today, it was a kind of rambling, mysterious discussion about some things. I don't quite know what he was trying to say.

I think, in other ways, he was -- continued the line of trying to be quite provocative and -- and somewhat clever. But I do not think that there was, on his part, a direct engagement of the issues.

COOPER: I know you -- you know you have received a great deal of criticism -- the university has.

I want to play some of what Senator McConnell said today, as also Senator Joe Lieberman said, about Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia. Let's listen.

BOLLINGER: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Think of the irony. Columbia University, home of the core curriculum that prizes an in-depth understanding of Western civilization and the free exchange of ideas, is bringing to its campus a state sponsor of terror. SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: Personally, I feel it was a terrible mistake for Columbia University to invite him to speak, because he comes, literally, with blood on his hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Do you agree that he has blood on his hands? Do -- do you regret him speaking today?

BOLLINGER: There are different approaches that -- that people take to -- to this.

Some people think it is better never to -- to listen to or confront people who -- who hold such terrible beliefs, have done terrible things. And others -- and I happen to be one of them -- and I think this is where speech has been, should be, and academic freedom has been and should be -- believe deeply in confronting people and confronting ideas, and really trying to understand what the world is like through that.

COOPER: Did you come away thinking he -- he was more dangerous than you had thought previously thought, or more clever, in way?

BOLLINGER: Yes.

I mean, I think -- I think there are a variety of -- of pictures of him that one gets through the media, which, by the way, is a -- I mean, trying to get an actual feeling for this is -- is, I think, a powerful reason for free speech here.

But I think, sometimes, presented as -- as highly foolish and -- and ignorant, and, other times, as evasive, and, other times, as highly clever and -- and disingenuous and provocative for ulterior and very clever purposes. I am more inclined towards the latter at this point than the former.

COOPER: It's been a fascinating day.

President Lee Bollinger, appreciate you being on. Thank you.

BOLLINGER: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, turning now to a disturbing story that, frankly, caught a lot of us by surprise. Some prescription drugs out on the market have never approved by the FDA. They're sold in major pharmacies. And most doctors prescribe them, thinking that the drugs went through a rigorous safety check, when, in fact, they never did.

CNN's Gary Tuchman went to the FDA to try to get some answers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are there dangerous drugs on the market today that are unapproved? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There may be some. And we are working very hard to target those as quickly as we can, to get them off of the market.

TUCHMAN: When you say maybe, you are not sure?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are some unapproved drugs on the market that pose risks. I do believe that.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But that just raises the question, why has the FDA allowed unapproved drugs in your pharmacy in the first place?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Good question. And which drugs are they? And are they in your medicine cabinet? Be sure to catch Gary's "Keeping Them Honest" report. That's tomorrow on 360.

Tonight, ahead, "Raw Politics," including allegations MoveOn.org got a sweetheart on its ad bashing General Petraeus, alligator wrestling, and pinning down President Bush on his favorite Democrat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: He says he won't do it.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will resist all temptation to become the pundit in chief.

COOPER: Sounds like George Bush.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't be prudent.

COOPER: But he just can't resist. So, who is his pick for the Democratic nod? Find out next.

Later: a teenager's harrowing story.

ELISSA WALL, ALLEGED VICTIM: I was sobbing. And my whole entire body was just shaking, because I was so, so scared. And he didn't say anything. He just laid me on the bed to have sex.

COOPER: Forced to marry at 14, hear the words she hopes will convict polygamist leader Warren Jeffs -- tonight on 360.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it hasn't happened since Richard Nixon was in office. Today tens of thousands of United Auto Workers went on strike at General Motors plants across the country.

The walkout was triggered by G.M.'s plans to put $51 billion in health care benefits into a trust. That strike comes at an interesting time for the Democratic presidential candidate. While some court unions, one is getting a major vote of confidence from the current commander-in-chief.

CNN's Tom Foreman has that and more on tonight's "Raw Politics".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Democrats are in labor. With labor in the news, all the big Dems are fighting to have the union label on their campaigns.

When it comes to labor endorsements, John Edwards is looking strong, and Barack Obama has just picked up support from the jail workers union in New York City.

But frontrunner Hillary Clinton has scored big. The 100,000- member bricklayers union is now behind her, pushing the notion that she is steaming away from the field.

Remember what President Bush said last spring?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will resist all temptation to become the pundit in chief. And commenting upon every twist and turn of the presidential campaign.

FOREMAN: Yes, but that was then. Now even he is saying the Hill will probably get the Democratic nomination, and Republicans are in for a tough fight to beat her.

"The New York Times" denied it at first, but now confirms that MoveOn.org got too sweet a deal to place that controversial anti-war ad. Move On paid about $65,000. It should have paid $142,000. The paper calls it a billing mistake. Move On says it will make up the difference.

And alligator wrestling. We know this is boring, but it's really important. Florida Democrats say they will proceed with an early primary vote in January, despite threats from national Democrats to strip the state of all of its convention delegates.

(on camera) So we'll see who backs down first, but here's the raw read. The Democrats could wind up being badly punished in the general election if Florida's voters feel pushed around over this primary issue, and right now, that's exactly how some of them feel -- Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Tom, thanks.

If you want more "Raw Politics" -- and frankly who doesn't -- and the day's headlines, check out our 360 daily podcast. All of the kids dig it, I'm told. You don't need an iPod. Just go to the CNN.com/AC360podcast thing or check it out at iTunes, where I'm told it is a -- quite a big hit. Now, here's John Roberts with what's coming tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" -- John.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Thanks, Anderson.

Tomorrow, we bring you the most news in the morning, including a exclusive look inside the FBI center responsible for keeping terrorists out of this country. How do they decide who goes on a watch list? What happens when a call comes in? We'll show it all, beginning at 6 a.m. on "AMERICAN MORNING" -- Anderson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: John, thanks very much. I don't know why I did that.

Still ahead on 360, the fate of a polygamist prophet with thousands of followers, well, it is now in the hands of a jury. They spent all evening deliberating. We're going to take you live to the courthouse.

We'll also take a closer look at the testimony from a former child bride, words that could bring down Warren Jeffs.

And new legal trouble for Michael Vick, why he could be headed back to court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Then we'll be in recess for the evening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That is the judge sending the jurors in the trial of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs home for the night. This was their first full day of deliberations. And late this afternoon, they told the judge they were deadlocked on one of two charges.

The judge told them to press on. They ordered in pizza and kept talking until the judge told them to go home. They're going to be back in the morning.

CNN's Gary Tuchman has been covering this trial in St. George, Utah. He joins me now -- Gary.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the jury said to the judge just now, "We are close to a verdict. We want to sleep on it."

And the judge said, "Come back tomorrow morning." So we expect to hear a verdict in this case of Warren Jeffs, the man who is believed to have dozens of wives, thousands of followers and perhaps only one more day of presumed innocence. He's charged with being an accomplice to rape. He allegedly ordered and then presided over the marriage of a 14-year-old girl named Elissa Wall to a 19-year-old man back in 2001. They consummated the marriage.

And why Warren Jeffs is on the FBI's ten most wanted list for months, because he's accused of doing it many times to many girls under the age of 18. But Elissa Wall is the only person who's come forward. And frankly, that's made it harder for the prosecution to prove this case.

That's an interesting aspect to this, the fact that Warren Jeffs was on the FBI ten most wanted list for months. Yet, the jury has now been deliberating for 13 hours over two days.

But once again, the jury says that it's close to a verdict, and we expect, most likely, to hear that answer tomorrow, Anderson.

COOPER: What's the sentence if he's found guilty?

TUCHMAN: Two counts, accomplice to rape. They're both the same count but different time periods. The first count is for the first three weeks of the marriage. The second count is for the last 2 1/2 years of the marriage. Each count, there is a possible sentence of five years to life.

So it's possible he could be found guilty on the first count and not guilty on the second or vice versa. Either way, though, five years to life, and then it's up to the judge to make the decision. That sentence would come within 45 days, if he's found guilty.

Important, though, Anderson, if he's not found guilty, he's not going to go free, because the state of Arizona also has a case against him. It's like the Arizona would take him away from jail here in Utah, bring him to a facility in Arizona, and he'd be tried there, also.

COOPER: All right. His communities span the Arizona-Utah border. Gary, appreciate it. We'll talk to you tomorrow.

The prosecution builds its case on the testimony of the star witness, the young woman who says that Warren Jeffs forced her to become a child bride. Gary told you that.

And the jury also heard from her former husband, who painted a much different picture of their relationship and of Warren Jeffs. No matter what the verdict turns out to be, the trial provided an unprecedented look inside the secret world of Jeffs' sect, a world which exists hiding in plain sight in America.

Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first time Elissa Wall had sex with her husband, she wanted the die. ELISSA WALL, ALLEGED VICTIM: I was sobbing and my entire body was just shaking, because I was so, so scared. And he didn't say anything; he just laid me on the bed. And had sex.

KAYE: Emotional testimony from the state's star witness against Warren Jeffs.

WALL: I was crying and I was like, "Please, I don't want you to do it. It doesn't feel right. Please stop. Please quit. I can't do this." Just begging him to stop or at least explain to me what he was doing.

KAYE: Jeffs, charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage, has denied doing anything wrong.

Wall, just 14 at the time, was so terrified and confused she hid in the bathroom and swallowed two bottles of painkillers. Prosecutors say Jeffs forced her to marry and have sex with her then 19-year-old cousin, Allen Steed.

ALLEN STEED, WITNESS FOR DEFENSE: I was tired enough. I went to work just in my work clothes. And she woke me up and asked me if I cared about her. I loved her, and I told her I did. She rolled up close to me, asked me to scratch my back and one thing led to the next, and we had sexual intercourse.

KAYE: Here's Wall being fitted for her wedding dress, a reminder to others how young she was.

Today, she's 21, remarried and a mother of two. She's legally changed her name and is in a witness protection program.

Wall met Jeffs when she was a little girl attending Alta Academy outside Salt Lake City where Jeffs was headmaster. Over the years Wall endured many of Jeffs' sermons like this one.

WARREN JEFFS, ON TRIAL FOR RAPE: Do you give yourself to him? That means in full obedience. You are literally taken from the father's home. And given to that man, and you belong to him.

KAYE (on camera): Wall and Jeffs are locked in another battle, too. She's negotiating for a significant settlement in her civil suit against him.

Among other things, Wall is proposing, as part of the settlement, the creation of $1 million education assistance fund for teens displaced from the polygamist community.

WALL: The purpose of the lawsuit is to give young girls the option and protection that I did not have.

KAYE: Instead of protection, Wall says she suffered in silence.

WALL: That obedience to the leaders of the FLDS community was to be completely willingly and sweetly, with no question, because they, as I said, were as God on earth, and they would lead us into the celestial kingdom or heaven.

KAYE: Instead, it led her and her prophet into court.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Fascinating.

Coming up tonight, we've got a rare look inside the Supreme Court in a moment, at a decision that literally changed the face of history.

Also, Iran's president, we're keeping him honest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): He says he doesn't want nuclear weapons. He says he wants peace and says there are no homosexuals in his country. Iran's president says a lot of things, so what does he mean? What does he want and how he is being received on this trip to America?

A fact check and analysis ahead on 360.

Plus remember the chaos of election 2000 in the Florida recount battle? Well, now for the first time, the hidden story behind the Supreme Court decision that settled the question and made George W. Bush president, only on 360.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The presidency is more than an honor. It is more than an office. It is a charge to keep, and I will give it my all. Thank you very much, and God bless America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A much younger looking President Bush. Those words actually from then president-elect George W. Bush nearly seven years ago after a Supreme Court decision ended the Florida recount and effectively gave him the presidency.

The decision, of course, changed the direction of this country, and few people know the story behind it, how it made Justice David Souter so distraught he almost resigned and how it set the foundation for a low profile attorney to become the most powerful justice in the land.

CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, tells us what really happened through his new book titled, "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court".

Tonight, he gives us a glimpse in this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (voice-over): When the Supreme Court gave Florida and the White House to George W. Bush, Justice Souter was distraught. This photo was snapped just hours after the momentous decision. He thought his colleagues had rejected law in favor of politics.

But what he couldn't have known was that an engineer of the legal victory for Bush was this man. A lawyer then, but now he's Chief Justice John Roberts.

Remember the chads, hanging and otherwise? Chaos, the battalions of lawyers, the hysteria?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us in! Let us in!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us in! Let us in!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us in! Let us in!

TOOBIN: And all the courts in Florida? And then finally the Supreme Court. At the time, few thought it would ever go to the Supreme Court.

THOMAS GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: No one believed that the justices were hungry to interject themselves into the middle of the dispute.

TOOBIN: But in Tallahassee, working with the Bush teams behind the scenes was a high-powered but low profile Washington attorney, John Roberts.

MICHAEL CARVIN, CO-COUNSEL FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: John's role, while very helpful, was limited in the sense of being a consigliere.

TOOBIN: Consigliere, the wise counselor, and Republican lawyers assumed the Supreme Court would never get involved in a white-hot political case, but not all of them.

(on camera) One expert on the U.S. Supreme Court who was on your team was John Roberts.

CARVIN: Right.

TOOBIN: And he was one who was saying the Supreme Court is going to take this case.

CARVIN: There was a strong view, voiced by then John Roberts and then lawyer John Roberts and others that if -- if the Florida Supreme Court overrode its prerogatives, that the U.S. Supreme Court would step in and correct it.

TOOBIN: And Roberts was right.

CARVIN: He was right.

TOOBIN (voice-over): Michael Carvin helped lead the Republican legal team in Florida. The turning point in the election, in his mind, was the Florida court's inconsistent rules for a recount.

CARVIN: Indeed, we were hoping, in a sense, that the Florida Supreme Court would make such a bollocks of state law that it would get the attention of the federal courts, and that's what they certainly did.

TOOBIN: It was former Chief Justice William Rehnquist who began the proceeding.

WILLIAM REHNQUIST, FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT: We'll hear argument now on No. 00949, George W. Bush and Richard Cheney versus Albert Gore, et al.

TOOBIN: Bitterly divided, the Rehnquist court would rule 5 to 4 the Florida Supreme Court was wrong, meaning the controversial vote count in Florida would stand. George W. Bush would win the White House.

And that decision is what led to this haunting photograph of Justice Souter as he left the court that day. Souter, an unlikely liberal, appointed by the first President Bush, was a dissenter in the Florida ruling. The decision devastated him. He told friends he was outraged by what his colleagues had done.

And of course, what he could not have known is the reward that would go to the man who helped engineer that Supreme Court strategy. He could not have known that five years later, Bush would name John Roberts chief justice of the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Jeff Toobin joins us now.

Jeff, congratulations on the book. It's remarkable work.

TOOBIN: Thank you.

JEFF: I read it this weekend. And you write that that decision is one of the lowest points in the court's history.

TOOBIN: You know, I -- the book I don't think is terribly opinionated except about Bush v. Gore, because I really do think it was a very disappointing decision on the part of the court, because they went back on so many of what their usual principles were -- states rights, limited equal protection -- that this was something that they did that was so out of character that looked like they were going out of their way to help one side, one political side rather than the other.

COOPER: And we all -- I mean, a lot of people think of the court as insulated from politics, but as you read in your book, it's really not. TOOBIN: It's not. I mean, these are human beings. And they come to these cases with very clear ideological profiles. There's nothing wrong with it. There's nothing sinister about it.

But they are very different in how they look at these cases. And John Roberts -- and I mean, there was nothing wrong with being a private lawyer in that case. He was doing what lawyers do, but the stakes in that case were so high. Look at the reward that he got.

COOPER: Quite a reward indeed.

I want to embarrass you, though, by reading part of the "New York Times" review of your book from this weekend, which says, and I quote, "Driven by the author's assured narrative voice 'The Nine' is as informative as it is fascinating, as insightful as it is readable."

Congratulations.

TOOBIN: Thanks.

COOPER: Very good review.

Why did you write this book now?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, the court is really at a turning point. The court is about to be -- I mean, it's gotten much more conservative with the addition of John Roberts.

COOPER: And this next election is key.

TOOBIN: The next election is key, with John Roberts and Samuel Alito joining Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas, there are four solid votes. But the three most likely justices to leave are Justice Stephens, Justice Souter and Justice Ginsberg, all in the liberal.

This court is going to be very conservative for a generation. And if a Republican replaces them, and that you know, that should -- that's how it should be.

COOPER: And if a Republican replaces them, Roe v. Wade almost certainly will be overturned.

TOOBIN: I believe so. I don't see any way that Roe survives, but it shouldn't. You know, presidents who are opposed to Roe have been appointing justices for years. You know, that's what these elections are about, whether these presidential candidates stand for things, as far as the Supreme Court goes.

COOPER: You are not saying that it should, but you're saying...

TOOBIN: I'm saying that's how the system is supposed the work.

Eleven of the last 13 justices have been appointed by Republican presidents. It's kind of a surprise that Roe survives at all as it is.

COOPER: And in your book, you write about how it has survived up to this point, which is fascinating, in and of itself.

Again the book is "The Nine". Jeff Toobin.

TOOBIN: Tomorrow, we've got another part. Tomorrow, we've got the unlikely story of President Ford's influence on the court 30 -- 20 years after he left office.

COOPER: Excellent. Cool. And a lot of -- what's so great about the book, too, is you really see a lot of the personalities of the people behind the court and things which you never -- you know, all these details about, like, David Souter that you just had no idea.

Anyway, Jeff, we'll talk to you tomorrow.

TOOBIN: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next on the program, he got a plea deal, but prosecutors aren't finished with former NFL star Michael Vick, why he could face more dog fighting charges next. That's Jeff's next book. Also a deadly -- not really.

A deadly prison break. She what went down and how it ended when 360 returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Michael Vick might have thought that his problems were over when he copped a plea in the dog fighting case, but those were federal charges he pleaded to.

Now a prosecutor back in Virginia says he'll also seek indictments against the star quarterback. No specifics yet. Mr. Vick faces up to five years in prison on the federal charges. He's going to find out in the next several months what more he may be facing.

We're following several other stories, as well. Tonight, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with a 360 business bulletin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, at least 15 people were killed, 23 others wounded in a suicide bombing in Baquba tonight in Iraq. That attack took place at a meeting between prominent Sunnis and Shiites as they discussed disagreements between them. Among the dead is the commander of Jalal (ph) province's military operations.

Near Huntsville, Texas, a deadly prison escape. Two inmates fled from field work in a stolen pickup tuck. They ran over a female prison guard, killing her.

One of the inmates was found within an hour. The other was caught a couple hours later by police searching the woods on horseback with bloodhounds.

Across the country, 73,000 United Auto Workers have walked off the job and joined picket lines outside General Motors plants. Operations at 80 GM plants were shut down.

Union leaders say the nation's largest automaker isn't willing to meet them halfway in the negotiations. The big issue here is really job security for union workers.

GM says it is committed to working with the union to develop solutions together.

And on Wall Street this Monday, plenty of applause and pictures being taken as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice rang the opening bell.

At the end of the session, though, a different mood. Stocks fell (ph) today, the Dow falling 61 points. The NASDAQ was off three. The S&P is off as well, Anderson.

COOPER: Erica, time for "The Shot of the Day". We take you to Australia. Meet Mick. That's the nick name given to the rare pure white koala found sick in the bush. Aww.

HILL: Hi, Mick.

COOPER: He's back there after getting treated at a koala hospital. Apparently, they have those in Australia.

HILL: Who knew?

COOPER: Yes, he got tight security, because doctors and others fear that Mick could have been the target of thieves, since he's so rare. There are only a handful of pure white koalas in Australia. Not an albino, you might be wondering.

HILL: No?

COOPER: Doctors say his white color is due to a recessive gene.

HILLS: Interesting. I've learned several things tonight, Anderson Cooper. Thank you.

HILL: That's my job. Erica, thanks.

We want you to send us your shot ideas. If you see a rare koala, tell us about it: CNN.com/360. And we'll put some of the koalas on the air.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Up next, no more koalas. The war of words. A university president taking on the president of Iran. His fighting words and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's surprising response, when 360 continues after this short break.

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