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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Auto Bailout Stalled; Same-Sex Marriage Wars; Nebraska's Safe Haven Law
Aired November 19, 2008 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, "Breaking News," more Obama cabinet picks emerging and late word that a deal to bail out Detroit is dying fast for lack of votes. This on a devastating day, the Federal Reserve warning the recession is going to be deeper and longer than we thought and stocks hit a more than five-year low today.
Dow Industrials dropping 427 points closing below 8,000 for the first time since 2003. Asian markets open right now plunging sharply as we speak.
On the auto bailout, tonight we learned that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is putting off a test vote tomorrow on a $25 billion loan package.
One of the big reasons why, the CEOs of Ford, GM and Chrysler flying in by company jets and not winning a lot of friends today; their second day in Washington pleading their case.
It is "Your Money, it's Your Future" at stake. Ali Velshi has the "Breaking News."
So what do you make Ali, of this "Breaking News" that a deal to bailout the big three automakers is not looking likely right now?
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that's probably what helped the DOW plunge below 8,000 for the first time since March of 2003. The idea that if there were a failure, that would put a lot more people out of work and a lot more people out of work means that we don't see that recovery out of this recession very soon.
Anderson, you and I have been talking about that band that I've talking about between 8,500 and 9,000 in the DOW, where the DOW has spent most of the last month and a half. Well look at what happened today. We started off pretty much below that. Barely touched it between 10:00 and 11:00 and then further down all the way down to below 8,000.
That is psychologically and technically an important matter. If this things start to comes back up tomorrow we might have hope that that 8,500 to 9,000 band is actually holding.
But right now, it looks like investors are thinking this is more serious than it actually was. This is mainly about the fact that this automobile deal may not be going through, Anderson. COOPER: So all the big three CEOs said that look, this isn't just about Detroit it about and I quote, "Saving the U.S. economy from a catastrophic collapse." So is that true?
VELSHI: Yes, General Motors CEO, Rick Wagoner was saying that.
Look, that's the point that they have been making, if there isn't a bailout one of the big three and it's most likely General Motors could go into bankruptcy. If the bankruptcy doesn't result in restructuring, it actually results in the liquidation of General Motors, those workers are laid off.
Suppliers, they share suppliers. Between Ford and General Motors and Chrysler, if a supplier goes bankrupt that means Ford and General Motors can't get parts from them and that could cause them to get into further serious problems. We could be talking about more than a million jobs laid off.
What they didn't do Anderson, is give a picture of what would happen if the bailout went through, of whether if we would have a competitive U.S. automobile industry or U.S.-based automobile industry.
But they did tell us it would be pretty bad if they didn't get their bailout.
COOPER: So I mean, how far can this go? I mean, where do you draw the line? It's not just the auto industry that's in dire straits. A lot of American manufactures they can't all be bailed out.
VELSHI: That's the thing to look at.
And let's take a look over the last ten years. We've seen 26 months by the way straight of manufacturing job losses in the United States, not just the auto industry.
But look, we've taken this all the way back to 1998. Look at the drop in 2001 in the recession. One and a half million jobs, there were three million jobs lost in that recession. One and a half million of them were just from manufacturing; 800,000 jobs in 2002. Over the last ten years we have lost more than four million manufacturing jobs in the United States.
So we have been in a long-term decline. There is no one who thinks these jobs are actually coming back in the United States. So maybe what we need to do, is this new government, this new administration and the new Congress needs to think about what we do to actually retrain all of these skilled workers that have been put out of work because we have jobs that maybe they can do in the United States.
But fundamentally, when people in manufacturing industries are put out of work, Anderson, they tend to be out of work because there are no other jobs for them to go to. That is probably a bigger problem than whether or not we want to save the auto industry -- Anderson. COOPER: All right, devastating day today. Ali thanks. As Ali mentioned big three big shots not is now exactly winning friends in Congress. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MICHAEL CAPUANO, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: My fear is that you're going to take this money and continue the same stupid decisions you've made for 25 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: One Massachusetts Congressman venting today. A lot of his fellow Democrats actually support the big three bailout. It hasn't been easy, lawmakers pointing to lousy products, vague promises, lavish pay and outrageous perks.
"360's" Joe Johns is "Keeping them Honest."
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No matter what you think about bailing out the big three automakers and no matter what you think about their CEOs, this just doesn't look good.
In fact, flying to Washington in corporate jets to ask for a $25 billion bailout from the taxpayers is a public relations car wreck.
REP. PETER ROSKAM (R) ILLINOIS: You're talking to people that are schlepping back and forth going through all the drama in the airports every day along with the American public.
My suggestion is that those types of symbolic things, they really matter.
REP. GARY ACKERMAN, (D) NEW YORK: A delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying in to Washington, D.C. and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand.
JOHNS: In the first place, corporate jets are infamous gas guzzlers, flying in one round trip from Washington to Detroit could cost as much as $20,000 as opposed to the more economic and efficient commercial flight which could cost a single passenger about $600 both ways.
In the second place the more obvious question to some is whether a company on the verge of bankruptcy ought to ditch the jet as part of its cost-cutting measures.
REP. BRAD SHERMAN, (D) CALIFORNIA: I'm going to ask you to raise your hand if you're planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show no hands went up.
JOHNS: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors later issued statements essentially saying that the top executives are required to use the company plane for security reasons. GM went further saying that "Making a big to do about this when issues vital to the jobs of millions of American are being discussed in Washington is diverting attention away from a critical debate."
Obviously, it's not illegal, it's not even unethical. This was company business for the CEOs. Even so, at some point it's all about how things look.
And to some on the Hill, at best, this corporate jet thing flies in the face of, well, common sense.
STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE: I mean, when you're talking about how you're about to go bankrupt and that you're hemorrhaging cash to then fly here in your Leer jet is really insulting to the taxpayers.
JOHNS: But still one of the real nice perks of being a big three CEO.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: I love that they have to fly on those jets for security reasons.
Let us know what you think about private jets, American cars and CEOs. Join the live chat at ac360.com. We'll be checking in throughout the hour. Also be sure to catch Erica Hill's live web cast during the break.
Up next, two new Obama cabinet choices, we've got the breaking story on that and the latest on Hillary Clinton. New information on what Bill Clinton is willing to reveal to help her get the job as Secretary of State. And now it's not even clear she wants that.
Plus, a chilling and racially charged message from Al Qaeda to Barack Obama. Peter Bergen joins us for the latest on the terror threat.
And a big development tonight on the battle over same-sex marriage. California Supreme Court weighs in. We'll talk about what it means for San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom.
COOPER: More "Breaking News" tonight. The Obama cabinet filling up, we've just gotten word of two more major picks, a third likely appointment and the ongoing drama of a fourth; Hillary Clinton at the State Department.
Handling it all for us in Chicago, a very busy night, Jessica Yellin -- Jessica. JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson, that's right. It looks like two new female faces could be added to Barack Obama's cabinet, if he gets his way.
Leading candidates for two new jobs, Janet Napolitano, the current Governor of Arizona, a former federal prosecutor and Attorney General there we're told is Obama's leading candidate to run the Department of Homeland Security. And Penny Pritzker, a Chicago billionaire businesswoman, also the head of Obama's finance effort during the campaign, raised record-breaking amount of money for him, is being considered for Commerce Secretary.
Both women were told would accept the formal offer of those jobs if they pass the vet. Those vets we're told are underway by the Obama campaign.
Also today, CNN's Ed Henry broke the news that Tom Daschle is being considered the leading choice to run Health and Human Services and take charge of the health care reform program for Barack Obama; an important initiative.
But all of this takes second billing to the big question right now here in Chicago; will Senator Hillary Clinton become Barack Obama's Secretary of State?
As you know, one of the big dramas surrounding the Clinton choice is whether her husband Bill Clinton and his business contacts would preclude her from passing any kind of a vet. And we understand that Bill Clinton has agreed to work with the Obama campaign on a number of issues.
He had said publicly he'll do whatever he wants. And I've been told by a top source he's aware of his offerings, that he has agreed to release the names of several of his major donors to his charitable foundations, that he will submit future foundation activities and speeches to an ethics review, that Clinton says he'll step away from his day-to-day responsibility at his foundation and he would let the State Department know of any upcoming speeches or business agreements he would reach.
All of these major concessions to pave the way and allow his wife to become Secretary of State if she chooses to do so -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, that is the big question. If she is choosing to and we're hearing out that the Democratic leadership may have a new role for Senator Clinton. What is the new role and what does that actually mean that this thing is being floated now?
YELLIN: Well, multiple sources who are close to Senator Clinton say she is immensely flattered, considering this seriously but has not yet decided whether she would accept a Secretary of State job were it to be formally offered.
And the Democratic leadership in the Senate has made it clear that if she chooses to stay in the Senate there will be a special role for her. So I've talked to multiple people in Congress or Democrats associated with these process who tell me Harry Reid the leader of the Senate Democrats is willing to create some kind of new leadership position that doesn't currently exist but something that would be special for Senator Clinton so that if she chooses to stay she would have an important place in the Senate.
Her mind is not made up, we are told.
COOPER: All right, Jessica Yellin, thanks so much.
Whatever Hillary Clinton's next step turns out to be, one thing is certain, even though she has lost her presidential bid her political capital only seems to have increased.
We're going to talk about that with our panel in a moment.
Also the drama over Bill Clinton is really just the latest chapter in the fascinating history of this power couple.
"Up Close" here is Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Bill Clinton was running for his first term and under attack over his personal life Hillary Clinton famously declared she was not just standing by her man.
But the Clintons have stood by each other through good times and bad ever since. His agreement to open up some of his foundation's donor records the latest evidence.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think that Bill Clinton would do anything that Hillary Clinton asked. This is really a partnership.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you think of Hillary you think of our real slogan, buy one and get one free.
FOREMAN: The Clintons have been married for 33 years, through a governorship, a presidency, eight years in the Senate. Their dynamic duo approach has made them one of Washington's all time premier political couples.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is on the first article of impeachment.
FOREMAN: When he struggled in his presidency, her support never wavered. When her campaign was staggering --
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: I just don't want to see us fall backwards.
FOREMAN: He pushed on to the bitter end.
B. CLINTON: My family's not big on quitting. You probably noticed that.
FOREMAN: All of it built both their reputations among friends and foes.
ROSEN: Hillary Clinton got 18 million votes in the primary. They are both still young. This couple is going to be around in the American political life for a long time.
FOREMAN: They have certainly become twin powers in politics.
In this most recent campaign a late summer poll found that while Bill Clinton remains wildly popular with voters they now like Hillary Clinton even more. You could call it one more win in the wake of their toughest loss.
No wonder one political opponent suggested if politics were a sport our top team might be the Clintons.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well have more on the Clinton factor, the concession, the leaks and the drama coming up. We'll talk about it with David Gergen, and Paul Begala and Jamal Simmons, next.
And later, the fight against California's same-sex marriage ban getting a boost from the state's Supreme Court. But should the court be able to overturn the will of California voters? We'll ask San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom.
Also, the law was supposed to let parents leave unwanted babies at local emergency rooms. So how did parents end up ditching unwanted teenagers there, legally? A mind boggling installment of "Lawmakers Do the Darnedest Things" when "360" continues.
COOPER: Updating our "Breaking News." President-elect Obama's dream cabinet is slowly coming into shape. Three new names mentioned today; the possibilities Arizona Governor, Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security; Chicago business woman, Penny Pritzker is Commerce Secretary; Tom Daschle for Health and Human Services and there's also of course, Eric Holder for Attorney General and possibly Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State.
But the Clinton factor is dominating the headlines. Will she take the job? And how much will Bill Clinton reveal and are there too many Clintonites already in the new administration.
Let's talk "Strategy" with CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser, David Gergen; CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala and Democratic National Committee Adviser, Jamal Simmons.
So David, former President Clinton is offering some pretty big concessions, it seems, in order to pave the way for Senator Clinton to become the Secretary of State. Do you think she really wants it?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I don't think he'd make these concessions unless he thought that she might really want it and he wanted to clear the way to make sure if that's what she has wanted, that's what they would do.
I think in effect, Anderson, they have an understanding. It was his turn first and now it is her turn. And he wants to be just as supportive of her as she was of him. Whatever you may say about this relationship, I think they have both been deeply loyal to each other in that sense.
COOPER: But now Paul, others on Capitol Hill are floating this idea of her staying in the senate and having a more pronounced role there. Why would they floating that idea if Hillary Clinton was really behind the idea of the Secretary of State?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think she's authentically torn. And I suspect her colleagues know that and I think they probably could use her leadership on issues like health care.
Look, no one in America knows more about health care than Teddy Kennedy. He is the Chairman of the Health Committee in the Senate. He has been a hero and champion of that cause for decades.
And I think today, maybe yesterday, he announced that he is going to create three task forces to help him with this and ask Hillary to chair one of those task forces. That's an extraordinarily generous gesture from a very senior senator to a rather junior senator.
Now there's talk that perhaps the Senate Democratic leadership is looking for some sort of a new role for Hillary as well. I think it's because they like her. I think they would like her to stay there. And I think she's really torn because she loves the Senate but Secretary of State is a good gig.
COOPER: And Jamal Simmons, Barack Obama has talked about change. Is having Hillary Clinton on a task force about health care change? I mean, haven't we been through this?
JAMAL SIMMONS, ADVISER, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, you know Senator Clinton really re-established herself as a national political force during the campaign. If you look at her role in the senate, I think she'll do fine there. If she wants to be Secretary of State, she also brings the international half, the strength and toughness to do that job to the international figures, so she can do that job also very well.
I was in Orlando with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama when they spoke down there right before the end of the campaign. And I saw them backstage and I saw the way they interacted with each other. And it was very interesting to see Bill Clinton behave sort of deferentially toward Barack Obama. And he arrived first and greeted him.
And I think that's the kind of thing; he is willing to do whatever it takes to make this work. And I believe that based upon what I've seen with the two of them together.
COOPER: But David, how much do we really know though, about the finances of Clinton's library and all these business dealings that he has been engaged in? I mean, obviously, he has done a tremendous amount of work with his global initiative and a lot of amazing work around the world on HIV and other issues and poverty.
But there are still a lot of questions. And it doesn't seem like the concessions that he is making, it's all very forward concessions about he'll name some major donors, he'll do future speeches, he'll clear them in advance and he'll go away from the day-to-day operations.
It doesn't seem much looking back. Does that matter?
GERGEN: Well, I think, Anderson, it's a two-part process. One is the past. And for that they seem to be trying to arrive at an arrangement where all major donors to his foundation and in fact his library and the Clinton's global initiative would be disclosed.
We already know there are a lot of Arab powers in there, and a lot of Arab governments, other Arab investors. And I think that has been a concern here in the last few years given all the 9/11 and everything else has happened in the Arab world.
But beyond that, I think they are putting -- obviously putting the emphasis on the future and to make sure that there are no conflicts of interest in the future. They think they can live with whatever the embarrassments if there are any embarrassments -- and we don't know that -- of the past as long as they protect the future.
But let me just say one other thing about her senate role. The naming of Tom Daschle today was really important. Because it not only puts a top flight former majority leader in that chair, but CNN reported he will be the health czar. And that is he will have enough -- not like former previous Secretaries who had to sit there and watch the White House develop the health care policy as it did in the Clinton administration.
But actually, he would be the prime architect. He is going to be the lead player on this; Teddy Kennedy is going to play a major role. Whatever they offered to Hillary Clinton on health care will be very much as a team player, not as a prime architect.
So for that reason I think this is nice what they are doing, but it's seems to me, it's more likely she will go to the State Department. I would not be surprised if she doesn't but I think it's more likely she'll do that.
SIMMONS: And Anderson, let's not forget, that Barack Obama really owes his presidential run in many ways to Tom Daschle who brought a lot of that team together from Dan Phifer, the communications director to Steve Hildebrand, and Paul Tusch all those guys who are Daschle guys who came over to that campaign and really helped him get over to the finish line.
COOPER: Paul, for all the talk though, that we've heard about Doris Kearns Goodwin's book and the "Team of Rivals," and stuff --
COOPER: I don't see many Republicans up at this point and it is a lot of people with ties to the Clintons.
BEGALA: Right. I mean, of course, who would want to have people who actually know something about peace and prosperity?
COOPER: Peace and prosperity there. But for those people who say Barack Obama said it is all about change there are some were saying look, is this really change?
BEGALA: You're asking me if there are too many Clintons would be like asking do we have enough of the best political team on "AC 360." I mean the more the merrier.
They did a pretty good job you've got to say and I do believe that that change message was -- first about changing the policies of George W. Bush, it was Bush who was the foil on that but also cleaning up the corruption in Washington. There is a long way to go on that but I think he has made great strides in that in the way he conducted his own campaign.
But I think you made a good point about partisan diversity. I do -- and I'm a professional partisan as you know -- I do want to see Republicans taking on important jobs in this government, it's important.
But let's give the President-elect some time. David has a longer memory than I do but I can't recall a President-elect naming any major cabinet offices before December 1st.
And this President-elect seems so far down the road on so many. We've talked about an Attorney General, a Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, I think he is really actually moving at quite a rapid pace.
COOPER: David, I want you to have the final point. Would you like to weigh in on this?
GERGEN: Moving very rapidly. Today, Anderson, it was interesting that they leaked Janet Napolitano, and Penny Pritzker, two and as well as Tom Daschle, all three not from the Clinton tradition.
COOPER: That's right.
GERGEN: And not from the Clinton administration.
COOPER: Yes. And not a coincidence, perhaps there. David Gergen, Paul Begala and Jamal Simmons, thanks very much as always.
SIMMONS: Thank you.
COOPER: Still ahead, do you think Washington has changed? We've been talking about change there. You've got to see this next story. Lobbyists already paying to schmooze with, and no doubt try to influence newly elected Democratic Congressmen.
Drew Griffin is "Keeping them Honest."
Also ahead, a big court weighs in on California's same-sex marriage ban. Could it mean the end of Prop 8? San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom joins us.
COOPER: A convicted felon, now a future former senator, Alaska's Ted Stevens made it official today conceding defeat in the race against Democrat, Mark Begich.
Stevens, the longest serving Republican in the Senate history, was found guilty last month of lying about thousands of dollars in gifts and money on federal disclosure forms. But he's going to leave with a yearly pension of $122,000 a year.
It is a lot of money. But there is more than enough cash apparently going around in Washington these days. Case in point, some Democrat leaders they're making sure the freshman class arrives at the Capitol with plenty of change in their pockets.
Call it "pay to play politics."
Special Investigations Unit correspondent, Drew Griffin is "Keeping them Honest."
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT CORRESPONDENT: You may not know Ric Fenton but you can bet the freshmen Democrats in Congress who turned out at Democratic Party Headquarters might not forget him.
Fenton is a lobbyist who unabashedly showed up at a fund-raiser this morning introducing the newest Democratic members of Congress to how the old boys do business.
Is this cynically buying access?
RIC FENTON, LOBBYIST, KLEIN AND SAKS GROUP: No. Absolutely not, we're just educators. We provide an important function as an education function.
GRIFFIN: Fenton is a lobbyist who educates members of Congress on mining interests. He was one of a string of lobbyists and political action committee contributors who responded to this invitation to a new member debt retirement reception.
There was even a suggested contribution amount from $2,500 to $20,000 and a dance card so you, the contributor, can make sure you don't miss anyone.
How much money are you giving today?
FENTON: I think we are giving $5,000 or something.
GRIFFIN: To one or a bunch?
FENTON: No, to several. We go through that fairly thoroughly.
GRIFFIN: So is that right?
"Keeping them Honest" we watched who went to the early breakfast which was sponsored by Congressman John Dingell, who didn't talk to us, and Congressman Nick Rahall, who did.
It seems like same old business as usual, retire the debt and introduce the new members to the old packed money.
REP. NICK RAHALL, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: Well, do you have an alternative?
GRIFFIN: If this looks, sounds, and seems like old-fashioned pay-to-play politics, that's because Joan Claybrook of the watchdog group Public Citizen says, well, it is.
This is change?
JOAN CLAYBROOK, PRESIDENT, PUBLIC CITIZEN: Yes, right. This is the old-boy network at work. This is all strings attached. They know who gave the money. And when the key issues come up, key bills, key amendments, these members are going to be approached by these special interests and asked to vote with them, because they gave the money.
GRIFFIN: Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, with his arm around the newest member of Congress from Michigan, told us it's way overplayed. Members of Congress vote in their donors' interest.
So what do these people who come in with the $5,000 and $10,000 checks, what are they getting if they're not getting access in votes?
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, of course, they're getting access, just as a citizen gets access when they go to a town meeting and spend some time there or when they volunteer in a campaign. They have an ear that they can talk to. That's true.
But the fact is, you'd be surprised at how many people in this room are Democrats first and interest representatives second.
GRIFFIN: No one is saying just how much money was raised.
Did you get a lot of money?
But those new Democrats who may have come to Washington with change on their minds, at least left the DNC with some change in their pockets, too.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: I'm going to remember that. A lobbyist is an educator. Remember that, folks.
Let's check some of the other stories we're following tonight. Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: It's been noted, Anderson.
India's navy says one of its warships, the bigger of the two ships which we're about to show you, exchanged fire with a pirate vessel off the Horn of Africa and badly damaged it.
Merchant vessels like this one use the waters as a superhighway, as do many supertankers carrying oil to the U.S. Piracy there is surging. And it really is not a joke. Eight ships have been hijacked just this week alone.
The father of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver has been hospitalized in Houston following an alleged beating by police. Relatives of Marvin Driver Jr. say he was beaten sometime after his arrest for outstanding traffic warrants early Monday morning. The two officers involved remain on duty pending further investigation.
A Texas judge says he'll allow Vice President Dick Cheney and former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to waive their arraignment on Friday on charges of prisoner abuse. The alleged abuse happened at a federal detention center in South Texas. The judge also said he would not issue warrants, allowing both men to avoid arrest.
A bit of a consolation prize for John McCain. Today he was declared the unofficial winner in Missouri, bringing the final electoral official count to 365 for Obama, 173 for McCain.
And at the Obama transition headquarters in Chicago, Senator Joe Biden getting a little early birthday celebration today; the next vice president turns 66 tomorrow. Starting off with some cupcakes there from Barack Obama.
COOPER: How about that? And it was Larry King's birthday today.
HILL: Happy belated birthday, Larry King. Well, still his birthday, I guess. Not belated yet.
COOPER: He's still got a few more hours on this birthday.
Still ahead, it sure was not -- wasn't to wish him a happy birthday; Al Qaeda's racist message for President-elect Obama. Did you hear this thing? We'll play some of it for you.
Plus, the fight over California's same-sex marriage ban reaches the state Supreme Court. Will Prop 8 be overturned? The mayor of San Francisco weighs in.
Also, parents abandoning their teenagers, and it's perfectly legal. Where this is happening and why, ahead on 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Protesters this past weekend against California's Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. There was a major new development today. The state's highest court said the initiative can be enforced. They're not going to try to delay it. But at the same time, the court agreed in March to hear arguments on its validity.
And they're going to focus on three questions: does Prop 8 revise the state's constitution instead of amending it? Does it also violate the state's constitution separation of powers doctrine, violating judges' ability to guarantee equal rights? And the court is going to try to decide what happens to the thousands of gay marriages that have already taken place.
COOPER: Mayor Newsom joins us now.
Mayor Newsom, you said you were optimistic today that the court is, in fact, going to side with those who oppose Proposition 8. What gives you hope?
MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM, SAN FRANCISCO: Well, I mean, the question in front of the court now and the question that they're willing to adjudicate is the validity of Proposition 8. And the question really is this, Anderson: whether or not it's an amendment to the constitution in the state of California or it's a revision.
The court has, in nine previous occasions over the last 100 years, made a determination in three of those instances that amendments were, in fact, not amendments but actual revisions. We believe there is some continuity to those decisions, and that gives us confidence in the context of this one.
COOPER: But for something to be ruled a revision it has to be decided as a fundamental change in government structure. How is gay marriage, or overturning gay marriage, changing state government structure?
NEWSOM: Well, remember, something was legal in the state of California, as legal as my ability to get married to my wife. And that was simply stripped away and taken away by a simple majority vote. Leaving the courts with what?
If you change the law that's one thing; the courts adjudicate the constitutionality of that law. But if you change the constitution, what role does the court have now in terms of adjudicating whether or not that's constitutional?
COOPER: There's also the issue of whether or not -- basically, it boils down to who should be able to determine what is right for a group of people; the people or a judge.
NEWSOM: Yes. I mean, this is an interesting point. Look, if we were having this conversation in 1967, we would have had a U.S. Supreme Court, the loving court, that unanimously decided to get rid of all of those laws in the remaining 16 states that denied interracial marriage.
If we had gone to the voters, almost every public opinion poll showed that the overwhelming majority of voters would have overturned that court decision.
The question is, is that appropriate? Should we go in front of the voters every time there is an adjudication in the courts that we don't like and submit the rights of minorities to the whims of the majority, based upon the morality of the day? That's what's happened here in California.
COOPER: The supporters of Prop 8, though, say look, the will of the people have spoken. This thing has been voted on twice now in California.
COOPER: And this is the result and folks should live with it.
NEWSOM: Well, what's next? I mean, now, if this is the basis of principle, what other rights should we take away? And is the court powerless in each and every case when the voters by a majority decide to change the constitution, again based upon the issue of the day?
COOPER: A political question for you. As a Democrat, how disappointed are you that President-elect Barack Obama and then- candidate Obama did not really speak out forcefully on this issue at all?
NEWSOM: I'm a pragmatist. I'm a pragmatist. I'll leave it at that. You can read between the lines. I'm getting used to it.
Look, I understand it's a tough issue. I have very strong convictions about this. They're not shared by the majority of the elected officials in Washington, D.C. I'm hardly the favored nation status with some of these elected officials, because the issue is a tough one.
Good people can disagree, and I respect that. But if they don't disagree, and they're doing it for political expediency, that's something I have a difficult time with.
I don't know Barack Obama's position on this except what he's stated. He disagrees in fundamental equality in the context of equal protection on the issue of marriage versus civil unions. Good people, again, can disagree. I'm just proud that he's our president and hopefully one day, he'll come around to our point of view.
COOPER: All right. There's going to be a hearing in March; probably a ruling, maybe three months after that. We'll be watching.
Mayor Newsom, thank you.
NEWSOM: Thanks, Anderson. COOPER: Still ahead on the program tonight, just 15 days after becoming president-elect, Obama gets a message from al Qaeda, the language offensive, the tone taunting. How significant is it, and how is the battle against al Qaeda going?
CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen joins me live.
Also ahead, why the Arizona 8-year-old charged with murdering his father and another man -- we told you about him last night -- he's going to get out of jail soon. We'll tell you why and for how long when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENT-ELECT: A new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear the world down, we will defeat you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the message President-elect Obama sent to al Qaeda and others on election night. And today he got a response. Osama bin Laden's No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri released an audio message today in Arabic with subtitles in English. Zawahiri taunts the president-elect and uses racial insults.
The authenticity of the tape, we should point out, is still being confirmed.
Joining me now, national security analyst Peter Bergen.
Peter, I just want to play for our viewers one or two of these sound bites. Let's listen to one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, SECOND IN COMMAND, AL QAEDA: (speaking in Arabic)
GRAPHIC: And in you and in Colin Powel, Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X, may Allah have mercy on him, concerning "House Negroes" are confirmed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sorry. I thought we had an English translation of that. That would have probably made it easier for our viewers to actually listen to what was being said.
He also says that Obama represents the direct opposite of honorable black Americans. Why all these Malcolm X references? What's he trying to accomplish here?
PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, of late, Anderson, both Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, obviously, they've got a lot of time on their hands, sitting around, trying to avoid being killed by a Hellfire missile strike. But in between those, they're doing a lot of reading.
And they're reading Noam Chomski, and they're reading Malcolm X, because in recent statements from both of al Qaeda's leaders, they've mentioned these books. Probably because of the influence of an American member of al Qaeda, a guy called Adam Gadahn, somebody from California, a Jewish family converted to Islam, is now with al Qaeda. And I think he's introducing al Qaeda's leaders to these texts.
COOPER: I wanted to -- I'm not going to play that other bite, because it's again -- it's in Arabic. I'm going to read it.
He goes on to say, "You were born to a Muslim father, but you chose to stand in the ranks of the enemies of the Muslims and pray the prayer of the Jews, although you claim to be Christian in order to climb the rungs of leadership in America."
I mean, why bring up his father?
BERGEN: Well, Anderson, I think it's quite an important point for Zawahiri, basically because President-elect Obama had a Muslim father but is, in fact, not a Muslim.
In Zawahiri's world view, he's actually an apostate, which is the worst thing you can be, which is somebody who's actually rejected Islam. And therefore, that allows you, actually, to be killed in Zawahiri's view. So he's leveling a quite serious charge in -- in his own world view.
COOPER: There has been an uptick, uptick in drone attacks against al Qaeda targets in Pakistan. And I've read even cyber attacks by the U.S. against al Qaeda Web sites. How is the fight going?
BERGEN: Well, I think that these attacks seem to be somewhat effective. I mean, we haven't heard from Osama bin Laden; widely expected to come out with a videotape or audio tape before the presidential election, as he did four years ago.
That tape may be still in the pipeline, but it may also be possible that the missile strikes you referenced, of which there have been nine just this last month, according to a count by CNN's Pakistan bureau, that these strikes have, A, taken out members of al Qaeda and, B, disrupted operations quite significantly.
COOPER: Do we know to what extent they are still capable of -- how much of this is still kind of centrally organized out of, you know, northern Waziristan, the border regions of Pakistan and how much of it is now sort of a multi-headed hydra around the world?
BERGEN: Well, I think if there is a major terrorist attack in Britain or somewhere against American targets outside of the United States it almost certainly will have been organized from that area. But clearly, these missile strikes are having, I think, some effect. And -- but their ability -- I think Al Qaeda's ability to attack the United States right now is pretty much close to zero.
COOPER: All right. Peter Bergen, we'll end on that note. Thanks, Peter.
Up next on 360, teenagers being discarded by their parents at hospitals; teenagers. It's happening in one state and for now perfectly legal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I shot my dad because he was suffering, I think. I think I shot him because he was suffering so I might have shot him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: An interrogation of an eight-year-old boy questioned by two female police officers about the killings of his father and another man. We told you about this last night. Authorities said the child confessed to shooting both the men with a rifle. But the interview was conducted without a defense attorney or any family member present, and the boy was not read his rights.
His lawyer calls it improper. The child is being charged as a juvenile.
Just a little 360 follow-up. Today he was in court where a judge said he could be released from custody for 48 hours so he could be with his mother for Thanksgiving.
In Nebraska, the legislature will vote on Friday to amend a controversial safe haven law. You may have heard about it already. As the law stands tonight, parents of unwanted kids can drop them off at hospitals. But it's not just for newborns or infants. See, there's no age limit involved.
And the result, boys and girls and even teenagers as old as 17 are being abandoned by their moms and dads. The question is how did this happen and why?
In tonight's "Uncovering America" report, here's Sean Callebs.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A short trip through the doors of the Emanuel Medical Center ER in late September, and Lavennia Coover surrendered custody of her 11-year-old son Skylar (ph), protected by Nebraska's safe haven law.
LAVENNIA COOVER, DUMPED CHILD AT HOSPITAL: That night, I gave Skylar a kiss and a hug, and I told him that I loved him, and I went home.
CALLEBS: She went home alone. Coover said she didn't want to leave Skylar in the hands of the state but testified before Nebraska lawmakers that her son was violent, bipolar and she couldn't control him.
COOVER: He would kick at my face when I tried to wake him up. He would hit at me, cuss at me and throw things at me.
CALLEBS: Social worker Courtney Anderson, who's handled many safe haven kids, says think about the child.
COURTNEY ANDERSON, SOCIAL WORKER: Some children have been begging their parents or guardians not to leave. They might not really understand why they're being left at the hospital, but they know that they are being left and the parent or guardian might be fleeing.
CALLEBS: The safe haven law is designed to protect infants when stressed parents feel they just can't take care of them, allowing children to be dropped off safely at hospitals.
Unlike other states, Nebraska's safe haven law did not include an age limit. Well, no one here thought so many children would be dropped off so quickly; nearly three dozen in just a few months and not one of them an infant.
BRAD ASHFORD, NEBRASKA STATE SENATE: We didn't think that it would be used to the extent it was. We didn't anticipate children coming from -- from other states.
CALLEBS: Social workers say many kids dropped off had serious mental health issues. A lot end up in Nebraska's Boys Town, the state home for boys started by Father Flanagan nearly a century ago and featured in the famous Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy film.
The executive director of Boys Town today says Nebraska's law has exposed a dirty little secret.
REV. STEVEN BOES, DIRECTOR, BOYS TOWN: I think it shows that what's going on is there are parents who are so desperate to get their kids help that they just don't know what to do.
CALLEBS: Lavennia Coover still doesn't know what to do, saying she has become a target.
COOVER: I have endured judgments and criticisms ranging from "these parents do not want the responsibility anymore" to "how could anyone abandon their child?" to being accused of neglect.
CALLEBS: Despite discovering Nebraska's dirty little secret, state lawmakers say they will change the safe haven law to allow abandoning only infants less than 30 days old, and families like Lavennia Coover and her son Skylar will have to fend for themselves.
Sean Callebs, CNN, Lincoln, Nebraska.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Up next, special delivery. Meet one of our top ten CNN Heroes who's going the extra mile, literally, to help those in need. Her story when "360" continues.
COOPER: Time is running out for you to vote for the CNN Hero of the Year. You only have a couple more hours to cast your ballot. We're going to tell you how in a moment.
But first, we want to introduce you to one of our top ten CNN heroes. Maria Ruiz lives in El Paso, Texas. She crosses the border into Mexico several times a week, though, to help those in need. Here's her story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA RUIZ, FINALIST, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, they are known as the twin cities but you cross over the border into Juarez, you notice a difference.
In 1996, I came to the outskirts of Juarez; when I saw the poverty level that they were living in, my world changed completely.
I'm Maria Ruiz and I cross the border to help people in Juarez. I decided to start the food program. I fed approximately 1,200 kids on a daily basis for three and a half years. Now we collect the donations, we take furniture, food, toys, almost about anything.
We're ready to go.
Crossing the border involves a lot of work and time. I've crossed thousands of times. We give out whatever we have. It's like a distribution center.
All of the work we do is part of the family's ministry. But regardless of whether they are Christian, it's equal for everybody.
I don't consider myself a hero. I know I can do much more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Time is running out for you to vote; you only have a couple more hours. The web site again, CNN.com/heroes; about a million people have voted so far, be one of them.
Join me on Thanksgiving night right here on CNN where all the heroes are going to be honored in an all-star tribute.
That does it for this edition of "360." Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.