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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Swift-boating McCain?; Barack Obama "Patriot Games"; Planet in Peril: Family of Gorillas Murdered; Murder Mystery
Aired June 30, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm proud of my record of service.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But yes, John McCain defended his war record. And here's why.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.
BASH: That's retired General Wesley Clark, a surrogate for Obama this weekend.
McCain's campaign says Clark's comments are part of the Democratic campaign to smear his war records.
Obama denounced Clark's comments but McCain aides say its part of a pattern. Obama talks about a new kind of politics but allows allies to go for the jugular.
Do you think that Senator Obama is being hypocritical here?
MCCAIN: I don't know. I know that many -- that General Clark is not an isolated incident, but I have no way of knowing how much involvement Senator Obama has.
BASH: General Clark clarified his comments today saying he would quote, "Never dishonor McCain's service" but said, "I will not back down if I believe someone doesn't have sound judgment when it comes to our nation's most critical issues."
McCain aides point to other incidents. Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller on McCain's service flying a fighter bomber saying, quote, "McCain was a fighter pilot who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they -- the missiles -- get to the ground? He doesn't know."
Democrat Tom Harkin warned that its quote, "Dangerous that McCain looks at everything through his military experience."
And this from a talk-radio host on stage shortly before Obama.
ED SCHULTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The man is a warmonger. BASH: So far no formal groups have gone public to attack McCain's military service like the infamous swift boat veterans for truth which ran ads against John Kerry. But liberal blogs are popping up like this one accusing McCain of quote, "Disloyalty" for participating in a North Vietnam propaganda video while in captivity.
So the McCain campaign struck back today, with its own so-called truth squad, a collection of veterans, including some who had serve with McCain to talk up his war record.
One of those veterans was Medal of Honor winner Bud Day. McCain's commander in captivity, but also one of the swift boaters against Kerry.
COL. GEORGE BUD DAY, (RET.) MCCAIN'S VIETNAM COMMANDER: The swift boat 'attacks' were simply revelation of the truth... the similarity does not exist here."
BASH: Besides trying to stop attacks on McCain's war record, advisers say they're also trying to drive home their central charge about Obama; that he's the same old politics as usual.
JILL HAZELBAKER, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: Let's drop this idea that Barack Obama is somehow raising the dialogue and raising the debate in this campaign.
BASH: The truth is both Barack Obama and John McCain insist they're going to run above the fray campaigns and for various reasons both are having trouble living up to that.
Dana Bash, CNN, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to have more on Obama and patriotism shortly.
Candy Crowley reports on his speech today, but first a "Strategy Session" with Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor James Carville as well as Republican Bill Bennett, also a CNN political contributor. I talked to them earlier.
COOPER: Bill, Obama distanced himself from Clark's comments but McCain had questioned his sincerity and his involvement. Do you think the recent comments are really part of some sort of orchestrated attack from the Obama campaign?
WILLIAM BENNTT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, it would be bad orchestration and choreography because they immediately apologized for it, which I'm glad they did. Axelrod said it was wrong, Obama said it was wrong. I believe several other people said it was wrong.
Bob Dole, of course, said he should have stayed in bed on Sunday, Wesley Clark. It was not appropriate to say. Now of course, merely serving in the military is not an automatic qualification to be president. But the effect of his remarks was a derogation of military service, McCain's military service.
And I got to tell you being a fighter pilot in the navy, 5 1/2 years in a prison camp, being commander of the largest fleet in the navy stacks up pretty well as a qualification compared to say being a community organizer or a law professor. I think it's at least a draw.
COOPER: James, is McCain's service record fair game?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIS: Well, first of all, I don't know what the Obama campaign is apologizing for. Because what Wes Clark said, in response to Bob Schieffer was say I have to say Barack Obama had not any of the experiences either nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and got shot down.
Clark, well, I don't think riding a fighter plane and getting shot down is qualification to be president. Why are we apologizing? Probably, Wes Clark has 30 medals, he's got a silver star, bronze star, Purple Heart and everything else.
BENNETT: Good qualifications.
CARVILLE: The idea and I have no idea what the Obama campaign is apologizing for. There's nothing controversial in what General Clark said.
BENNETT: Well, I'm with the Obama campaign, so James needs to talk to them and tell them why.
CARVILLE: Well, I'll do.
BENNETT: What you cited for Wes Clark is the point, James. He's got excellent qualifications. That's the beginning of a resume to run for president.
CARVILLE: Again, as I pointed out earlier, my uncle won the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, but if he were alive, he would be the first person to say you that doesn't qualify him to be president. He qualifies to be a hero, his on honorable service.
And in many other ways that John McCain may very well be qualified for president, but General Clark first of all, was responding to a direct observation. And the observation that he made in my mind was a completely legitimate observation. The fact that I served two years in the Marine Corps doesn't make me qualified to be anything.
BENNETT: It doesn't make you automatically qualified to be anything. The American people would like someone of honor to be in that office. How do you show you're a person of honor? I think that's one very persuasive way to show your honor, to have served your country in that way, you too and your uncle.
CARVILLE: Again, I think that Senator McCain is an honorable man. I don't think being a fighter pilot is qualification to be president. And that's all that General Clark was saying. BENNETT: It was a snide and nasty comment. Did you see it? Did you see it?
CARVILLE: I saw the tape of it. It was responding; it was not a snide and nasty comment. He was merely responding to an observation that Bob Schieffer was making. Of which is not being reported in the press. It's being reported as if that General Clark just went out and said this. He was making a legitimate observation.
BENNETT: Talk to David Axelrod, he'll explain.
CARVILLE: I would love for someone to explain why we're apologizing for a patriot who made what I think was is a complete legitimate point.
COOPER: Well, Bill what about McCain bringing in a former member of the swift -- you know the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth." Is there something strange? I mean McCain deplored those ads back in 2004, I think he called them dishonorable and dishonest.
BENNETT: Well, obviously there were tons of claims made during the campaign against John Kerry. Some of them proved to be false, a lot of them proved to be true. I noticed the word swift boating is being used as a pejorative now. That's too simple and simple-minded.
A lot of the people who stepped forward, officers who served with John Kerry stepped forward and set the record straight.
I'll tell you my view. Let people say what they want to say and then deal with it, respond to it, characterize it. A person big enough to be president should be big enough to be able to take the criticisms. I want to know everything there is to know about the public character and something about the private character of anybody who wants to be president.
COOPER: James, is it odd to you that he's now using this guy who -- tactics he once called dishonorable?
CARVILLE: I find it not only odd; I find the whole thing rather ridiculous. I think all that General Clark was doing was making an observation. And if everybody in the world, and I've said a thousand times when you don't think that Senator McCain is an honorable man. I think he's done things that qualify him to be president.
I think that General Clark was making an absolutely perfectly legitimate observation in response to a question.
And I want to know simple question, why are we talking about General Clark, 30 decorations, all right, who makes a legitimate observation and not the stuff that's really affecting the country and that's incompetence of this administration? And what can we do to get this straight? That's a simple observation.
BENNETT: Clark's comments struck a lot of people, Democrats and Republicans, as off base. I think we've said enough about it. A man big enough to be president is big enough to have the truth told about him. I don't like this notion of all these off limit areas when you're talking about people who want to be president.
And the Obama campaign is saying you can't do this or you can't do that. You're demonizing. Let's find out the truth about the man who wants to be president, both of them.
COOPER: We'll have more from Bill Bennett and James Carville coming up. We'll be "Digging Deeper" on Barack Obama today defending his patriotism.
As always I'm blogging throughout the hour. You can join the conversation. Go to our new Website, ac360.com. Join the conversation; let us know what you think.
Later, what about Bill? He and the man who defeated his wife get together by phone today. We'll have details of their high-stakes conversation.
Also the stunning case out of Texas that began with this 911 call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Mr. Horn, do not go outside the house.
HORN: This is not right buddy.
911 OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside the house with the gun.
HORN: You want to make a bet? I'm going to kill them.
911 OPERATOR: Ok stay in the house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Said he's going to kill them, that's just what he did. And the question today, what would a grand jury do about it? Would they indict him? The surprising answer tonight when "360" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Barack Obama on the trail today in Harry Truman's hometown of Independence, Missouri. Now he's under fire from the McCain forces who say he's happy to let others question Senator McCain's patriotism. And under a microscope from critics who question his patriotism.
CNN's Candy Crowley now on how he is dealing with it all. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Independence, Missouri, during Fourth of July week, is a pretty standard pick for politicians to show their patriotism.
Barack Obama went to defend his.
OBAMA: I found, for the first time, my patriotism challenged at times as a result of my own carelessness. More often as a result of the desire by some to score political points and raise fears and doubts about who I am and what I stand for.
CROWLEY: Part of it his unusual name, an upbringing with little resemblance to Ozzie and Harriet, and a vicious anti-Obama whisper campaign on the Internet and elsewhere.
But a September picture showing Obama listening to the "Star Spangled Banner" without his hand over his heart, a carelessly-worded answer when asked why he wasn't wearing a flag pin.
OBAMA: Instead I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.
CROWLEY: And inflammatory criticism of the country by his former minister fuelled the fire of repeatedly debunked e-mail claims that he refused to pledge allegiance to the flag, that he was un-American.
It seeped into the grassroots. In April, a young woman asked how she could convince her father-in-law to vote for Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's been influenced by some of the spin about saluting the flag, without pin, all of those things that I've heard. I just wondered what you would say to him if he was here to show him where your heart is.
CROWLEY: And now he has a bigger stage to show where his heart is, where he came from.
OBAMA: I remember listening to my grandmother telling stories about her work on a bomber assembly line during World War II. I remember my grandfather handing me his dog tags from his time in Patton's army and understanding that his defense of this country marked one of his greatest sources of pride. That's my idea of America.
CROWLEY: He has a biography ad about his American roots and values airing in 18 states. And he has a video on his Website to rebut the still circulating e-mails. And he is pushing back.
OBAMA: I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign. And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine.
CROWLEY: But in politics, pictures are permanent and symbols seem like substance. In April, when a veteran gave him a flag pin, Barack Obama put it on. He wore one today.
COOPER: Candy, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton also spoke by phone today. It was their first conversation apparently since the primary ended.
What do we know about it?
CROWLEY: We know that Barack Obama placed the phone call. We know that it ran about 20 minutes long. We know that Bill Clinton said he will do what he can to help Barack Obama, whatever he's asked to do. Barack Obama had praise for Bill Clinton.
You remember one of the things that really got to the former president over the course of the campaign was the feeling that Barack Obama was saying things that were negative about the Clinton era. So he felt that his legacy was being attacked.
It was interesting to me that in his statement today, his public statement, Barack Obama said that he's always thought that Bill Clinton was one of the greatest presidents in the U.S. And that he had done so many good things.
So you know, are they best buddies? No. Will they ever be? Probably not. There are still tensions there. There are still hurt feelings there between the Obama and Clinton camp. But everybody around them says look, everybody now has their eyes on the prize, which is putting a Democrat in the White House.
And the Clintons, both of them, are in fact committed to doing that. I think that you will see this fall a lot more of the Clintons campaigning for congressmen and senators, but they say whenever Barack Obama needs them, they'll be out there.
COOPER: Do we know are there any plans at this point for a joint event like the one that Hillary Clinton had with Barack Obama?
CROWLEY: There aren't, but there's lots of talk particularly on the Clinton side of the state listen, this is up to the Obama camp. But they believe that sometime between now and the convention; you will see Michelle and Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton all in the stage together.
COOPER: All right, fascinating. Candy Crowley, thanks.
Back with Bill Bennett and James Carville next, we're going to get their take on today's high-tension, high-stakes phone call.
Plus, he's famous for singing "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" and now his allies are beating their war drums and warning about terror attacks. Hear for yourself and decide whether they're playing the fear card when "360" continues.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, a lot riding on their phone call today. 20 high-pressure minutes we're told. Both sides reporting it went well.
That's where tonight's "Strategy Session" picks up with Democrat James Carville and Republican Bill Bennett.
COOPER: James, it's been about a month since the last primary. Why has it taken so long for Bill Clinton to talk on the telephone to Barack Obama?
CARVILLE: I don't know if it's taken long enough. I think what I've said was on your show and I have said in numerous occasions that they would get together, that President Clinton would beef Obama -- would campaign enthusiastically for him.
I also said on your show Friday night I think it was that, you know, sometimes in these things feelings get bruised and take a little healing. I think we've had a little healing. I think we're going to see this party come together.
It was a magnificent event that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama had. And but none of this has ever concerned me in the least.
COOPER: Do you think feelings are still bruised by the former president?
CARVILLE: You know it takes me a while to get over a campaign. I can't imagine, he was enthusiastic supporter of his wife and he's going to be enthusiastic supporter of Senator Obama. And so it would not be human, it would be ridiculous to see he didn't say that you go through a campaign like that and people don't have bruised feelings.
But this is an adult business with adult consequences. And sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and you get behind the candidate and that's exactly what's going to happen here. I've said that's from day one. And that is what's going to happen.
COOPER: Bill, what do you think is going on here?
BENNETT: I don't know, Anderson. I mean Bill Clinton had a very busy life as president; apparently he's having a very busy life after being president.
James says its adult situations here. There are some things I'm not interested in life. I'm generally curious. Bill Clinton's private conversation is one of them.
COOPER: Bill, do you think he would be an asset on the trail for Barack Obama?
BENNETT: Sure, in some places. Sure. The Clinton stock is very high in some places. I mean you saw how Hillary walloped him in the late primaries. There was the talk about the Pennsylvania voter, the one with the Bible and the gun, and there in West Virginia and Kentucky too. And some of those folks would respond better to Clinton, I suppose, by the empirical evidence, than Barack Obama.
So sure, he's an asset. But when he's out there on the trail, it also reminds a lot of people about the Clintons. And all the reminders, despite what Democrats say, are not all good. They ring some bells. And other places they turn people off.
COOPER: I want to talk briefly about Obama's speech on patriotism today. Bill, another speech on patriotism today. We're going to be hearing a lot about patriotism from him throughout this whole week. Why does he still need to focus on this issue?
BENNETT: Well, I think they realize that he hasn't made the sale on this issue. He had a problem right after 9/11. He wore that flag pin, and then he took it off and he said I never said anything about the flag pin.
Well, he did, he said it was a kind of false patriotism. He's also had friends who said things about this country that are not very good, his minister for 20 years talked about G.D. America, whether underground guy Bill Heirs through these party forum.
So these raise questions. I don't think it's a settled issue but these raise questions. Let me say --
COOPER: Do you think they're legitimate questions?
BENNETT: It's always a legitimate question to ask how a candidate feels about his country and given some of his associations, sure, it's absolutely legitimate to ask. He obviously thinks it is because he's addressing it.
Let me say I think it was an excellent speech. He talked about America using that great line of Lincoln's as the last best hope of earth.
I hope, I hope you know, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Heirs were listening to that. It's a damn good line. I hope they -- they don't agree with it, but I hope they listen to it.
COOPER: James? What do you --
CARVILLE: Well, first of all I mean here was somebody of the some of the lobbyists or something that going into McCain's staff I mean again, he's talked about Jeremiah Wright, he's resigned from the church.
But to certain things he's going to do this, is not going to satisfy everybody. Proven to that is he's spoken eloquently about this country, he's written eloquently as one of the most literate people that we ever had run for president.
I would prefer that he talk about competence, which we haven't had in the Oval office. I would prefer that he talk about the disaster that we're in Pakistan, about what's going on in Afghanistan, about going on six years in Iraq.
BENNETT: Stick to the subject.
CARVILLE: I agree. That's the subject. I think the best way to show patriotism is to be competent.
BENNETT: I got to say whether it's the speeches on patriotism or General Clark, James is clearly out of sync with the Obama campaign. He may be right and they may be wrong. But it's interesting that that rift hasn't healed yet.
CARVILLE: No, I'm a thousand percent for Senator Obama. It's not a rift. I just think that they should have defended General Clark. What I think what he said made a lot of sense and I think the country is comfortable, I'm completely comfortable with Senator Obama's patriotism.
I think he's a very eloquent guy. I think he loves his country very much. And I'm just saying yes, I wish they would talk about competence more because I think people are looking for something different.
BENNETT: What he said. He said at the beginning of his remarks that he had made some misstatements too. So that he felt the need to do it. So it's the candidate's notion that he needs to address it.
CARVILLE: Well, the only person that never made a misstatement in this life is sitting right here. And look what happened to him, he lost his hair and has to wear glasses.
BENNETT: And you talk just fine now James. And you talk a lot.
COOPER: We'll leave it there. James Carville, Bill Bennett, thanks.
CARVILLE: Thank you
BENNETT: Thank you.
COOPER: Still ahead on "360," a war touring in Central Africa a chilling and heartbreaking mystery. Who murdered a family of the most majestic creatures on the planet? Mountain gorillas a preview of our upcoming "Planet in Peril - Battle Lines" series next.
COOPER: Those magnificent animals are endangered mountain gorillas. Our "Planet in Peril" team was recently in Central Africa where the gorillas live; working on our second documentary.
This time we're focusing on battles being waged around the globe over natural resources. The stakes are high and the losers often pay the ultimate price. Last summer, an entire family of mountain gorillas was murdered. A team from National Geographic recently returned to find out who was responsible and what they found was shocking.
COOPER: They are majestic creatures, the rare mountain gorillas. Almost human but king of beasts.
Visiting the mountain gorillas is probably one of the most incredible and intimate experiences as you can have with an animal in the wild. When you are this close to the gorillas and you see their eyes and you see how intelligent they are and how really similar they are to human beings. Each one really has a unique personality. Each one is an individual.
And yet, these gentle giants are in danger. There are only about 720 of them left in the world. As many as 200 of those live in Virunga National Park, straddling Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic Of Congo.
Last year ten mountain gorillas were killed. In July, families of five were murdered in cold blood; the gorillas were shot to death. One of them was mutilated and another burned.
Brent you were in Congo when the gorillas were murdered and you came upon the scene you took those now world famous photographs of the gorillas being carried out. What was the scene like?
BRENT STIRTON, PHOTO JOURNALIST: One of the most sobering things that I've seen in Africa and certainly in that region. What was most ironic about it was the fact that we've covered the war for a number of years and obviously seen a fair amount of atrocity. And the fact that this occasion seemed more sober than the human massacre that occurred, that's really what struck with me.
COOPER: Shocked by what he'd seen, photographer Brent Stirton and writer Mark Jenkins decided to track down who killed the mountain gorillas.
There were plenty of suspects. The park is home to three rival militias, poachers, illegal charcoal producers and nearly a million refugees, all fighting for survival and resources.
Why were the gorillas murdered?
Ten gorillas were murdered over the course of a certain amount of time. Yes, why, do we now know? I mean the charcoal is what everyone says.
MARK JENKINS, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: You can think of charcoal as the kind of the cocaine of Eastern Congo or the opium of Afghanistan. It is an incredibly lucrative business.
The reason for that is 98 percent of the population around the area; they all use charcoal to cook and to boil water. So it is the fuel. Where does charcoal come from? It comes from the park.
COOPER: The hard wood trees are cut and burned to make charcoal. A quarter of the park's southern sector has already been wiped out. This man was the charcoals mafias' worst enemy the warden of the park sector, Pauline Ngobobo.
JENKINS: He took an extraordinary risk to protect the park, which is in a sense protecting the gorilla. If you cut down the trees, you don't have no habitat for the gorillas.
COOPER: And Ngobobo believes the gorilla massacre was a message sent directly to him and his rangers; a warning to back off of their efforts to curtail the illegal production of charcoal. But Ngobobo could never have imagined who was behind it.
PAULINE NGOBOBO, FMR. WARDEN, VIRUNGA PARK, SOUTHERN SECTOR (through translator): I knew there was corruption. But I couldn't imagine that somebody with a high rank, somebody with a top job in the heart of the park could be involved in this business.
COOPER: And that's the unbelievable twist. That person Ngobobo now believes was none other than his boss, the Chief Warden of the park, Honore Mashugiro (ph), the very man entrusted with protecting the park and the gorillas he says was running the illegal charcoal ring.
So the guy who is in charge of the park is actually the head of the charcoal mafia?
JENKINS: He is the kingpin, that's right.
COOPER: For his part, Mashugiro denies any involvement but he's now standing trial for orchestrating the murder of the mountain gorillas.
COOPER: Well you can see Mark Jenkins and Brent Stirton's story in the July issue of "National Geographic." It's a great one, there's also a companion documentary "Explore Gorilla Murders" premiers tomorrow July 1st at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on "The National Geographic Channel."
And don't miss our second installment on "Planet in Peril" "Battle Lines" airing this fall.
"360" is going to be right back in a moment. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARK: That large squadron in Air Force -- in the Navy -- that wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: That controversial comment by Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark stirring a lot of debate. But it's not just Barack Obama supporters who are raising eyebrows.
John McCain also has a lot of allies talking him up on the trail while raising doubt about his rival. Some of his supporters were ever being accused of playing the fear card by focusing on future terror attacks.
"Up Close," CNN's Ed Henry has more on their message.
ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Republican John McCain insists that if elected he will not be a Bush clone. But some McCain allies seem to be ripping a page from the president's play book, raising the specter of a possible terror attack next year to sway voters against Democrat Barack Obama.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, (I) CONNECTICUT: Remember that the truck bombing at the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration. John McCain is ready to take the reins on January 20th, 2009. He doesn't need any training.
HENRY: Lieberman, the former Democratic vice-presidential candidate, who is now an Independent, is so close to McCain, he's been mentioned as a possible running mate. And his comments follow McCain adviser, Charlie Black, recently saying a terror attack between now and the election would help McCain.
Black apologized. A Lieberman aide told CNN the senator was not playing the fear card. He was just highlighting McCain's qualifications.
LIEBERMAN: We need a president who is ready to be commander-in-chief on day one. Senator McCain is. Incidentally Senator Clinton said that over and over again and she was right. She was ready to be president on day one. Why? Because our enemies will test the new president early.
HENRY: Asked about Lieberman's comments, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino agreed there could be a terror attack next year.
DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think Senator Joe Lieberman unfortunately could be right. And the only reason I say that, is because we know that there are people who are very dangerous who are trying to attack us every day. The president has been looking for Osama Bin Laden since September 12th. That effort has never let up.
HENRY: "The New York Times" alleged Monday the Bush administration did let up. Military and intelligence officials charging the Iraq war diverted resources from the fight against Al Qaeda.
The president's approach to Iran is also under fire with journalist Seymour Hersh claiming in "The New Yorker." The U.S. is stepping up covert operations inside Iran and edging closer to a possible attack.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: At this point with George W. Bush as unpopular as he is, to argue a case for continuity in foreign policy does not seem to be a big election winner.
HENRY: That's why McCain is walking a fine line. His allies are touting his traditional national security credentials, when voters may be ready for a new approach.
COOPER: Ed, when we hear Joe Lieberman talking, I mean how much of that is approved by John McCain? I mean is he clearly just a surrogate now for John McCain?
HENRY: He clearly is. Now in general I can tell you before a big guest goes on a Sunday show, a lot of times there are conference calls that campaigns organizers. If a White House sends a guest, out to one of these Sunday shows, they'll get all kinds of staffers behind the scenes practicing what they're going to say and what not.
In this particular case, Senator Lieberman his office insists he was speaking on his own. And that he was focused on qualifications, not politics. But let's face it these comments are coming in the middle of a very heated presidential campaign that's going to be seen as political.
And the bottom line is that John McCain has an edge on the terror issue. And this is why Barack Obama's upcoming trip to Europe and the Middle East is going to be a very big deal. It gives him a chance to show he can hold his own on the world stage. It's going to be a big test -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Ed Henry, thanks.
Up next, justified killings, what a grand jury thinks in this case, linked to the dramatic 911 call from that Texas man who saw burglars in his neighbors yard and took the law into his own hands.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCHER: All right Mr. Horn, are you out there right now?
HORN: No, I'm inside the house. I went back in the house, man they come right in my yard, man. I didn't know what the shit they was going to do.
DISPATCHER: Did you shoot somebody Mr. Horn?
HORN: Yes, I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We'll tell you what a jury decided.
Also, tonight a major development in the investigations of the death of this pregnant soldier, still ahead on "360."
COOPER: Well, it's a chilling 911 call that ended with three shotgun blasts and two men dead. The caller had said he had to do it, that he was defending his neighbor's property from burglars.
But was he justified to kill, or should he be charged with murder? Well, today grand jury delivered their answer.
With "Crime and Punishment" here again is Erica Hill.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe Horn is a 61-year-old grandfather. Late last year, the Texas man received national attention for this 911 call to report two men entering a neighbor's window.
HORN: I've got a shotgun. Do you want me to stop them?
OPERATOR: No. Don't do that. No property is worth shooting somebody over. Ok?
HILL: It wasn't ok for Horn. And as the minutes passed, he became more determined.
HORN: I'm not going to let them get away with it. I can't take a chance on getting killed over this. Ok?
HORN: I'm going to shoot. I'm going to shoot.
HILL: Despite the operator's pleas, Horn drew closer to an armed confrontation.
HORN: I'm not going to let them get away with this (expletive). They stole something, they've got a bag of something.
OPERATOR: Mr. Horn, do not go out the house.
HORN: I'm sorry, this is not right, buddy.
OPERATOR: You're going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with that gun. I don't care what you think. Stay in the house.
HORN: You want to make a bet? I'm going to kill them.
OPERATOR: Ok, stay in the house.
HILL: A few moments later, Horn delivered on that promise with a 12- gauge shotgun.
OPERATOR: I don't want you going outside Mr. Horn.
HORN: Well, here it goes buddy, you hear the shotgun clicking and I'm going.
OPERATOR: Don't go outside.
HORN: Move you're dead.
HILL: Joe Horn fired three times, killing Fernando Torres and Diego Ortiz, both men shot in the back. Horn returned home and picked up the phone.
HORN: No, I am inside the house, I went back in the house man. They come right in my yard. I didn't know what the (expletive) they was going to do, I shot them ok?
OPERATOR: Did you shoot somebody Mr. Horn?
HORN: Yes, I did. The cops are here right now.
OPERATOR: Where are you right now?
HILL: The shooting sparked angry demonstrations and death threats against Horn. Under Texas law, a person can use lethal force to protect a neighbor's home if that force is justified, necessary to prevent theft and if the person was asked to watch the property.
After months of hearing evidence, a grand jury today refused to indict Horn, who contended he shot the men on his property after they threatened him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This office will continue to aggressively prosecute anyone who illegally engages in the use of force, deadly or otherwise, against another.
HILL: Tonight, Joe Horn is free; a man some may feel got away with murder. A man others will say did the right thing.
Erica Hill, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, what do you think? Was Joe Horn justified in killing two men? Let us know.
Go to the live blog right now, the conversation is going on. ac360.com.
We're "Digging Deeper" tonight on this case with CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. In a legal sense, did Joe Horn do the right thing?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's why we had a grand jury. This is obviously the facts were somewhat in dispute.
Under the law of Texas, he had the right to shoot somebody if they were on his property, if they were threatening his property. He did not have the right to shoot someone on his neighbor's property or to protect his neighbor's property. The grand jury said it was ok. COOPER: What's this Castle Law?
TOOBIN: The Castle Law relates to a change. It just happened last year in Texas. The law used to be --
COOPER: Before this case?
TOOBIN: Before this case. And in fact, Joe Horn actually made a reference to it in the 911 call. The law used to be that you have a duty to retreat, not to shoot, if a reasonable person would retreat.
They took the reasonableness requirement out of the law. So you simply have an absolute right to shoot if someone is on your property now. That's the Texas law.
COOPER: And he actually did mention this Castle Law in the conversation. Let's just play that clip from the 911 tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HORN: I have a right to protect myself, too sir.
OPERATOR: Yes, you do.
HORN: And you understand that and the laws have been changed in this country since September the first, and you know it and I know it.
OPERATOR: I understand that.
HORN: I have a right to protect myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So you can -- if they're on your property, you can shoot?
TOOBIN: To protect yourself. Yes.
COOPER: To protect yourself. But what about -- in the piece it said if you were asked to protect your neighbor's house --
TOOBIN: That is also a possibility. But it doesn't appear like he was ever asked to protect this house. I think the factual dispute that was before the grand jury was where the two individuals, the two victims really were. Were they are on his property or on the neighbor's property?
COOPER: He made a point in saying when he came back in the house that they were on his property.
TOOBIN: Right, but I think that is not entirely clear.
COOPER: And the fact that they were shot in the back, does that matter? Apparently not?
TOOBIN: It didn't matter to the grand jury.
COOPER: Right. And is there a possibility of a civil lawsuit against him from the families of these two men?
TOOBIN: One of the best known facts about this case now is that the two men who were shot were illegal immigrants. That technically had no -- it shouldn't have had a bearing on the case, it might have. But their estates are not going to be able to sue because they were illegally in the country. So I don't think there's any realistic possibility.
COOPER: So because they were illegal in the country, no one is able to sue?
TOOBIN: No one is going to be able to sue unless the estate in Mexico, or as I think it's Mexico or perhaps the Dominican Republic, can get leave to file a lawsuit in Texas. I think it's so remote a possibility as to be not meaningful. So I think Joe Horn, he's off the hook criminally and he's off the hook civilly.
COOPER: Are there other states that have this law?
TOOBIN: More than you think. It's -- about six of them do. None of them are identical but they have laws like this. And this is just like the Supreme Court decision last week where the country's changed, that the right to bear arms is being taken more and more seriously by more and more governments now, because the Supreme Court has recognized a right to it.
I think many of us who live in the northeast, who live in cities find this story bizarre. A lot of people who are in Texas and in other parts of the country say look, the way to stop crime is to give homeowners guns.
COOPER: You're just a big city boy.
TOOBIN: I'm afraid that's true.
COOPER: I'll take you out to a rifle range.
TOOBIN: Can we shoot some varmints perhaps?
COOPER: Just as long as it's not politicians.
Next on "360," the search for a pregnant soldier's killer; this story we've been following now for the last week. New clues surfaced, including a disturbing letter to a newspaper signed with the sign of the zodiac. That's ahead.
And in the next hour, murdered in cold blood; solving the mystery of who killed five mountain gorillas. A special "Planet in Peril" report coming up in the next hour.
COOPER: We're following several new developments in the death of that pregnant Fort Bragg soldier.
Tonight authorities are certain this woman Meagan Touma was murdered. They are also are looking at a person of interest but there's more. A letter was sent to a local newspaper, the writer confessing to killing her and ended the note with a cryptic sign "The Zodiac," the same symbol used by an elusive serial killer.
The latest from CNN's David Mattingly in tonight's "Crime and Punishment" report.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At first glance, it is a cold- blooded confession. A self-described serial killer sends a letter to the Fayetteville observer claiming responsibility for the murder of the pregnant 23-year-old soldier, Megan Touma. The writer taunts police as very incompetent and brags about watching while investigators search the hotel room where her body was found.
The author calls the crime "a master piece" and signs it with a mark of his "role model" the "The Zodiac Killer". Fayetteville police are skeptical.
I'm outside the Fayetteville PD right now. What I'd like to know, is there anything about this letter that makes it legitimate?
JOHN LEVIN, AUTHOR, "SERIAL KILLERS AND SADISTIC MURDERERS": Anything's possible. But I really doubt that this letter was written by a serial killer.
MATTINGLY: I called serial killer expert Jack Levin, who says the letter is a work of deception possibly written by the actual killer but no Zodiac wannabe.
Is this the letter of someone who has killed before and is planning to kill again or is this someone who is afraid and trying to hide?
LEVIN: He wants to deflect responsibility. He doesn't want to be blamed for this. This indicates to me that we're talking about somebody who knew the victim very well.
MATTINGLY: The Fayetteville observer reports that the symbol at the bottom of the letter was also found scrawled in the hotel room where specialist Meagan Touma was apparently murdered, another sign according to experts that the killer was trying to cover his tracks.
What type of crime does this sound like to you?
MAURICE GODWIN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: This is a domestic violence.
MATTINGLY: North Carolina criminal profiler Maurice Godwin agrees. Touma likely died at the hands of someone close. Friends tell CNN she was transferring from Germany to Ft. Bragg to be with her boyfriend and father of her unborn child.
Civilian and military authorities have a person of interest, a soldier at Fort Bragg. But there's been no indication given of any personal connection to the victim.
COOPER: Do we know anything more about this person of interest?
MATTINGLY: Well, this soldier was receiving some specialized training at the JFK Special Warfares Center. That's been described to me as sort of like a university where soldiers can go and get higher education and higher training in a variety of subjects.
This particular soldier, this person of interest was getting some training in psychological operations. But authorities here have not made any indication whatsoever that this person of interest was connected to that letter.
In fact, experts I talked to who have looked at that letter said it looked like no special training at all for someone to come up with something like that, only someone desperate enough and had the barest essential knowledge of what this serial killer was doing.
COOPER: And they made that movie "Zodiac" a year or two ago. So it's like a lot of information certainly out there.
David Mattingly, appreciate the reporting. Thanks for the update.
Erica Hill joins us again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, President Bush today signed legislation that will pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the rest of his presidency and into 2009. The $162 billion bill also doubles college benefits for troops and veterans and extends unemployment benefits by 13 weeks and provides flood relief for the Midwest.
Retail gas prices hitting another record high today, climbing to $4.09 a gallon. That's nearly 38 percent higher than a year ago, and get this, up almost 3 percent in just the last month alone.
The world's oldest profession even feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices. I suppose it was bound to happen. In rural Nevada, brothels that cater to long-haul truckers are reportedly now offering gas cards and other promotions to attract customers after seeing business decline as much as 25 percent from a year ago, which is actually, a pretty steep decline.
COOPER: Do we know what other promotions means?
HILL: No. I'm sure we can guess.
COOPER: No, it's probably not best to know.
And it's now time for our "Beat 360" winner. It's our daily challenge to you the viewer, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption to the picture that we post on our blog everyday. It's also a chance to win a "Beat 360" t-shirt.
Tonight's picture of Senator John McCain being interviewed yesterday in Cincinnati by five-year-old Piper Mackey and her 6-year-old brother, Spencer -- I hope I'm pronouncing their last names correctly. They landed the interview after Spencer sold $4,000 worth of yellow ribbons to benefit troops abroad.
Our staff winner tonight was Chuck. His caption was: "Senator, how do you respond to the charges of flip-flopping on the creamy versus chunky debate."
Our viewer winner is Dan from Toronto. His caption: "Senator McCain, I have three words for you, Vice President Spongebob." Congrats, Dan. You'll receive our "Beat 360" t-shirt.
You can check out all the entries we received on our blog and play along tomorrow by going to our new Website ac360.com.
Just ahead, 12 stories of stubborn. The office building that refused to fall. That shot is next.
COOPER: All right Erica, time now for "The Shot." They huffed and they puffed but they just could not blow this one down. This is a footage of a high-rise demolition -- or I should say attempted demolition at Coral Gables.
You hear things exploding. Nothing is breaking down. Not so much.
HILL: Yes, and no.
COOPER: No. Still there. They imploded almost every inch of this 12-story building except the concrete elevator shaft. Florida did not have a leaning tower of Coral Gables for long. The next morning, they blew up everything that they missed the first time around and there she goes.
HILL: There we go. That is a lovely implosion in two acts. And I'm glad that it eventually made it down.
But there are some others that have gone a bit more smoothly, like perhaps this one from our friends from Vegas.
HILL: That's like a glittery demolition.
COOPER: Looks like there are numbers there involved.
HILL: Yes. It's all a show in Vegas, as we know.
COOPER: They know how to blow up a building.
HILL: These people do not mess around. Coral Gables, I'm glad you rectified it. Take some lessons, Sin City people.
COOPER: We've learned our lesson.
You can see all the most recent shots of things exploding on our new Website, ac360.com. You can also see other segments from the program, read the blog, check out the "Beat 360" picture. The new address again, ac360.com.
That does it for this edition of "360." Thanks for watching.
Larry King is starts right now.
Have a great day. And I'll see you tomorrow night.