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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Clinton Apologizes for Remarks Made About Robert Kennedy's Assassination; Pastor John Hagee Fires Back; A String of Tornados Hit Kansas; Prescription Drugs Sold Over the Internet

Aired May 23, 2008 - 23:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The general rule for politicians heading into holiday weekends, no news is good news. Oops. When asked whether her candidacy was jeopardizing party unity, Hillary Clinton said this to the editorial board of a Sioux Falls, South Dakota newspaper.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June.

QUESTION: June.

CLINTON: Right? We all remember, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know, I just -- I don't understand it.

JOHNS: She had actually said something like this before this past March to "TIME" magazine managing editor Richard Stengel.

"Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual."

Then, it went largely unnoticed, but, this time, it stuck, or sort of hung in the air, like an unpleasant odor.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: She sounds like she's exhausted. I don't think she woke up today saying, let me go ahead and draw a parallel between '68 and 2008. But to -- to evoke the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, I think it gives the people who have been looking for a reason to say, enough with her and to push her out of the race, it gives them a reason to do that.

JOHNS: Friday night is suddenly damage control night for the campaign, quickly invoking the innocent explanation for the remark. All she was saying was that, historically, Democratic presidential nominating races have gone into the summer. At an event, the senator clarifies and apologizes.

CLINTON: I regret that, if my referencing of that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive, and I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever. JOHNS: It was an awkward time to mention the Kennedy name in this way, especially with the family's patriarch, the surviving brother of the three, now battling brain cancer.

But Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Clinton supporter, defended the senator's remarks, telling "The New York Times," "It sounds like she was invoking a familiar historical circumstance in support of her argument for continuing her campaign."

The Obama people decided not to pile on, saying only that "Senator Clinton's statement was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign."

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: It's worth mentioning here that what Senator Clinton said about her husband isn't actually true. Bill Clinton had the primary all but sewn up long before June of 1992.

The 1984 primary campaign truly did run into June. So did the 1980 primary, with Jimmy Carter losing a string of races to Ted Kennedy. In her apology, she made no mention of Barack Obama, you might have noticed, as Joe Johns pointed out. He's received early Secret Service protection because of death threats.

Digging deeper, CNN's Candy Crowley, Tony Perkins at the conservative Family Research Council and author of "Personal Faith, Public Policy," and Jennifer Palmieri, a former Clinton White House staffer and John Edwards '04 campaign staffer.

Thanks for being with us on this holiday eve.

Candy, I know this is your day off, so I appreciate you especially coming in.

This is going to be interpreted differently, Candy, depending on whether one gives Senator Clinton the benefit of the doubt or not, but the fact that she said it before seems to indicate her apology, in which she said that Kennedy was -- was on her mind because of Ted Kennedy, that would seem to be not accurate.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, but, you know, listen, we're never going to know what's in a politician's mind, frankly, because we can't read minds.

I was talking to Jen earlier. And I said, when you're a reporter and you get a statement that people are interpreting politically, the way I look at it is, what does she get out of this statement?

And that's how, you know, I sort of decide whether it had political intention. She gets nothing out of this statement. She gets a lot of grief out of this statement. This is a smart politician. I don't know what she gains by saying it. I have got to believe that she didn't see, didn't feel the awkwardness of it, that it came out because it was familiar to her, and that it did come at a sensitive time, so it stood out in a way the other one didn't.

COOPER: Jennifer, were you surprised that, in her apology, she didn't mention Barack Obama?

PALMIERI: I'm not surprised. I wasn't surprised by that, because she doesn't -- I don't think she wants to draw any parallels between Obama and Kennedy, and certainly any more so than she might have already suggested.

And I think that her -- she seems stricken in her -- in her statement that she made afterwards, and she seems really upset. I don't think that she meant to -- as Candy suggested, she doesn't have much to gain, I don't think, from suggesting that there's a parallel between RFK and Obama.

But what's really glaring about this to me is that she was basically -- you know, take away the RFK stuff -- she's basically admitting the only way she's going to get the nomination is if some sort of calamity happens, if there is something that befalls Barack Obama that we don't anticipate.

And given -- that just really speaks to the crippled nature of her candidacy. And I think, when she said this three months ago, or whatever it was, in March, I guess, we may not have felt it so strongly, because we didn't feel -- no one was pushing for her to get out of the race at that point.

COOPER: Tony, Robert Kennedy Jr., as we heard earlier, has endorsed Clinton, defended the remarks to "The Times," and saying: "I have heard her make that argument before. It sounds like she was invoking familiar historical circumstance in support of her argument for continuing her campaign."

Do you think she deserves the benefit of the doubt here?

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, I think so, Anderson.

What happens in these campaigns -- and I have been involved in political campaigns -- and, at this stage of the game, the mind is not working extremely sharp. You're sleep-deprived. You have been making speeches, and they're almost rote. They're just over and over again. And she's made this comment before.

But I agree that, this time, the context is a little bit different than it was before, and she probably didn't think about that. I don't think she had anything to gain by saying that intentionally.

COOPER: Candy, for those who want her out of the race, this is certainly more ammunition.

CROWLEY: Well, it is, because it's one of those things that, again, sort of further divides the Hillary camp from the Obama camp. And that's been the big argument for why she needs to get out, is, they don't want to divide the party any further. They don't want to harden the edges of the party any further.

And this obviously divides people into camps again. So, yes, I do think that it makes people again say, listen, maybe it's just time for this to be over. But, honestly, June 3 is not that far away.

COOPER: Jennifer, I guess for those -- again, for those who -- who want her out, for those who don't believe what she says...

PALMIERI: Right.

COOPER: ... this is yet another example of her parsing words or sending double meanings.

PALMIERI: Yes, I think, for the people who -- for the hard-core Obama supporters who really don't like her, it is nails on the chalkboard. And it's an argument for them to go to the superdelegates and say, now is the time, enough's enough, and you should jump over to our side.

And I think that superdelegates, if they have been looking for an excuse -- and perhaps they don't even believe that she meant to -- that this was just a gaffe, it wasn't sort of planned remarks on her part -- they may still use it as an excuse to do that.

And I think we should -- it will be interesting to see over the weekend if a few people -- if a few superdelegates start to jump to Obama, I think that could show that there's -- you know, that there's real trouble ahead.

COOPER: Well, Tony, do you think it has larger repercussions?

PERKINS: No, I think it's passing.

I mean, I think that this is eclipsed by another story in a day or so. And I do think many people give her the benefit of the doubt. There -- if you really look at it, she had nothing to gain by saying it. And I don't think it was -- she intended it the way people interpreted it or some have interpreted it.

COOPER: We are going to have more with Tony, Tony Perkins, Candy Crowley, and Jennifer Palmieri coming up.

As always, I'm blogging throughout the hour, a lot of folks talking about this on our blog already. To join the conversation, go to cnn.com/360. You can blog and watch TV at the same time.

Up next, he called the work of Adolf Hitler God's will. John McCain said: Enough's enough. I don't need your endorsement.

There's more to the story than just Pastor John Hagee. We're looking up close at the sometimes uneasy, yet frequently useful relationship between the GOP and the Christian right. That's John Hagee talking today. We will bring you his comments. And, later, the shocking ease of getting potentially deadly prescription drugs online without ever seeing a doctor. Tonight, the Special Investigations Unit confronts the people accused of being behind one such operation. Drew Griffin is "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Can I ask you, did you ever see this patient, Nancy Fitzpatrick)?

Can you let me know how these prescriptions are filled, sir?

That's what this story is all about, because prescription drug are the new crack and heroin. And Internet sites that sell them, according to the National Pharmacy Board, are the new drug dealers.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIOCLIP)

PASTOR JOHN HAGEE, CORNERSTONE CHURCH: God says in Jeremiah 16, "Behold, I will bring them, the Jewish people, again unto the land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers. And, after, will I send for many hunters. And they, the hunters, shall hunt them. That would be the Jews. Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.

(END AUDIOCLIP)

COOPER: Well, just days after that piece of sound and others surfaced, Pastor John Hagee was a political liability for John McCain.

McCain called the comments crazy. Today, with an Israeli flag behind him, and a rabbi in the room, Pastor Hagee spoke out in his own defense.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

HAGEE: To hear people who know nothing about me or my life's work claim that I somehow excused the Holocaust is simply untrue and heartbreaking.

Let me be clear. To assert that I, in any way, condoned the Holocaust or that monster Adolf Hitler is the most vicious of lies. I have always condemned the horrors of the Holocaust in the strongest of terms. But, even more importantly, my abhorrence of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism has never stopped with mere words.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: Pastor Hagee, for a long time, has been interested in the fate of the state of Israel. And that's because he believes the establishment of the Jewish state means we are nearing the biblical end of days and the rapture, when he believes all Christian will be swept up into heaven.

McCain sought out the endorsement for political purposes, of course. And it can be argued he dumped the pastor for the exact same reasons.

Up close tonight: what happened when the pastor and the politician came together.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: In late February, John McCain finally got the endorsement from John Hagee he had been seeking for months.

HAGEE: John McCain will be a strong, courageous, and effective leader from the first day he steps into the Oval Office.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm very honored by Pastor John Hagee's endorsement today.

COOPER: Honored and grateful for the evangelical voters Hagee's endorsement might bring. Five days later, McCain won the Texas primary and clinched the Republican nomination.

But, along with crucial votes, Hagee brought criticism.

HAGEE: This is the great whore of Revelation 17. This is the Antichrist system. This is the apostate church.

COOPER: Comments like this one, widely seen on YouTube, outraged many Catholics.

WILLIAM DONOHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: This thing is out of bounds. And this is why McCain has to look at this. It's the totality of what the man stands for. He's been bashing Catholicism for decades and making a mountain of money over it.

HAGEE: The controversy that was started by the Catholic League, saying that I called them a false cult and a great whore, is completely false. It is true that the Book of Revelation in the 17th Chapter speaks of a great whore, but that was written by the Apostle John, not me.

COOPER: Catholics haven't been the pastor's only target or critics. Two years ago, in an NPR interview, he said the people of New Orleans brought Hurricane Katrina upon themselves with their sins, including a planned gay pride parade.

(BEGIN AUDIOCLIP)

HAGEE: The promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades. And I believe that the -- the Hurricane Katrina was in fact the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

(END AUDIOCLIP)

COOPER: In the same interview, Hagee said this about Muslims. (BEGIN AUDIOCLIP)

HAGEE: Islam in general, those who live by the Koran have a scriptural mandate to kill Christians and Jews.

(END AUDIOCLIP)

COOPER: Last month, with Hagee's past threatening McCain's future, the senator began distancing himself.

MCCAIN: May I just say that, when someone endorses me, that does not mean that I embrace their views. That means that they are supporting me.

COOPER: Last week, Hagee said he regretted -- quote -- "any comments that Catholics have found hurtful."

No doubt, McCain hoped that was the end of the affair.

MCCAIN: The point is that the fact that he has made an apology, I think, is very helpful. Whenever someone apologizes for something they did wrong, then, I think that that's a laudable thing to do.

COOPER: But, two days ago, another piece of Hagee's past surfaced, remarks he made years ago, suggesting the Holocaust was part of God's will.

(BEGIN AUDIOCLIP)

HAGEE: God says in Jeremiah 16, "Behold, I will bring them, the Jewish people again unto the land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers. And, after, will I send for many hunters. And they, the hunters, shall hunt them. That would be the Jews."

(END AUDIOCLIP)

COOPER: Those words forced McCain's hand.

MCCAIN: Well, I just think that the statement is crazy and unacceptable.

COOPER: Yesterday, McCain rejected Hagee's endorsement, and the pastor withdrew it.

And, today, damage control.

HAGEE: Let me be clear. To assert that I in any way condoned the Holocaust or that monster Adolf Hitler is the most vicious of lies. I have always condemned the horrors of the Holocaust in the strongest terms.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: We're back with our panel, CNN's Candy Crowley, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Jennifer Palmieri, a veteran of the Clinton White House and the 2004 Edwards campaign.

Candy, how does McCain now plan on reaching out to evangelicals and the Christian right?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, I think his job, first of all, is a little tougher now, because the reason he wanted the Hagee endorsement was that Hagee brings followers with him who are influenced by what he thinks. They will take this as an insult. This will make it tougher.

But what John McCain has always had to do is to go and talk to the evangelicals, not necessarily just their leaders. But this is a general campaign now, Anderson. So, it is -- this is when both candidates, Republicans and Democrats, walk that fine line between the base of their party, the right, if you're a Republican, the left if you're a Democrat, and the middle of the road.

COOPER: Tony...

CROWLEY: So, it's always been tricky.

COOPER: Tony, does John McCain still need evangelicals? And, if so, will their leaders -- will the leaders of the evangelicals and Christian right, will they be open to any McCain overtures or get fear of being thrown under the bus?

PERKINS: Well, I definitely think that he needs them. Any Republican that wants to win needs -- needs the base of the party.

Are they going to be lining up to endorse him? Probably not after this week. I mean, I heard one say that he would make a good Baptist deacon. He fired or got rid of two preachers in one day.

I think the problem here is that people -- evangelicals understand that the reason we have many different denominations within the Protestant Church is because we don't all agree. We don't agree on everything.

But we have an understanding that preachers as John Hagee, who has a very long history of supporting Israel, is just interpreting the world events based upon the Bible. He didn't endorse it, doesn't support it. He's simply -- simply helping people understand it. And that's what he's been doing.

John McCain should have known that, should understand that in order to seek these leaders' endorsements. That's a part of the package.

COOPER: Jennifer, I want to talk to you about Democrats and evangelicals. We're going to do that on the other side of this break. We have just got to take a short break.

Our conversation will continue. We will talk more about John McCain's relationship with John Hagee, Rod Parsley and others.

And, later, reunions, mothers and kids, a striking 180 in the custody case involving kids from Warren Jeffs' polygamist ranch. Then, confronting the people accused of making it easy anyone, really, kids, anyone, to get potentially deadly prescription drugs online. We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- that and more ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McCain's having to deal with his -- Hagee, who said stuff that is mind- boggling. I don't attribute those statements to John McCain.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: Barack Obama on Pastor John Hagee, now divorced politically from John McCain.

More now on the repercussion with our panel, Candy Crowley, Jennifer Palmieri, and Tony Perkins.

Jennifer, is there a greater opportunity this election for Democrats to gain evangelical support than in recent ones?

PALMIERI: Yes, I think there's no question about that.

They have -- you know, a lot of evangelicals, even -- even Rod Parsley's congregation last -- four years ago, in Ohio, was saying, we're with Bush on the war, but we don't like his positions on climate change; we're not happy that he's not doing more about poverty, and that there has -- and in the interceding four years, Democrats have spent a lot of time reaching out to evangelicals.

Both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama went to a forum sponsored by an evangelical college that CNN did. CNN hosted that forum. And, you know, John McCain was invited to go, and he didn't. I think that Democrats are definitely making inroads.

But you do see that this can be a double-edged sword, when you're -- as we have seen, with Hagee and Reverend Wright, when you're saddling up with pastors with a very high profile.

COOPER: Yes.

Tony, McCain also rejected the endorsement of religious leader Rod Parsley yesterday. And, today, Parsley released a statement.

I just want to read some of it to our viewers: "It did not surprise anyone shortly after my endorsement of the senator, political hit squads began to describe some of my views in the most ominous and extreme terms. Given the damage done to Senator Barack Obama's campaign through his association with the harsh views of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, I expected that opponents of Senator McCain would try to paint him and those religious leaders who endorsed him with the same brush. These tactics have been successful. And now the senator has been forced to reject my endorsement of his candidacy."

Do you think his views -- the views of John Hagee have been unfairly portrayed?

PERKINS: Well, I do think that evidence suggests that the Interfaith Alliance, which brought up these latest allegations, they do have connections to the Democratic Party. So, it does appear that there may be some political motivation behind this.

But I think, again, Anderson, those outside the church, when a -- when a pastor is interpreting world events based upon Scripture, Book of Revelation -- if you read it -- it is a very interesting book, and it leaves a lot of questions.

But I think, as people look inside the church to these illustrations and these analogies and to these interpretations that are given by pastors, they're not -- they're not shocked by that.

But the broader political world that -- many that are not familiar with the Book of Revelation, they may find this as shocking. But that's -- you know, that's what pastors do. They help people understand what's going on around them, based upon what the Bible has to say.

COOPER: Candy, does all this help the Obama campaign, I mean, now that -- John McCain has been very clear, look, I wasn't -- I didn't go to this guy's church for 20 years. I didn't claim he affected my world view, far from it.

But is there a certain, I don't want to say relief, but are some in the Obama campaign at least pleased by these developments? I mean, I don't know if that's the right term.

CROWLEY: Well, I mean, you know, I will match my pastor with your pastor. It may in some ways kind of bring them on an even keel, although I don't think they're exactly comparable, because, obviously, Barack Obama had a much deeper relationship with Jeremiah Wright than John McCain had with either of these two men.

These two men were political people to him. He needed them for political purposes. And Barack Obama needed Jeremiah Wright for personal purposes.

So, I think, though, that the larger picture is, this does not help Barack Obama, so much as it hurts John McCain with the people at this point that he really does need to serve as a base for his candidacy, and that's the conservatives.

COOPER: Jennifer -- Jennifer, does it also hurt him in trying to reach out -- or, in trying to appeal to evangelicals, does it hurt him in trying to reach out to independents or -- or, you know, conservative Democrats?

PALMIERI: Well, I think that it -- he's -- there's a lot of conservatives who are uneasy with him. And I think that, when he distanced himself from evangelical ministers like this, I think that they probably find that his efforts to reach out to them are less than -- less than sincere. I don't see how it would really hurt him with independent voters. I think that they might find that his -- his own independence from -- from these views might be -- they might find that appealing.

But I think that it has sort of the overall impact of a little bit neutralizing Reverend Wright. I mean, obviously, Senator Obama had a much closer relationship with Reverend Wright than McCain does with Hagee. But it sort -- it sort of shows that -- that pastors, sort of on both sides of the political divide, can have -- can -- you know, can have...

COOPER: Yes.

PALMIERI: ... can have views that are -- that are presented -- you know, that are -- as Tony mentioned.

COOPER: Tony, you say it's apples and oranges, Reverend Wright, Hagee?

PERKINS: Well, it is.

Here is -- as Candy pointed out, this was a political endorsement. It's not a spiritual mentor. It's not someone who he sat under for 20 years.

There is a big difference there, because, again -- and this is -- is more clearly seen by those who go to church and understand the reason they go to church is to be impacted by what the pastor is saying. And -- and, so, they can't help but feel that, somewhere in those 20 years, Barack Obama was impacted by the teachings of the Reverend Wright.

And John McCain made it very clear he had never been in John Hagee's church, never sat under him. He was not his spiritual mentor. So, there is a -- a big difference there.

COOPER: Candy, do you anticipate a lot of politicians going for pastor endorsements in the next couple of months?

Is there going to be a little bit of a pause in this?

CROWLEY: I think there may be a separation of church and politics from here on out because it has not been helpful this year. Let's say that.

COOPER: It's been interesting, though.

Always appreciate your comments.

Candy, again, thank you for coming in on your vacation day.

Tony Perkins, thanks for being with us.

And, Jennifer Palmieri, as well, thank you.

PALMIERI: Thank you. COOPER: A couple more items on John McCain: He chose today for a hefty document dump, his medical records and a brief summary of his wife Cindy's tax returns.

She made $6 million in 2006, paid more than $1.7 million in taxes. She and her husband file separate returns.

As for the medical records, they fill more than 1,000 pages. Now, some details from the Mayo Clinic, mild, occasional vertigo, which doctors call harmless, a rising level of LDL, so-called bad cholesterol. He takes a statin to keep it down.

Osteoarthritis, in part of -- in part from the torture he suffered at the hands of the North Vietnamese, a history of kidney stones, and, most dramatically, several bouts with melanoma.

Bottom line, though, doctors say he's in good shape for a man his age. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOCLIP)

DR. JOHN ECKSTEIN, MAYO CLINIC: I and my colleagues can find no medical reason or problems that would preclude Senator McCain from fulfilling all the duties and obligations of the president of the United States.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

COOPER: The voice of one of his doctors.

This weekend, CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta explores the health demands of being commander in chief and the challenges facing presidential doctors in a one-hour CNN Special Investigations Unit report, "The First Patient." That's Saturday and again Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Still to come: breaking weather news, a string of tornadoes being reported. We're just getting this word in.

Also, the possible fallout from what some say is John McCain's pastor problem. Will he now have trouble courting the evangelical vote? How they could swing the race in November -- ahead.

And this isn't what you expect in science class. A teacher body-slams a student. Did he go too far? You decide -- next on 360.

KAREN MCGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And hello everyone. I'm CNN meteorologist, Karen McGinnis (ph). We have breaking news as far as the weather is concerned.

Once again an outbreak of severe just as we saw yesterday. For the past 24 hours we have seen deadly tornadoes. We're watching three tornado watch box areas all the way from Wyoming to Nebraska. But perhaps one of the hardest hit areas is south central and central Kansas.

Take a look at this area. You're watching the actual lightning flashes, very intense lightning felt with this system. But also, we're getting reports that these are capable of producing baseball- sized hail.

Let's zoom in across the south central portion. It is in this area in Kiowa County, that's where Greensburg is located. Here is Greensburg right here. They are under a tornado warning. You can see this cell is moving off towards the north and northeast at about 50 miles an hour. Tornado warning is going to expire at 11:15. The tornado watch goes until 5:00 a.m.

But I want to point out another area. They are tracking a tornado near Ellenwood. That's in the central portion of the state. They are saying a destructive tornado is on the ground. That is in this particular -- there is Greensburg. It's up here that we're looking at that tornado. We will keep you updated.

So stay here on CNN and we'll continue to bring you the severe weather update. We'll be back right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Breaking news, reports of three tornadoes touching down in Kansas; one near Greensburg 100 miles west of Wichita. We're going to show you the radar picture right there. No reports of any injuries yet or any damage. We're following developments closely. So is CNN's Reynolds Wolf and the Severe Weather Center. He is going us for the live update shortly.

First Erica Hill joins us with a "360" bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, back home tonight, 12 of the children who were taken from the polygamist ranch in Texas. The state agreed to the family reunions just hours after announcing the custody battle over more than 460 children taken in last month's raid would now head to the Texas State Supreme Court. The state is fighting an appeals court ruling yesterday that said Child Protective Services had no right to remove those children from their home.

In California, Santa Cruz Mountains, a massive wildfire raging still tonight. 3100 acres now destroyed along with 12 structures. That fire is just 20 percent contained. Calmer winds though today are helping fire crews.

And smack down in a Florida classroom. A middle schoolteacher resigned after this cell phone video surfaced of him body slamming a student. The teacher said he was just horse play. Cops though say he may actually face child neglect charges, Anderson.

COOPER: The teacher said it was horse play?

HILL: Yes. They were just fooling around.

COOPER: But then another student seemed to kick someone when they were down.

HILL: Apparently a violent horse.

COOPER: Apparently so, Erica.

Here's tonight's "Beat 360" photo President Bush on the south lawn surrounded by some U.S. exports. That's a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Do we actually have a picture? Are we going to show that picture? It's actually hard to describe it. There we go. There it is.

He's got a Harley there, some lettuce, some other items, all props. As he talks about his support for free trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. This is where I normally show you the winning staff caption, but sad to say the staff got an F today. Nothing good.

HILL: Maybe a D.

COOPER: Yes. No. People were out to lunch today, on weekend mode, or something. So come on, "360" viewers. Show us what you got. I know you can come up with a good caption.

Go to cnn.com/360, send us your entry. Why do I always mess that up?

HILL: I don't know. Apparently you're hungry.

COOPER: We'll announce the winner at the end of the program.

Up next, Reynolds Wolf has an update on tonight's dangerous weather, tornados in Kansas. We'll take you there.

And later, dangerous drugs, just a mouse click away. We're keeping them honest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More now on the breaking news - a string of tornadoes in Kansas. CNN's Reynolds Wolf is following the development. He joins us now from the Severe Weather Center. Reynolds, what's going on?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Anderson, it's been just a hell of a night for many people across much of the northern and central plains, especially in parts of Kansas. We're going to zoom in on these locations that you see shaded in pink, and these spots, Anderson are areas that are currently under tornado warnings, including places like Greensburg, Kansas, where just about a year ago this town was leveled by a -- E Enhanced Fujita -- actually a level 5 tornado that just flattened the town completely.

This storm, we see one just to the north of -- one tornado has just moved right near the Greensburg area. No reports of damage in Greensburg as of yet. However, this tornado is on the ground now moving to communities like St. John. We've had reports of tornado warnings going off or sirens going off, debris all over the place.

We've been seeing a lot of this development move as these storms go from the south rolling to the north at a very quick pace. Although many people have been hearing these tornado sirens and then they have had some of these storms move off, by no means is this night over. In fact, you look at Greensburg, they've had this one storm pass off. But just to the south we see another intense tornado that is developing and beginning to move to the north possibly headed right for Greensburg once again. It's a situation that we're going to watch very carefully through the rest of the evening. Back to you.

COOPER: Do we know how long the storm system may last? Do these cause tornadoes for a couple of days?

WOLF: Well, you know, it's just one of those scenarios, Anderson, where we've had plenty of elements that have all come together to give us this rough outbreak. And we were dealing with this yesterday in parts of Colorado.

Now today, we still have that frontal boundary back over the Rockies. We have all this moist air coming in from the Gulf. And when you have that combination with the daytime heating, as long as that remains in place, we're going to see these storms. It could last through tomorrow.

COOPER: All right. Reynolds, thanks for that.

Just ahead, an exclusive CNN investigation: dangerous drugs sold over the Internet, prescribed by doctors for people they've never met. It is a big business. It's illegal. It can also be deadly. We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also, seven minutes of terror; NASA on alert this weekend. What they have their eye on when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Prescription drugs are regulated for good reason: they can be dangerous, addictive, even deadly. But a CNN special investigation has uncovered a huge hole in the safety net. With just the click of a mouse, almost anyone who wants to buy prescription drugs can on the Internet. It is so easy it will shock you. It can also kill.

CNN's Drew Griffin tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nancy Fitzpatrick wanted to kill herself. She was facing eviction and had no money.

NANCY FITZPATRICK, ATTEMPTED SUICIDE: I wanted to end it. I wanted to die. So I took about 50 or so a month. I took 80 amytryptiline, and that's all I remember.

GRIFFIN: She had been living a secret life away from her family. But she lived, and lived to tell the story to her brother David, a CNN investigative producer.

It's a story about just how easy it to buy dangerous drugs purchased online.

FITZPATRICK: I just typed in "Soma," and all these Web sites popped up. And I just picked one.

GRIFFIN: Did you ever speak with a doctor?

FITZPATRICK: No, no.

GRIFFIN: Then how did this woman in Ocean City, Washington, get this bottle of the prescription muscle relaxant Soma, prescribed by this doctor, Kareem Tannous, in Long Island, New York?

Can I ask you? Did you ever see this patient, Nancy Fitzpatrick? Can you let me know how these prescriptions are filled, sir?

That's what this story is all about. Because prescription drugs are the new crack and heroin, and Internet sites that sell them, according to the National Pharmacy Board, are the new drug dealers.

CARMEN CATIZONE, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PHARMACY BOARDS: You can order virtually any drug in the world by simply clicking a mouse and going to the various Web sites that exist out there.

GRIFFIN: Don't believe him? Neither did I until I pulled up LinePharmacy.com. The site sent us an e-mail saying, "All orders made are still subjected to doctor's evaluation." But take a look at what happened when I ordered Prozac. When I placed my order, the health survey on the site was already filled in. Within 24 hours, the package was sitting at my front door.

And this is what is inside. It's Prozac in its generic form, prescribed to me by a doctor I never heard of somewhere in Tennessee. Isn't this illegal? Of course it is.

CATIZONE: It is illegal in all of the states.

GRIFFIN: But individual states are hard-pressed to enforce their laws, says Catizone.

Can you help me understand how this works, sir?

As for the doctors' names on the bottle.

Can I show you this prescription bottle, sir? Excuse me. Dr. Tannous?

Dr. Kareem Tannous, whose name was on Nancy Fitzpatrick's prescription, lives in a $4 million home on four acres on Long Island.

FITZPATRICK: They need to be stopped. It just -- it boggles my mind that it's so simple.

GRIFFIN: It could be stopped right here in Washington, but when pharmacy regulators came to Capitol Hill asking lawmakers for a national law to stop Internet sales, the Boards of Pharmacy says it got a chilling response.

CATIZONE: Their response has always been, "Show us the dead bodies."

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: When we come back, the tragic evidence that lawmakers said they wanted. Drew investigates the death of a young man and follows the illegal prescription trail across the country, "Keeping Them Honest."

Also ahead, get ready to pay more at the pump. How much more? Stick around and you'll find out.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, we're investigating a glaring loophole in the Prescription Drug Safety System.

Now, before the break, we told you about prescriptions sold illegally over the Internet with the help of corrupt doctors and pharmacies that fly under the radar. It's a business that can feed addictions with tragic results.

"Keeping Them Honest" again, here's CNN's Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

GRIFFIN: He was 38.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, 38.

GRIFFIN: She doesn't want us to show you his face. She doesn't even want us to use his name or hers, for that matter. Her husband's family is still having a hard time with the accidental overdose that killed him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once you get a person addicted to something, which is what has happened, it takes more and more pills and more and more pills. His body couldn't take it anymore.

GRIFFIN: The coroner ruled his death an accidental overdose. Soma was the drug he used to go to sleep. Only he constantly needed more and more of it. By the end, his weekly addiction of 90 pills was costing more than $400 a month.

She thought it was legal and thought, because a doctor's name was on that bottle, somehow her husband was under a doctor's care. She now knows, only too late, none of the doctors ever saw her husband, and one of them was actually in another country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These pharmacy people that are doing this and these doctors that are doing this, they don't give a dad-gam (ph) about people. It's just the almighty dollar. That's all it is.

GRIFFIN: She was unable to let it go, and she traced her husband's prescriptions to this tiny pharmacy in Lyons, Kansas. She filed a complaint with the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy. And this past March, the state ordered Hogan's out of business, saying it violated numerous state regulations. There's a criminal investigation, as well. By the end this little pharmacy was doing huge business: two shipments a day leaving here, 300 to 500 packages at noon, another 300 to 500 by the end of the day. A thousand prescriptions a day, leaving Hogan's Pharmacy here in little Lyons, Kansas.

But that is barely a dent in the Internet drug business. Remember the Soma Nancy Fitzpatrick used to try to kill herself? Well, that came from a pharmacy operating out of this second-floor office in American Fork, Utah.

When we walked in the door at Roots pharmacy, we found boxes and boxes of empty FedEx envelopes waiting to be filled. And when we went upstairs...

We want to ask you about selling these drugs over the Internet without prescriptions.

... the staff inside wouldn't open the door. Minutes later, to our surprise, one of the employees decided to empty the trash.

It's a whole big bag of empty pill bottles.

What kind of pills? Carisoprodol, known to you and me and the addicts of it around the world as the muscle relaxant Soma. Big bottles, wholesale bottles, used to fill prescriptions sent around the world.

As for the boss, he slipped out of the pharmacy...

Kyle (ph), can we talk to you?

... and into his pickup truck.

We'd like to talk to you about the Internet drug business you're running out of this pharmacy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband was a victim of Internet use. That's exactly what he was.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

COOPER: Drew joins us from Atlanta now.

This is illegal. People are getting hurt. Why aren't the police investigating, shutting these pharmacies down? How do these doctors do this?

GRIFFIN: That's a -- that's a very good question, Anderson, and the fact of the matter is that most state agencies, this is beyond their scope.

Look at the drugs I bought. I called -- I actually bought online through an Internet service sort of based in New York, sort of, because this is like a virtual world. One of the drugs came from Tennessee. The other drug came from Utah. The doctors are just last names. I mean, most state agencies are overwhelmed by this kind of problem, as to where they could even begin to shut them down. That's why the pharmacy board says they want a national law, and they're really not getting that yet. Although some attempts are being made by the federal government to try to find these people.

But these Web sites pop up; they disappear; they change names. It's almost as if it's too late.

COOPER: And these doctors, I mean, never even see these patients. I just don't get how their medical licenses allow them to do this.

GRIFFIN: Well, that's the big question. And there's a new twist in this. On my prescriptions, now we don't have a first name of a doctor. We just have a last name: Dr. Ryan, Dr. Byron. So that may be another way they just slip through the cracks. You don't really know who the doctor is.

COOPER: Well, Drew and producer David Patrick blogged about their investigation, including a behind-the-scenes account of where their research led them. You can link to it from our Web page at cnn.com/360.

Drew Griffin, "Keeping Them Honest" as always.

We're getting close to our "Shot of the Day" tonight. Store surveillance video capturing an employee, the guy in the back there, kind of getting down with his work. We'll explain what that's all about.

But first, Erica Hill joins us again with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: And Anderson, we want to update you now on that breaking news we've been covering throughout the hour.

Three tornadoes now have hit Kansas tonight. And police say one of them struck near the town of Greensburg, which of course, was destroyed by a twister a little more than a year ago.

We're going to continue to update you on these tornadoes throughout the night right here. So stay with us on CNN.

Meantime, Northern Colorado waking up today to find at least 150 homes damaged or destroyed by a killer tornado. That twister cutting a 35- mile path, killing a 52-year-old man and injuring dozens more.

Certainly not going to be cheap for you to travel this holiday weekend; AAA reporting the average for regular unleaded now up to an all-time high of $3.83 a gallon.

And if record gas prices aren't scary enough, NASA is getting ready for what it calls the seven minutes of terror. That makes you feel good. Apparently, that's how long it's going to take for the Mars Phoenix Lander to complete its landing procedures on Sunday. That probe is now barreling toward Mars at 13,000 miles an hour. And Cleveland Indians catcher Victor Martinez hadn't really had a very good season. Check out how he took out his frustrations in the dugout: kicked a bucket. Yes. It really stinks when you're all Mr. Cranky Pants and then you get the bucket stuck on your foot. Doesn't really help you.

COOPER: I love it when you kick the bucket and then your foot is stuck in the bucket for quite some time.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Time now for our "Beat 360" winners. Ordinarily, this is where you compete with our staff to come up with a better caption for the picture that we post on the blog everyday.

Tonight, we completely failed. The photo, President Bush with a Harley motorcycle and other American export goods as he promotes free- trade agreements with Colombia, South Korea and Panama. In the interest of keeping ourselves honest, the problem is our staff kind of didn't really do a very good job of coming up with a comment, so we didn't think there was anything even worthy of putting on the air.

HILL: There's a lot of pressure every day.

COOPER: That's how bad it was. So something new tonight. We've got two viewer winners. The first is from Kathie: "I told you to have Jenna's wedding gifts delivered to the ranch in Texas."

COOPER: And from Eric, "Who's up for popping some wheelies in the Rose Garden?"

HILL: Oh, me, me.

COOPER: All right. You can see some of the captions at our Web site. You can see the failed ones from our staff, which didn't come through.

HILL: Anderson Cooper, were your contributions on there?

COOPER: I didn't even --

HILL: No.

COOPER: I'm not -- you can also download the 360 podcast, which is actually CNN's No. 1 video podcast. So thank you very much for making our podcast so successful. The address: cnn.com/360.

"The Shot" is next. Security tape. You've got to keep your eye on the store employee. He's got kind of a hidden talent. We'll show it to you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The Shot." We found this on Will Ferrell's comedy site, FunnyOrDie.com. It's apparently surveillance tape of customers dancing in a Best Buy store. The original has no audio, so we added music, a little 50 Cent. HILL: I think it's "Fitty."

COOPER: It is? Not "Fifty." Not "Fifty Cents"? No.

So watch the employee bobbing his head, listening to the track. You know he kind of wants to dance with the young ladies. He finally does with a sort of push-up break dance routine that cracks them up. Take a look.

HILL: Oh, bring it.

COOPER: He crossed the line right there. Right there is where he crossed the line.

HILL: The ladies are gone. They're out.

COOPER: And he lost them.

HILL: But he's not -- he's not giving up.

COOPER: Yes. He's been waiting for that moment for a long, long time. He practiced that one at home.

HILL: Look at the cool, I'm just here hanging out, ladies.

COOPER: Hello, ladies.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Lovely.

For international viewers, CNN Today is next. Here in America, Larry King is coming up.

Hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for watching. I'll see you on Monday.