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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Sanctuary Mansion; The Truth About Iran; Millionaire Mystery Death; States of Emergency

Aired December 4, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Was he selling Iran as a nuclear threat when he already knew or should have known that the CIA and 15 other intelligence agencies were ready to say that it wasn't?
And later in the hour, states of emergency. A monster storm leaves at least five dead, two states under water. We will have late details and where the storm is now heading.

Plus, inside a bizarre cult. They preach pedophilia and turned that young man into a suicidal killer bent on revenge. The strange story in the hour ahead.

But we begin, as we always do, "Keeping them Honest." Tonight, campaign '08's Republican version of campaign '92 Bill Clinton bimbo eruptions. Call them illegal immigrant outbreaks. There's a new one tonight, and Mitt Romney is on the hot seat.

At least week's YouTube debate, he threw the first stone at Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of making New York into a sanctuary for illegals. Giuliani returned fire. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Governor Romney, was New York a sanctuary city?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. It called itself a sanctuary city. And as a matter of fact, when the Welfare Reform Act that President Clinton brought forward said that they were going to end the sanctuary policy of New York City, the mayor actually brought a suit to maintain its sanctuary city status.

GIULIANI: It's unfortunate, but Mitt generally criticizes people in a situation in which he's had far the worse record.

For example, in his case, there were six sanctuary cities. He did nothing about them. There was even a sanctuary mansion. At his own home, illegal immigrants were being employed so I would say he had sanctuary mansion, not just sanctuary city.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, tonight, that mansion is back in the headlines.

CNN's John King has details. He is on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, "Keeping them Honest."

John, what is the story?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a highly embarrassing disclosure tonight, and actions taken by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a candidate who, as you know, has made tough talk against illegal immigration a centerpiece of his campaign for the Republican nomination.

The governor forced to acknowledge today that illegal immigrants were still working for a landscaping company that worked on his home in the Boston suburb of Belmont a year after Governor Romney had promised he had taken care of this issue.

This all coming to light because of a "Boston Globe" report that noted, among things, at least two illegal immigrants were working at the Romney home the morning after that YouTube debate exchange you just played with Mayor Giuliani.

Now, once confronted by this evidence by "The Boston Globe" today, Governor Romney says he quickly took action.

In a letter to the landscaping action, he said this: "Given your company's disregard for the clear instructions provided on this issue last year, I am forced to terminate my contract with your company, effective immediately. My family will no longer utilize your services and all scheduled visits are canceled as of today."

Then, in a campaign statement, Governor Romney went on to say this: "The company's failure to comply with the law is disappointing and inexcusable, and I believe it is important I take this action."

Now, his campaign is saying, with this action today, they believe they have acted decisively and put this behind them. But, Anderson, even some of the governor's own advisers and other campaign consultants not involved in the presidential race I talked to tonight say, this is an unpredictable one.

Why? Because immigration is the defining issue in the Republican race, number one when voters in Iowa are asked, what is your issue, number two when voters, Republicans here in New Hampshire, are asked, what are the issues?

As we have been talking for some time, quicksand -- illegal immigration is the quicksand of American politics. And you might say tonight, Anderson, the governor has stepped in it.

COOPER: And stepped in it big time.

But let's bring in CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. She is on the campaign trail in Des Moines, Iowa.

Candy, how big of a blow, and a lasting blow, is this for Romney's campaign?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm not sure we can now predict sort of how lasting it's going to be. But, listen, this fits into a narrative. Politics is about issues, but it's also about symbols. What is the narrative that critics are trying to draw around Mitt Romney? It is that he flip- flops. It's that he says one thing and does something else, that he says one thing and then says something else.

So, now, along comes this issue, as John said, which is very big. The Republicans have been trying to out-tough each other on this, Mitt Romney trying to be the toughest of all. Then it comes along that, of course, he has had these illegal immigrants working for a landscaping company that he employed.

So, you can expect to hear this. It is trouble for him because it is symbolic and goes again to that storyline that critics are trying to write around Mitt Romney.

COOPER: John, has Rudy Giuliani said anything about this tonight?

KING: No.

All the Giuliani campaign tonight will say, Anderson, is that they believe Governor Romney's statement speaks for itself. And Giuliani aides will tell you privately they are following what they believe is a classic role in politics. When your candidate -- when a rival candidacy is in trouble, and it is trouble of his own making, don't add fuel to the fire. Just see how long it burns.

COOPER: Just see -- man -- politics.

Candy, what about other opponents? Are they reacting?

CROWLEY: Well, as a matter of fact, there are some people not following that rule of politics.

Todd Harris, who is spokesman for Fred Thompson said this: "First, Mitt Romney was for illegal immigrants working on his lawn, and then he was against it, then for it, and now I guess he's against it again. Sounds a lot like his position on amnesty."

So, you know, again, they can have some fun with this on the other campaigns. This is something that will come up. It brings up, again, the flip-flopping, as you can see. And it goes to a larger problem here, they think, about Mitt Romney.

COOPER: And it couldn't happen probably at a worse time for Mitt Romney, with his big speech on Thursday he plans to make about his faith, which, of course, we will be covering.

Candy, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

John, as well, on the campaign trail for us tonight.

Now we turn to Iran, nukes, and what exactly did President Bush know when he was selling Iran as a threat, unparalleled to the region and even the world. A new national intelligence estimate, which speaks for the entire American intelligence community, concludes that Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons four years ago.

President Bush's national security adviser says the president was, at the very least, aware four months ago that his intelligence agencies were reassessing the Iranian threat. Yet, for those same four months, Mr. Bush beat the drums of war and maintained Iran was actively working on nukes.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is up to Iran to prove to the world that they are a stabilizing force, as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon.

This is a leader who has made very provocative statements. And we have made it clear, however, in spite of that, that we are willing to sit down with him, so long as he suspends his program, his nuclear weapons program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That last comment was from the 3rd of October.

On the 17th, as you will hear in a moment, Mr. Bush warned of World War III if no one stopped Iran's pursuit of the bomb, a pursuit the new intelligence report says had been abandoned back in 2003.

So, the question tonight, what did the president know about that report and when did he know it? And what is actually in the report itself?

CNN's Tom Foreman has the "Raw Politics."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here we go again. That's what White House critics have said for months as the president has railed at Iran over nukes. Even in the face of this new report, he still says:

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran was dangerous. Iran is dangerous.

FOREMAN: All that talk has spurred speculation about a possible military strike on Iran. After all, it does sound familiar.

BUSH: I believe Saddam Hussein is a threat to the American people. And I have got good evidence to believe that. He has weapons of mass destruction, and he has used weapons of mass destruction.

FOREMAN: The "Raw Politics" read: Today's report does show apparent contradictions in what the president knew and what he said.

For example, the president has long implied that Iran is not responding enough to international pressure, even though the report says that is just what shut down Iran's nuke program in 2003.

(on camera): He also kept pushing his anti-Iran talk even when he knew the intelligence community was reevaluating Iran's nuclear threat.

(voice-over): Listen to him in October, saying Iran had to be dealt with.

BUSH: I told people that if you are interested in avoiding World War III...

FOREMAN: He says he heard the details of the new report only last week, but nonetheless, all of that talk may be costly now.

ROBIN WRIGHT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Because this is just the moment that the Bush administration has been pushing for a new resolution against Iran at the United Nations. And it has been desperately trying to rally Chinese and Russian support for more punitive sanctions against Tehran. And it has already been difficult. And this may make it impossible.

FOREMAN: The report is making it easier for Iranian officials to accuse President Bush of lying about what they call their peaceful nuclear program, but they're not telling the whole story either.

DAVID ALBRIGHT, FORMER U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: What Iran's done is -- is picked up one part of the report.

FOREMAN: David Albright is with the Institute for Science and International Security.

ALBRIGHT: Well, it is actually saying that it may not be possible to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

FOREMAN: In other words, the report says Iran remains a real threat, if not the imminent threat that we have heard about in all the "Raw Politics" -- Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, up next, hear the president, himself, explain what he knew and when. We will talk about it with Former Presidential Adviser David Gergen, Christiane Amanpour, and Middle East Scholar Reza Aslan.

And later, the bizarre and mysterious death of this man, a wealthy hedge fund manager. He was a regular on CNBC talking about money, but now many in Florida are talking about this very twisted case -- details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Digging deeper now into the new report on Iran's nuclear program, what President Bush knew about it and when.

Before the break, you heard the president sounding the warning call about Iran, even though he was told four months ago that the intelligence community was reassessing the threat.

Here is Mr. Bush's explanation at a press conference today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I was made aware of the NIE last week.

In August, I think it was John -- Mike McConnell came in and said, we have some new information. He didn't tell me what the information was. He did tell me it was going to take a while to analyze.

Why would you take time to analyze new information?

One, you want to make sure it's not disinformation. You want to make sure the piece of intelligence you have is real.

And secondly, they want to make sure they understand the intelligence they gathered. If they think it's real, then what does it mean?

And it wasn't until last week that I was briefed on the NIE that is now public.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: This is the same administration, of course, accused of stove-piping raw intelligence in the buildup to the war in Iraq.

Mr. Bush is saying now he was told about the existence of new intelligence, but he didn't ask for the details, even though they had to do with what he was calling a threat to the region and the world. Does that make any sense?

Let's ask David Gergen, who has been inside the Oval Office when intelligence like this comes in. He knows how presidents -- Democratic and Republican -- make decisions.

He joins me now, along with CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour, and Middle East Scholar Reza Aslan.

David, does the president's explanation make sense to you?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: No, it does not.

And the whole thing is inexplicable. That is why this is so -- so head-turning -- head-snapping -- we know, Anderson, from a lot of reporting, that the president was given indications by the intel community back in August, September, that they had fresh intelligence that suggested perhaps Iran had stopped.

And I can just guarantee you, when they write one of these NIEs, as it is called, it takes a while to do that. They get a consensus among 16 agencies. That means, at the highest levels of this government, there has been an understanding that they were moving toward that consensus for some time. And so, it's -- so, for the president to go out, as he did in mid-October, only six weeks ago, and talk about World War III, for the vice president to go out, it is inexplicable. It -- it sounds like saber-rattling of the worst sort. And it added to the fears over oil prices. I mean, this world economy has been -- has been fearful we were in a rush to war in Iran.

COOPER: And given what happened with the run-up to the war in Iraq, it is remarkable the administration would find itself in this position.

Reza, a lot of neoconservatives are skeptical of this new NIE, key -- of the key judgments in it. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said this earlier on CNN.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SITUATION ROOM")

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: I think there's a very real risk here that the intelligence community is like generals fighting the last war. They got Iraq wrong and they're overcompensating by understating the potential threat from Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: First of all, it -- it wasn't the generals, as I recall, who got Iraq wrong. It seems to me it was their civilian overseers in this administration. But they say the NIE is not accurate.

Is it possible that the NIE is underestimating the threat?

GERGEN: It's...

(CROSSTALK)

REZA ASLAN, AUTHOR, "NO GOD BUT GOD": Probably not.

COOPER: Reza?

ASLAN: Well, I would say probably not. I mean, the reason that I say that is because it seems to me that, in some way, the NIE and the -- and the intelligence community has learned a lesson from Iraq. This -- this report seems to be far less concocted through -- through the pressure from the administration.

It seems as though there was a much more rigorous attempt made to -- to not over hype the -- the intelligence and to be very, very careful about the language that it -- was used.

I will say, however, that I think John Bolton would probably find fault with almost anything when it comes to either Iran or North Korea.

COOPER: Christiane, weeks ago, Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, said there was no evidence that Iran was building a nuke. Today, China said, now things have changed. How does this report impact U.S. efforts to build a consensus around the world against Iran?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends what the way forward is right now.

Clearly, there are many in the allied community, including in Europe, who believe the pressure should be kept on, because, despite the NIE assessment, Iran is still seeking to enrich uranium for its civilian nuclear program, it says. But many believe it should still be watched and indeed still be 100 percent transparent about its activities.

But I think the real issue is that this NIE assessment has -- is a huge story. What it has done is debunked the notion that immediate and potentially military action needs to be taken to stop any kind of Iran nuclear program.

And therefore, that gives time to figure out how to deal with it diplomatically. So, will the United States and its allies decide that the way to deal with it is to keep only the pressure on Iran, or will the United States and its allies decide to try to figure out a new way of dealing and engaging with Iran?

President Bush seemed to say in his press conference that it was all really bad in Iran since Ahmadinejad became elected president. And it is true Ahmadinejad's very bellicose public rhetoric has put Iran on a very, very bad footing with the international community.

However, it's disingenuous to suggest that the administration thought that things were potentially more constructive under Khatami, because the administration -- this Bush administration, rebuffed overtures for putting all issues on the table by the reformist government in Iran under Mohammad Khatami, and, indeed, called that government part of the axis of evil.

So, now there is a choice in going forward. How will they take it?

COOPER: David, former CIA officer Bob Baer said -- and I quote -- "The real story behind this NIE is that the Bush administration has finally concluded, Iran is a bridge too far."

Do you see it as that? Is the -- by the president releasing it, does it show some sort of change of heart or course?

GERGEN: No, I don't think so.

Anderson, it is important to remember that this -- this report was ordered up by the Congress in 2006. I think they were under a lot of pressure. It was going to come out when it went to the Congress. And one has to wonder, if the Congress had not demanded it, whether we would even know today that Iran was -- had halted.

I do think it has left the -- the intelligence community battered again, because, here once again, some of its earlier intelligence has been found to have been faulty. After all, just in 2005, they expressed high confidence that -- that Iran was working to build -- to build a nuclear weapon.

And now they have come back and said, they have high confidence that was wrong. So, you don't -- you don't know what to believe. I think one of the things that leads -- that is going to lead the international community to think this most recent report is probably the right one is, it is in alignment with the Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, which -- and ElBaradei -- who have been saying, basically, that we don't think they are on a rush to build nuclear weapons, and calm down here.

ElBaradei is one of the winners out of this, as is, unfortunately, Vladimir Putin. That's very unfortunate.

COOPER: Yes, David, we have got to leave it there.

David Gergen, Christiane Amanpour, Reza Aslan, appreciate your expertise.

The question remains, of course unanswered at this point also is, how does this play out on the campaign trail? Hillary Clinton supporting the resolution condemning Iraq's Revolutionary Guard, other Democratic candidates not. This, no doubt, will be brought up on the campaign trail, certainly among the Democrats.

Straight ahead tonight, entire towns in Washington and Oregon under water or buried in mud. Thousands have been evacuated so far. And get ready. It is heading east. We have got Chad Myers tracking late developments with a storm of misery.

We will have that and these stories:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): Death in paradise.

FILOMENA TOBIAS, WIFE OF SETH TOBIAS: He's not breathing. I told you that! Please send somebody. Please.

COOPER: A wealthy hedge fund manager floating face down in the pool. Now the mystery deepens. Was it murder? Was his wife involved? And what about an exotic dancer named Tiger?

Also tonight: how this man snapped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my weapon of choice.

COOPER: And his twisted upbringing in a cult that preyed on kids -- stalking, murder, suicide. But this strange and twisted story isn't over yet -- the latest, only on 360.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, you are going to hear a very strange story about a very wealthy man whom you might recognize from daytime television.

His named Seth Tobias. And he appeared frequently on CNBC talking about money and high finance. That's him. He is now dead. He was found floating in his pool in Florida.

Now, depending on whom you believe, he was either the victim of his own excess or the victim of murder. We will let you be the judge.

CNN's John Zarrella reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SETH TOBIAS, HEDGE FUND MANAGER: Sell 10,000 Wal-Mart at 44.25.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Seth Tobias had it all, but there was one thing his money could not buy.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 DISPATCHER: I need you to see if he is breathing or not.

FILOMENA TOBIAS, WIFE OF SETH TOBIAS: He's not breathing! I told you that. Please send somebody. Please.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: A Wall Street wunderkind, at just 44, Tobias was running his own hedge fund.

He also became a frequent financial analyst on TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

S. TOBIAS: But the market has actually had a very big decline.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: Off camera, Tobias was living it up, buying this lavish estate near tony (ph) West Palm Beach. A couple of years ago, Tobias married a woman named Filomena. In no time, the couple became a fixture in Florida's society world.

(on camera): But, according to "The New York Times," the couple also did something else together. They enjoyed going to a local gay club.

And it was at Cupids where, according to "The Times," Tobias allegedly developed a liking for a mysterious man who called himself Tiger, a gay dancer with tiger-like tattoos covering his body.

(voice-over): Over time, Tobias' relationship with his wife turned sour. He filed for divorce in 2006. But they were still living together last September when Filomena says she came home and found him floating face down in the pool.

She says she then dragged him out before making this 911 call:

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

F. TOBIAS: He's answering me. Please, ma'am, just send me somebody.

911 DISPATCHER: Ma'am, where is he?

F. TOBIAS: He's outside of the pool. Please, just send me somebody.

911 DISPATCHER: OK. I have help on the way. What is your name?

F. TOBIAS: I am his wife, Filomena.

911 DISPATCHER: I need you to see if he is breathing or not.

F. TOBIAS: He's not breathing! I told you that. Please send somebody. Please. I don't know what's wrong with him.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: Police responded and found his body. But Filomena refused to let police in the house, according to "The New York Times" and local news reports. Court TV's Jami Floyd says that's perfectly legal.

JAMI FLOYD, COURT TV ANCHOR: Jurors are going to say, look, if you have got nothing to hide, you let police in.

But defense attorneys -- and I'm one of those -- we are very cynical. We don't trust the police. And we know that, as a matter of constitutional law, you do not have to talk to the police, and you do not have to grant them access to your property.

ZARRELLA: How did he die? Police are still waiting for the answer.

SERGEANT SCOTT PASCARELLA, JUPITER, FLORIDA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: As of today, our case status has not changed. It's still a death investigation and awaiting toxicology results from the medical examiner's office.

ZARRELLA: But Tobias' brothers, in legal documents filed in litigation over Tobias' $25 million estate, say Filomena drugged Tobias, then lured him into the pool with a promise of sex with Tiger.

Filomena denies the allegations. Her lawyer tells CNN, there is no validity to these claims and the facts will bear that out.

No criminal charges have been filed. Police say it is still an open investigation. And Mrs. Tobias' attorneys told CNN there would be no comment during the ongoing litigation over the estate. This mystery is only deepening. Documents from an unrelated case show, Mrs. Tobias paid more than $9,000 to have the pool drained and resurfaced just days after her husband's death.

FLOYD: Whatever happened here, Seth Tobias was living fast and furiously with all that money, and it didn't save him. He is 44 years old, and he can't take it with him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: John, when are investigators going to get this toxicology report?

ZARRELLA (on camera): Anderson, the medical examiners had the case now for a couple of months. So, the police, in the next -- could be within the next few days, should have the toxicology back.

That will give them some of the answers they need. And we will -- we will all know whether there is anything more to this than just a very tragic death.

COOPER: Yes, tragic, indeed.

John, appreciate the reporting.

Up next, the Pineapple Express. It sounds like something Steve McGarrett should be investigating. But, in fact, it is a deadly weather pattern that pummeled the Pacific Northwest, raising water levels up to 25 feet in 48 hours, thousands evacuated, tens of thousands without power. How long will the storm last? And where is it headed next?

That is what we will find out, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That's just a taste of what the Pacific Northwest is dealing with tonight. Back-to-back storms have left major fallout in their wake, including at least five deaths. Thousands are without power, and flooding has shut down major highways and roadways. The governors of Oregon and Washington have declared states of emergency.

CNN's Chad Myers joins me now from the weather center.

Chad, where -- what are we looking at?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, right now, the storm has really broken off, Anderson. It's just turned into an Alberta clipper, making snow for Chicago and Milwaukee.

I'm going to back you up a couple of days, when the winds were blowing 100 miles per hour. And then what you alluded to -- this pineapple express, or this pineapple connection came into play.

Now what is it? Well, Hawaii has pineapples. And when you get a flow that comes from the tropical Pacific, like Hawaii, and it blows on up either into Washington, Oregon -- it can go to British Columbia or it can go into California -- we call this connection the pineapple express. A pineapple connection getting -- bringing all of that tropical moisture in the air and dumping it on the land.

This connection was into Washington and Oregon the past couple of days. And what you're seeing here, this is the Chehalis River in Chehalis, Washington.

And this connection will change; it's changing right now. The moisture and the rain is pretty much done for Washington and Oregon.

But by Friday, this connection will work its way a little bit farther to the south and be into California, with another big round of rain for California.

They had that round of rain, well, a couple of days ago, making the mudslides. That was like a Friday night. And then there will be another round of rain this coming Friday night.

The good news is this water that you see here -- this is Centralia; this is Chehalis. That's actually, right there at the airport. They did get most of those planes to high ground.

This guy right here -- we didn't know the story here, but he's actually going to the Wal-Mart. There's a bunch of people standing right there in the Wal-Mart waiting for him to come here. They loaded a bunch of stuff into his boat, and they got it out of there. I don't know what they were loading or unloading, but they sure have a mess there in central Washington, Oregon.

And then into the mountains, Anderson, they had three feet of snow. Now that's great if you can ski in it, if you can get there, if you didn't get struck trying to get out there.

COOPER: Those pictures are unbelievable.

Chad, thanks.

MYERS: They really are.

COOPER: Moving on, indictments in the Sean Taylor murder case. Erica Hill has that and more in a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a grand jury has indicted four men in the shooting death of NFL Star Sean Taylor. Three appeared in court today by video conference. All were denied bail.

The fourth defendant, who is a juvenile, is expected in court tomorrow.

In England a jailed teacher is back home. Gillian Gibbons arriving in London after serving more than a week behind bars in Sudan for allowing her students to name the class teddy bear Mohamed. Her crime, according to the Sudanese, insulting Islam.

Gibbons says she went to Sudan for an adventure and got more than she bargained for.

And the mastery of memory. Well, turns out it's the chimpanzees. Japanese researchers say 5-year-old chimps did better than college students when it came to short-term memory tests like remembering numbers on a TV screen. When the numbers were shown for just a fifth of a second, the chimps got 80 percent right. Compare that with just 40 percent for the humans.

But don't worry here. Researchers did find the older the chimp, the worse they did on the test. In fact, older chimps actually scored worse than their human counterpart.

COOPER: Yes!

HILL: There's a little hope. We win as we get old.

COOPER: Score one for the humans.

HILL: How about that?

COOPER: You know, this is not news to me. I paid chimps all throughout college to take my tests for me.

HILL: That explains the grades.

COOPER: That's right.

HILL: So it's all a sham, Anderson Cooper, is that what you're saying.

COOPER: Basically. You're going to have to talk to my attorney, who is, by the way, a chimp.

Speaking of memory, here's something I doubt you will ever forget. A bizarre way to learn English. We saw this video on Andrew Sullivan's Web site. He got it from YouTube. We want to know "What Were They Thinking?" And perhaps eating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: What is this? What are they selling? Beans?

COOPER: It's -- yes. I don't know, with that kind of problem, I'm not sure why they're smiling and making all those moves.

HILL: No.

COOPER: But they're the Zuiikin gals of "Zuiikin English," a Japanese TV show where viewers learn how to speak English.

HILL: And do aerobics at the same time? COOPER: Exactly. Not sure why they don't stick to the basics, like "Hello, how are you?" But apparently, "I have a bad case of diarrhea" is an important thing to know.

Let's check them out once again. Let's see what they're up to now?

HILL: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Oh, they're still doing the same thing.

HILL: Look. It's the same thing.

COOPER: They go on and on like that for quite some time.

HILL: What is tomorrow's show, "I'm going to vomit?"

You know, that does so remind me of another one of our favorite Japanese TV moments around here. One of your personal favorites, I believe, Seamanship. Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Yes. You know, if you put together the diarrhea moves and the seamanship moves, you'd have quite a routine there.

COOPER: Oh, yes. It's -- yes, it's quite something. There you go. And I'm not sure what the "P-Low the Skillful Abbot" is at the top, the little graphic there. But it's all -- it's all very strange.

HILL: Lord only knows.

COOPER: "What Were They Thinking?"

HILL: Some poor tourist is going to come up to you on the street, by the way, and say, "I have a bad case of diarrhea." And you'll just laugh.

COOPER: And I will break out the aerobics moves.

Erica, thanks.

I don't think that's the last we've seen of that video.

Now here's Kiran Chetry with what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING." Bet they don't have... (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIRAN CHETRY, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Thanks, Anderson.

Wake up to the most news in the morning, including a rumor that just won't die in the race for president. E-mails are being forwarded around about Barack Obama being a Muslim, even though he says he's a Christian.

CNN investigated rumors about Obama being schooled at a madrassa. Those turned out to be untrue. Tomorrow, how the Obama campaign is working to make sure that a rumor doesn't ruin his chances in the race.

"AMERICAN MORNING" starts at 6 a.m., Eastern.

Anderson, back to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Just ahead on 360, three extraordinary teenagers, all finalists in our "CNN Heroes," an all-star tribute. We call them young wonders. And once you see what they have accomplished, you'll understand why. Their story is next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, we continue our countdown to "CNN Heroes," an all-star tribute. A campaign involving more than 7,000 online nominations from you telling us about unsung heroes in some 93 different countries. After weeks of deliberations, we narrowed the field to 18 finalists. And in just two days -- on Thursday night in a live global broadcast that I'll co-host with Christiane Amanpour, we'll honor six of those finalists.

Tonight, we introduce you to four more of them, starting with three we call "Young Wonders."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're on.

KAYLA CORNALE, CNN HERO: My cousin, Lorinna (ph), she's 11 years old and she's diagnosed with a form of autism.

I knew that at sometimes at family gatherings she would not want to talk to others. Or she'd be to herself or just little things like that. But I just saw that she had an interest in music. She might not necessarily remember something that you say to her, but she'd remember song lyrics.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

About one child out of 150 is born with autism.

Source: Autism Society of America (END GRAPHIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember this song? We've listened to that before.

CORNALE: So I thought if she likes music, why don't I create something that she likes already and then she can build upon that?

My name's Kayla Cornale and I'm from Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

I thought that if I could maybe teach her a few letters of the alphabet or teach her a little bit about the emotions and how to express herself, she'd feel better about herself and we'd all be able to interact with her better because she's got a great sense of humor. She's a very fun kid to be around.

That's what kind of drove me to take a different route. And I thought maybe I could take this 26 letters of the alphabet and just place them on the central 26 keys of the piano keyboard so to identify each letter now with a sound rather than just an isolated symbol you can't really have any feeling for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: K -- A -- Y...

CORNALE: After working a year exclusively on the piano keys, I saw that she had now mastered the alphabet. So I moved to the computer keyboard.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Kayla's "Sounds into Syllables" is currently being tested in three Ontario school districts.

(END GRAPHIC)

CORNALE: Oh, you said "E" before. What's that -- this letter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's "A."

CORNALE: That is "A."

I started to implement the use of animation, bringing this to the computer. And when I did that, she just -- boom -- immediately had a lot of interest in it. We got to the point where she could sit down at the computer for over an hour, and I'd have to tell her that the lesson was over. She'd want to keep going.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're rolling.

JOSH MILLER, CNN HERO: During my sophomore year, one of my good friends, Eddie Lopez, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting by gang members in a case of mistaken identity. He was an honors student. He was supposed to be the first member in his family to go to college. And he talked a lot about how -- in honor and AP classes at Santa Monica High School -- there weren't a lot of minority students.

And so after he died, I worked hard and really focused on trying to solve the problems that me and Eddie talked about.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Minority students make up half of Santa Monica High School's student body.

Yet only 10 percent are enrolled in its advanced placement classes.

(END GRAPHIC)

MILLER: My name is Josh Miller and I am 17 years old. I'm a senior at Santa Monica High School. I'm the president and founder of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Youth Foundation.

Our main purpose is to help provide students from all backgrounds, regardless of their race or how much money their family makes, with an equal opportunity to succeed in school and in life.

I think it's important to focus on something that some people would see as trivial as AP and honors classes because those AP and honors classes help determine what kind of college you get into. What kind of college you get into helps determine what kind of job you get. And what kind of job you get helps determine how much money you make and your status. And your status ultimately determines what respect you receive from others around you.

So I started working with schools in different parts of Los Angeles, less fortunate neighborhoods, and I created a Rewards for Results program which provides students who are underachieving with a reward if they meet a certain goal that their counselor or teacher sets for them. So by providing them a materialistic goal, hopefully we build self-confidence for later on down the road.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Over 700 students from five inner-city schools participate in Josh's Rewards for Results program.

89 percent of which have met their goals.

(END GRAPHIC)

MILLER: My goal is to teach kids that they can defy what everyone else expects of them. I think that's what really inspired me about Eddie, is that he defied what others expected of him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rolling.

DALLAS JESSUP, CNN HERO: I started taekwondo when I was 10. And I got my black belt at 13.

I decided to further my knowledge and take Filipino street fighting, and now I'm a certified Filipino street fighting instructor.

The idea to create Just Yell Fire came from the video footage of a girl named Carlie Brucia in Florida who was walking home from a parking lot one day, a man came up to her, said something. We have no idea what. And she went away with him willingly. Four days later, she was found dead. And I just remember thinking, she could have been alive if she had just done two to three techniques.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Nearly 60,000 children are abducted by strangers each year.

Roughly 75 percent of those victims are girls.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

(END GRAPHIC)

JESSUP: Boom. Quick shot.

I'm Dallas Jessup and I'm 15 years old. And I teach girls how to get out of a bad situation every time.

You kind of want to -- from the start -- use the momentum.

"Just Yell Fire" is a 48-minute DVD which teaches teen girls, 11 to 19, how to protect themselves. We made the DVD free so girls who don't have three years to get their black belt will know how to protect themselves.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Approximately 500,000 high school girls will be raped before they graduate.

(END GRAPHIC)

JESSUP: You keep your foot up. You foot's good. You foot's good. Just make sure you go straight in. You kind of go in and then up.

Since our Web site JustYellFire.com went up October of 2006, we've had close to 4 million hits and about 320,000 DVDs have been downloaded or given away. And we are also in 37 countries right now.

We are hoping to soon start our Train the Trainer program which would train P.E. teachers from school districts the moves and get them certified to where they can once a year in schools train their students to know what this is, that way it can reach out to even more people. I want teenage girls to know that you have the right to stand up for yourself.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Remarkable young people. When we come back, we'll introduce you to another "Heroes" finalist. A remarkable man who is defending his corner of the planet by cleaning it up. He's removed tons of garbage from Florida's waterways. Find out what inspires him, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight we're continuing our countdown to "CNN Heroes," an all-star tribute.

We asked our blue ribbon panel to select six heroes from 18 finalists and on Thursday night in a live global broadcast, we'll learn who those six are.

In the meantime, here's another finalist in our "Defending the Planet" category. He's definitely proof of the power of one. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to do one more...

(CROSSTALK)

MARK MAKSIMOWICZ, CNN HERO: One more there. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

MAKSIMOWICZ: My name is Mark Maksimowicz and I collect trash on the waterways of Florida.

I am a lifelong resident. I truly love the state of Florida.

I remember a clean beach. I remember a day when this would not have been here. This is what our children have. And it's not just here, it's all over the place.

And so I got together with my cousins and my sister and we decided to formulate a plan to where we could actually pick up a lot of that trash.

The Green Armada is a boat. It's a small group of volunteers.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

In one year, the Green Armada estimates they have picked up 62 tons of trash from Florida's waterways.

Source: The Green Armada

(END GRAPHIC)

MAKSIMOWICZ: On an average day, I've collected from 400 and 700 pounds of trash. My cousins and I, we were out here as much as possible, four or five days a week. We picked up condoms and diapers, trash bags filled with urine and human waste and that's just disgusting.

One of the things that we've learned also is that you could come out here every day and pick up 700 pounds of trash.

And that may be impressive and sad at the same time, but we didn't put a dent in it.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Green Armada has more than 650 volunteers and a new chapter has just opened in Los Angeles.

(END GRAPHIC)

MAKSIMOWICZ: When I can walk 30 feet from here and fill up a Hefty bag full of trash, shame on us as a society. We're ruining this earth. And if you look at it in another way, we're squandering our inheritance.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

44 percent of U.S. coastal waters are deemed threatened for aquatic life and human use.

Source: EPA

(END GRAPHIC)

MAKSIMOWICZ: This isn't a special thing. It's not rocket science. It's not anything that's glamorous or beautiful, but it's what we should be doing as humans. We have a responsibility and we have to take it seriously.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, our blue ribbon panel certainly have their work cut out for them. And don't forget, "CNN Heroes," an all-star tribute airs this Thursday, December 6, at 9:00 p.m. Christiane Amanpour and I are going to co-host what's going to be a live global broadcast from New York's Museum of Natural History. It's going to be an incredible night. We've got a lot of performers singing as well. I hope you join us for that.

Up next, they traveled the world on exotic trips and had a lot of high tech toys, but wait until you hear how cops say the couple paid for it all -- maybe you paid for it actually.

Plus, fishing -- noodling style. That's right. No rods, no reels. It's our "Shot of the Day" right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just ahead, something thankfully a lot lighter. If it were up to us, we'd call it extreme fishing. But down south -- well, in Arkansas, where this video is from, they call it noodling. Yes. Noodling. And it involves putting your arm down a fish's throat.

Anyway, we'll explain. But first, Erica Hill joins us with a 360 "News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, a federal grand jury has indicted Democratic Fundraiser Norman Hsu in 15-count fraud scheme, including 12 counts of mail and wide fraud and various campaign finance law violations. According to the indictment which was unsealed today, Hsu persuaded his victims to invest at least $16 million in the scheme and swindled at least $20 million from them.

And speaking of fraud, a young Philadelphia couple charged with identity theft, forgery and a laundry list of other counts are being called a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. Twenty-two-year-old Jocelyn Kirsch and her 25-year-old boyfriend, Edward Anderton, allegedly stole the identities of neighbors in their upscale apartment building and defrauded businesses to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. They used all that money to pay for little jaunts to Paris, London, Hawaii, and other exotic spots.

And in northern England, a man reported missing in 2002 after his shattered canoe was found abandoned is alive and well. John Darwin was 51 at the time. He was presumed dead, but then this weekend he walked into a London police station and told police who he was. Darwin, though, apparently can't remember anything that has happened since June of 2000 -- this is just a wild story.

COOPER: I can't believe this story. It's so bizarre.

HILL: It is. I feel like there's some more details there that are going to come out.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I heard his father saying he had had a traffic accident when he was a kid and thought he had amnesia. But, I mean, just -- this family, he's got two kids who have grown. And it's crazy.

HILL: I can't imagine.

COOPER: Yes.

All right, time for "The Shot." Some friends sent this to us today. And we have to admit, we've never seen anything like it. Take a look at this dramatic animal video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a good fish, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, look at it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: These two guys...

HILL: Is that a real fish?

COOPER: Yes, it is. They're fishing. As you can see, they're not using rods or reels, even a net. It's a special kind of fishing in Arkansas, where this was shot. They call it noodling. Catfish...

HILL: Noodling?

COOPER: Yes, noodling.

HILL: Not "hooking with a forearm." Just noodling.

COOPER: Noodling. And as you can see, they grow them real big in the waters. And they literally, like, find the fish and then shove their arm down the fish's throat up to the gills.

HILL: And then they fry it up for dinner, or what?

COOPER: And it gets kind of bloody, because the fish bite them.

HILL: Ow.

COOPER: But it's called noodling. Now, this guy is about to pull up another one.

HILL: Let me tell you, though. If I was that fish, I wouldn't mess with that guy.

COOPER: Yes. That's noodling. I want to go noodling.

HILL: Noodling, how about that? You know, when I heard we were talking about noodling -- no, it doesn't -- I thought we were going to talk about David Mattingly's dramatic fish video.

COOPER: Oh, that's right.

HILL: Yes. Yes. When they shoot the fish, the jumping fish.

COOPER: That was the flying carp.

HILL: Flying carp. Isn't there -- don't they also -- isn't there -- I think we did a story on a guy who runs a business who actually takes you out on a charter with beer and something else to get the flying carp.

COOPER: Really?

HILL: I remember that story.

COOPER: Wild out there, shooting as they go flying around?

HILL: Yes. COOPER: I think they should stick to noodling.

HILL: It may not be a bad idea.

COOPER: If you see some dramatic fish video, fish noodling around or fish shooting up out of the water, take a picture of it. Send us the video at CNN.com/360. We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

A reminder, join Christiane Amanpour and I Thursday night at 9:00 p.m., Eastern. We're going to be noodling around for "CNN Heroes," an all-star tribute, where we honor ordinary Americans doing extraordinary deeds.

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

I'll see you tomorrow night. Thanks for watching.

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