Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Tracking the Money; VP War of Words; Eggs for Cash
Aired December 22, 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 -- your money. Hundreds of billions to bail out banks and rescue the economy. But what is it buying? It turns out not even accountability. The banks aren't say what they've done with the dough. Some are still paying big bonuses and handing out perks. Don't they get it.
Tonight we're "Keeping them Honest."
Also ahead in this hour, free advice from Vice President Cheney and warning Joe Biden in so many words not to be a little girlie Vice President. See what Biden thinks about that and what Americans think of Cheney. New polling tonight on the job they think he's done.
And later, the one good thing to come out of the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal; 47 dogs finally living a dog's life. We'll show you the happy lives they are living today.
We begin though with quite frankly an outrage; $350 billion, give or take, and barely a clue to what it's all buying. It's your money we're talking about. More money, in today's dollars than the Marshall plan, more than the Apollo moon program. Nearly as much as it cost to build the entire interstate highway system. $350 billion with another $350 billion ready to go and as you are about to see, no accountability.
Joe Johns tonight "Keeping them Honest."
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 2008 may be coming to a close, but the financial disaster it brought may be far from over. And we may never know what some of the nation's biggest banks have done with tens of billions of dollars of your money.
The bailout money was supposed to be used to jump-start the economy by re-energizing lending. But some of the banks can't tell you what they did with it. Some of them won't tell you. And some of them even admit they're still working on what to do with it.
People on Capitol Hill aren't happy.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) MARYLAND: When I think about banks and the way that -- if you bounce a check, they're going to charge you $35 or $50 for a bounced check. And they're going to demand strict accountability. But when they get billions, they don't want to be accountable. There is something wrong with that picture.
JOHNS: 21 banks that each got a billion dollars or more from the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program simply didn't have specifics when the Associated Press asked them, "What are you doing with the money?"
J.P. Morgan Chase -- "We've lent some of it. We've not lent some of it. We're not giving any accounting of here's how we're doing it."
Suntrust -- "We're not providing dollar in, dollar out tracking."
Bank of New York Mellon -- "We're choosing not to disclose that."
CUMMINGS: There is nothing that upsets me more than a bank that comes to the Congress begging for money, and then once they get the money, turn around and say, na, na, na, see you later. I'm not going to tell you anything.
JOHNS: Ok, so why is it that the recipients of billions of federal dollars won't just throw open their books? There's simply no way to tell. But a report earlier this month from the Government Accountability Office says the banks weren't told at the outset they had a duty to disclose.
But the report said, "Without effective oversight, Treasury cannot ensure that those receiving funds are complying with the requirements of the program." The Treasury has said it had to get the money out quickly to the banks because it was an emergency.
Elizabeth Warren, who heads the Congressional panel monitoring TARP, has ten big questions about the way the program is being run. She says she doesn't buy a winter coat without a plan.
COOPER: I mean, at some point, Joe, aren't these folks going to have to explain to taxpayers where all the money has gone?
JOHNS: You would think so, Anderson.
Elijah Cummings predicts that pretty soon Congress is going to have to figure out where it went because there's another $350 billion in the pipeline.
And he says that before people on Capitol Hill allow that money, you know, back into the bank's vault, they will want an accounting so they don't make the same mistake twice.
COOPER: Unbelievable. Joe, thanks.
So much money, so little accountability, that is the bottom line.
And so is this, before they came to you and me for bailout and a lot of big executives cashed in and are still getting paid a lot of money, even right now. It's as if they don't get it.
Here's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The markets continue to shake. Holiday shopping is down. Unemployment is up. But not necessarily everyone is worried about personal finances.
A new analysis of more than 100 of those financial institutions being bailed out with your tax dollars shows they were throwing buckets of money at their top executives just last year before the industry tanked.
The Associated Press says the big bosses in those firms raked in a staggering $1.6 billion in salaries, benefits and bonuses in 2007.
For example, the AP says the top man at Goldman Sachs pocketed $54 million. Add in the pay for his top four lieutenants, and it's nearly a quarter billion. At Capital One the AP found, the chair pulled in $17 million and the big man at Merrill Lynch, $83 million in earnings last year.
To be sure, some executives at bailout companies say they are foregoing their salaries and will give up bonuses this year, too, unless their companies bounce back. And they are trimming down on perks like country club memberships and private chauffeurs. But --
PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: They are not suffering. I mean, the base salary of the top officials at some of these banks is about $600,000 a year, which is more than most people see in five or ten years.
FOREMAN: And remember those corporate jets the auto bosses brought to D.C.? Although many firms say they are also cutting back on those, the execs are hardly grounded.
For instance, a spokesman at AIG confirms even after the current cuts that company will still have five planes and a helicopter.
MORICI: You know, you really wonder whether they shouldn't have to give some of last year's bonuses back.
COOPER: There was so much talk during Congressional hearings about this bailout, about cutting back on executive pay. Where has all that gone?
FOREMAN: What it seems to me Anderson, is from the beginning there was a pushback from some people in these debates -- the Treasury Department among them saying, if you take too many of the perks away, to hit these execs too hard, they either won't participate or they'll walk away and then where will we be.
COOPER: Where are they going to go? Though, there are not any other companies around. FOREMAN: Exactly, that's a good point. And the point is they have the expertise. Well, if their expertise was so great when they were making all this money last year, --
FOREMAN: Why didn't they head off the problems?
COOPER: Yes, it's unbelievable. Tom thanks.
Let us know what you think of the bailout so far. Join the live chat happening now at ac360.com, I'm online as well. Check out Erica Hill's live web cast also during the break.
Up next, Joe Johns, Ed Henry, and David Gergen weigh in on the bailout and Obama's expanding economic plan.
And later, Joe Biden and Dick Cheney's war of words over the job of the Vice President and what Americans have to say about the last eight years of Cheney.
Also, Michael Vick's innocent victims. What happened to the dogs his operation tried to turn to killers? Tonight the happy ending for dozens of dogs. Where they are tonight when "360" continues.
COOPER: President-elect Obama spending the holidays in Hawaii. Over the weekend he laid out a more aggressive economic stimulus program with a new goal of creating or preserving 3 million jobs over the next two years, that's up half a million jobs from just what he was talking about a month ago.
And just a side note, the Obama transition team has received more than 300,000 resumes or letters of interest compared to some 44,000 during the Bush transition.
So let's "Dig Deeper" on jobs, dollars with Ed Henry, Joe Johns and senior political analyst, David Gergen.
David, you probably heard that last report just about the lack of transparency in terms of accountability, where those -- the money is going and still these executives taking huge bonuses. Do these companies just not get it?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think first of all, there's a lot of responsibility that rests with Washington and passing a plan that really did not have these accountability provisions in it. It didn't have any way to really ensure that there were hooks into these companies when they received the money.
In defense of the banks, well, they say they've been sitting on a lot of this money because people don't want to borrow. Small business owners are reluctant to invest right now because they don't know where the economy is going. On the bonuses, I think there has been just a terrible blindness in Wall Street for a while. To be fair, a lot of these bonuses were in 2007 before everything hit the fan.
But even so, they have been living at the trough and -- for so heavily so long that that's what's caused this huge negative reaction and why the public is so angry and why, I think, Anderson, we're going to need -- it's very clear that the economy is now going to go through another 100 to maybe 150 days of really tough stuff coming up in the weeks ahead.
And unemployment is going to go up. We're going to see a lot more bad numbers coming out of Wall Street. They're going to need to get into that extra $350 billion. It's still there, that TARP money.
Congress, this time has to put some hooks into it, has to insist on accountability. And I would assume the Obama administration would go along with that right from the start.
COOPER: Joe, do we know -- I mean, if the Obama administration has any special plans for tracking the money or anything new or does Congress have any plans to start tracking this money better?
JOHNS: It certainly sounds like there are people on the Hill who are talking about putting something in there that looks like transparency. Something in there that looks like disclosure because when you look at what's going on in the administration right now, they've said sort of two things.
The first thing they've said is, "Hey, we're working on it." The second thing they've said is, "Well, we believe in general metrics," and what general metrics means is you look at the overall effect on the economy to decide whether or not the money you infused is actually working.
And people say, hey, that looks a whole lot to me like just a general subsidy to the banks that they don't have to pay back with no strings attached.
So there are people on the Hill that are very concerned about, of course, this will be a Democratic administration with a Democratic Congress and the politics of that doesn't necessarily suggest more accountability.
COOPER: Ed, let's talk about the economic stimulus plan for Obama, the job creation plan, which is different than this bailout plan so far.
He wants to create now 3 million jobs over the next two years; Price tag some $775 billion. Do we know a lot of details about this, and do we know if there's going to be accountability in that for so it doesn't just turn out to be money spent on pork projects?
ED HENRY, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We do know some details. There was a meeting last Tuesday in Chicago behind closed doors. We're told by people in the room that basically Barack Obama got some dire forecasts that this recession could be a lot deeper, a lot worse than expected.
And so he basically told the staff in that room, I need you to be bigger, I need you to be bolder. We need to come up with a bigger plan. And that's why we've got that $775 billion plan basically on the table as you noted.
The details that we're aware of, basically, that he wants to do more building of roads and bridges, a kind of infrastructure projects that would create construction jobs in the short term but help the nation's infrastructure in long term. Rebuild some schools. Again, create some construction jobs in the short term but, long term try to improve education in the nation.
But in terms of accountability -- you're absolutely right -- there are a lot of questions hanging over all of this money that's plying around. You have some Republicans and some Conservative Democrats starting to say, "Look, where is the end to these bailouts, the stimulus plan."
They want to do something to help the economy but its sort of one hot check after another. It's all debt piled on debt. There's very little accountability on all of this money -- Anderson.
COOPER: David, that is the question; where does it end? I mean, I think real estate developers are now asking for hundreds of -- or what is it? $200 billion in a bailout. You know, where does that go? Where does that end?
GERGEN: Well, the real estate developers are getting in line now. As you're going to see insurance company is doing that. Alcoa got a bad credit notice today. There are a lot more company -- and you've got the states lining up as well; state and local governments.
So there's going to be a long line of claimants, but there are two issues. How much deep do we have to go with this? How much we have to spend, which looks like the bills are going up and up and up.
But the second issue goes back to this transparency on both this and the bailout for the banks. And that is, Anderson, I think most people agree now -- the economists agree that a crucial element in restoring the economy is confidence on the part of the public. A real sense that we're coming back.
If both the financial bank plan and the stimulus plan look like they are -- they are filled with waste and unaccountability and probably some fraud before it gets done, that's going to totally undermine the confidence. And so that's why it's going to be so important. It's not just because it's right. It's the right thing to do.
But it's going to be very important for the Obama administration to put some very strong standards of accountability in this so that there is transparency. And the public has confidence in the competence and honesty of the people who are handling this money.
COOPER: And Joe, what do we know about Joe Biden's role in the economic stimulus plan? Does he have a specific role? JOHNS: Well, certainly it sounds like it. He's going to be heading up this task force. Sounds like a pretty big deal. A lot of people have been saying, again and again, well, what's Joe Biden going to be doing? He's known as a foreign affairs expert. Why isn't he in on that?
Truth is, on the Hill, Joe Biden is a jack of all trades. Before he was known as a Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, he was known as a domestic policy expert. So this is something they're going to throw him at partially, because he's the guy who has been in, so far at least, the voice of the middle class. It'll be a good role for him.
And you also have to say that Obama clearly has a lot of respect for this guy. You expect him to be pushing hard and have the President's back.
COOPER: And Ed, Joe Biden has some meetings scheduled tomorrow beyond economics?
HENRY: That's right. He's going to basically being chairing essentially a meeting of the National Economic Council that's going to be headed up by Larry Summers -- as you know, the former Clinton Treasury Secretary -- and the other economic advisers there.
But the bottom line from what I've heard from insiders is he wants to get a briefing on the latest on the recession. Exactly how bad is this and then he wants to sort of try to move forward on hammering out some of the final details on this $775 billion plan.
I should note that Obama aides insist they will have some accountability in the stimulus plan in the sense that they don't want to just have it full of pork and earmarks, like David was saying that a lot of times these so-called stimulus plans end up being members of Congress handing out goodies in their district that may or may not really have merits that may or may not help the economy long term -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ed, are those your producers over your right shoulder like sunning themselves and just hiding with folks nearly --
HENRY: No, no, my producers are working very hard.
COOPER: Ok, yes, I think you are in board shorts and have a Mai Tai somewhere nearby. But Ed, I appreciate you joining us, we'll talk again, all you guys we'll talk with you later on the program.
Up next, the war of words between Dick Cheney and Joe Biden erupted over the weekend. I don't know if you caught this, it continued tonight; highlights just how differently the two men can see the same job.
Also tonight, new developments in the war over Pastor Rick Warren and Barney Frank speaking frankly about his anger at Warren and Pastor Warren now saying, well, he loves everyone.
Later, a sign of tough economic times; more women selling their eggs to pay their bills. That and more tonight on "360."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Vice president Cheney has been the most dangerous Vice President we've had probably in American history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Joe Biden back when he was still campaigning taking a shot at a man he'll soon replace, Dick Cheney. Both men, a long time Washington power players and of course; very different views about power and fair to say not a lot of admiration for each other.
Yesterday their differences of opinion erupted into a kind of bare knuckle war of words on the morning talk shows.
Brian Todd has the "Raw Politics."
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How much things have changed since that first meeting after the election. Dick Cheney levels a broad side against Joe Biden on the issue of whether Biden will have as influential a role in the West Wing as he did.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If he wants to diminish the Office of Vice President, that's, obviously, his call. I think that President-Elect Obama will decide what he wants in a Vice President.
And apparently from the way they are talking about it, he does not expect him to have as consequential a role as I've had during my time.
TODD: A spokeswoman for the next VP fires back. "What the American people want from a Vice President is not boasting about how much power they have. Only Vice President Cheney would think that putting the Vice Presidency in its proper constitutional role diminishes the office.
Joe Biden tells CNN he will have the new President's ear.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: My role as Vice President is unlike some of the others. I've asked for no specific portfolio. That is, I take care of the environment or one particular area; and that I be essentially his Counselor in Chief.
TODD: One historian says it's not really up to the Vice President to decide what his role will be.
STEPHEN WAYNE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Very much in his first year, the President said Dick Cheney has a lot of power. That's what I want. I am delegating a lot to him. I don't think Barack Obama is going to delegate that much to Joe Biden. TODD: Biden also criticizes Dick Cheney's views on how to keep America safe.
BIDEN: The advice that he has given to President Bush has been not healthy for our foreign policy. Not healthy for our national security. And it has not been consistent with our constitution in my view.
CHENEY: I think the fact that we were able to protect the nation against further attacks from Al Qaeda for seven and a half years is a remarkable achievement. To do that, we had to adopt some unpopular policies that have been widely criticized by our critics.
TODD: No apologies from Cheney for his style either.
Did you really tell Senator Leahy bleep yourself?
CHENEY: I did.
TODD: Any qualms or second thoughts or embarrassment?
CHENEY: No, I thought he merited it at the time. And we've since, I think, patched over that wound, and we're civil to one another now.
TODD: Biden thinks Cheney should follow President Bush's lead in reflecting on his time in Office.
BIDEN: I think that President Bush, unlike Vice President Cheney, is upon reflection beginning to acknowledge some of the serious, if not mistakes, misjudgments that he made.
TODD: When asked what advice he would give his successor who once called him the most dangerous Vice President in American history, Dick Cheney said simply that Joe Biden hasn't asked him for any advice.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, just ahead with more on the vastly different styles between these two men and what a change in the office could bring. We'll talk to our panel about that, David Gergen and others.
Plus, Pastor Rick Warren, speaking out this weekend insisting he loves straight and gay people. Will his critics buy it and will they let Obama off the hook for picking Warren to pray at his inauguration?
Also tonight, Sarah Palin speaking out about what she says was her biggest mistake on the campaign trail and McCain's biggest mistake when "360" continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: If he wants to diminish the Office of Vice President, that's obviously his call. I think that President-Elect Obama will decide what he wants in a Vice President. And apparently from the way they are talking about it, he does not expect him to have as consequential a role as I've had during my time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Vice President Cheney not mincing any words about Joe Biden, basically predicting that Biden won't have as meaty a role as he's had in the White House. Cheney has been unapologetic about the policies he's help shape in the face and numbers like the ones we're about to show you in the new CNN Opinion research poll. Nearly two-thirds of Americans said, compared to other Vice Presidents, Cheney is the worst ever or poor, 34 percent rated him as good, just one percent said he is the best ever.
It's not exaggeration to say Cheney rewrote the role of Vice President. He leaves a memorable legacy, like it or not.
Let's talk "Strategy" about that. Here again, Ed Henry, Joe Johns and David Gergen.
David, Cheney arguably the most powerful Vice President in history. How do you think Biden is going to be different?
GERGEN: Well, he has a very different view both of the constitution and of the proper role of the Vice President. Dick Cheney did have an expansive view of the executive branch under the constitution. He believes in something -- sort of as a unitary theory of the executive branch and, that is, during a time of war, all power resides in the executive branch and the President in effect, and not in Congress. The president can override that.
That's not a traditional view. Biden holds to a much more traditional view.
On the question of what he actually does in the office. Dick Cheney was almost the sense he was providing a set of training wheels for George W. Bush those first year or two, and he was hugely influential in pushing policy and directions that he and neo-conservatives favored.
I think the President went along with him on many of that.
Joe Biden has got a very different view. And that is, he wants to be in the room. And as he told Larry King tonight, he wants to be the Counselor in Chief. He wants to be there when all important decisions are made by Barack Obama. But I don't think he sees himself as bringing an independent philosophy or a set of views to try to push Obama in a particular direction.
COOPER: Ed, it's interesting. One of the things that a lot of people have been focusing on is something that Dick Cheney said during an interview with Fox this weekend. I just want to play some of what he said to Chris Wallace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS WALLACE, FOX CORRESPONDENT: If the President, during war, decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?
CHENEY: In general proposition, I'd say yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's interesting. I mean, I guess those who know Dick Cheney would not be surprised that he's going out swinging.
HENRY: Oh, absolutely not. And I think he, obviously, as David says, has a wide view of the executive branch and its power. Obviously, there could be now, an enhanced Democratic Congress in the days ahead and Democratic administration, investigating a lot of what this administration, specifically Vice President Cheney did on say, the handling of detainees and whether it was torture.
Now they're going to have that sort of subpoena power to look into various things. They're going to be a lot of court battles in the days ahead, I bet, about documents and executive privileges and the like -- as we've seen before.
But I think secondly, Joe Biden does have a much different approach. He has a different experience he brings to the table.
What you can see on the positive side for Joe Biden. He is somebody who spent basically four decades in the Senate. So he does bring that Counselor-in-Chief role, somebody who can be sort of an ambassador to Capitol Hill on issues like the economy.
But maybe on the negative side for Joe Biden what he has to be concerned about, is being crowded out. Just being a Counselor-in- chief rather than a very effective powerful insider.
His strength as Joe said early was foreign policy. All of a sudden you've seen him in recent days. People like Hillary Clinton, retired General Jim Jones. They are the ones who have the powerful seats at the table on foreign policy.
Will Joe Biden really have a lot clout, it's an open question -- Anderson.
COOPER: Joe, I want to turn it over to the Pastor Rick Warren controversy that's still kind of going on, still simmering out there. He spoke out over the weekend. I just want to play some of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PASTOR RICK WARREN, SADDLEBACK CHURCH: Now, this one will shock you. I happen to love Democrats and Republicans. And, for the media's purpose, I happen to love gays and straights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joe, do you think this makes any difference, and do you think this is kind of fading now, this whole controversy?
JOHNS: Well it may be. But, you know, there are still a lot of people out there who went the extra mile for Barack Obama who are gay and lesbian and some other constituencies, too who see Rick Warren and say, "I don't get it. Why, if you say, Mr. Obama, that there are no red states and blue states and you are trying to heal the country, why would you pick a guy who seems to choose sides on an issue that's very important to them."
So maybe this thing goes away, partially because of the kind of speech that Rick Warren himself is using.
Nonetheless, people are going to be looking a bit askance at Barack Obama. And these people who don't remember, nor do they care, the fact that Bill Clinton, for example, got off to a rocky start in his administration because of the fight over gays in the military.
They just don't remember that history. What they're -- what they care about is now.
COOPER: David, it's interesting. Barney Frank said -- and I'm quoting -- that "Obama overestimates his ability to get people to put aside fundamental differences" on this issue but also just in the bigger picture. Do you think that's true, and do you think that can hurt him once he takes office?
GERGEN: I don't think we know. But I think that's the -- the people voted with a sense of hope that he could overcome these fundamental differences. And to sort of pull him back now when he's just getting started seems to be sort of wrongheaded.
Why don't you give him a chance to see if he can build these bridges, if he can bring people along, if he can build a national coalition?
Listen, I think for most of the country, this Rick Warren issue is fading. In the gay and lesbian community, there's no question it has left a deep wound. And they are still very aggrieved over this.
It will be necessary for Barack Obama, early in the administration, to start making good on what Joe Biden said tonight on "Larry King." And that is, "We will deliver for the gay and lesbian community on issues. We will be there for them. We will champion liberty and bringing down these -- these walls of intolerance."
And I think that they are looking for equal rights. So I would imagine that the Obama administration, like Joe Biden said, is going to move and I would think would move more swiftly now because of this controversy.
COOPER: Ed, just briefly on the -- Governor Blagojevich. The Obama transition team report on their dealings with Blagojevich is expected tomorrow. What do we know at this point?
HENRY: Well, it's coming tomorrow. It's in Christmas week when not a lot of people are paying attention.
Also, Joe Biden having an economic meeting tomorrow. Makes you wonder whether they're trying to change the subject, maybe bury this news.
But I can tell you, two Democratic officials tell me tonight that, basically, they think this is going to essentially exonerate team Obama. Rahm Emanuel is going to show that there was a little bit of contact between him and the governor, as well as the governor's former chief of staff, but that basically, there was no wrongdoing. I don't think it's going to come as a surprise to anyone that an internal investigation by team Obama is going to show there's no wrongdoing.
This is not going to be the final word. They hope to turn the page on this whole matter.
But the final word will ultimately come from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. And in the months ahead, does he find any wrongdoing by anyone in Obama's incoming administration? At this point, we have to stress there's no evidence of wrongdoing by anyone, Anderson.
COOPER: Ed, on another very important matter, we have received some e-mails about whether you actually are wearing board shorts. I'm wondering if the cameraman can just pull back for a second.
HENRY: Oh, come on. You're walking me into this.
COOPER: There you go. All right.
HENRY: You know, this is -- I feel like I've been set up.
COOPER: I was asked if you were wearing board shorts. To be honest, I had no idea, but I'm glad you are, because you would look goofy if you were wearing long pants.
HENRY: Oh, this is unfair. This is unfair.
COOPER: All right. David Gergen, back me up here. Help me. Joe, somebody.
JOHNS: That's not necessary.
COOPER: If you get a plum assignment -- if you get a plum assignment like Hawaii, you've got to take some lumps.
Ed Henry, thanks very much. Joe Johns, David Gergen, have a good night. Thank you.
A weekend of snow is ahead. Not where Ed Henry is, but sleet, ice, extreme cold; the travel miserable for a lot of people around the country, including Michigan, where a chain reaction led to a 100-car pileup. That's what you're seeing right there.
More wintry weather is on the way. We're going to tell you where and what it means for travel this week. Stay tuned.
And the latest on a travel nightmare in Denver; what investigators are looking at as they try to figure out what caused this Continental jet to veer off a runway and burst into flames over the weekend. Details ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: New video just in from Geneva, Ohio; lake-effect snow making getting anywhere difficult tonight. A mountain of snow in Rochester, New York; New York throughway closed for several hours today by blizzard conditions all the way to the Pennsylvania border.
Snow, subzero conditions east and west of the city, all across the northern tier and all the way west into the Seattle area, where snow collapsed a factory roof. Look at the hole right there. No injuries, thankfully. Plenty of inconvenience for a city that has seen more snow in a day than it normally gets all season.
There is more on the way. Joining us now is severe weather expert, Chad Myers.
Chad, what's the latest?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: These storms are lined up like planes landing at LaGuardia. Here's another one now, just developed this afternoon; going to bring snow into Chicago and Milwaukee. The good news is the snow will actually warm things up. How does that happen?
The cloud cover will actually act like a little insulating blanket, even though it's only going to warm up to like 10 in Chicago. We are still seeing the rain showers in the valley of the sun. If you're in Phoenix, there or about Scottsdale seeing some rain showers this evening.
The big story is the cold weather. It's three degrees right now in Chicago. And it feels colder than that. It's been windy in New York City. The airports have been very slow today. It feels like 11 in downtown New York City. But it feels colder than that when you stand between the buildings and you get that wind tunnel effect out there.
Airports are coming down; the delays are getting less and less. They have been two hours all day long; now Newark at about an hour and 25 minutes and LaGuardia at 30 minutes. We still have 3,800 planes. There are 3,800 planes out there. You can barely see. You can kind of make out North Dakota. A little bit of northern Minnesota. Other than that, the sky is still completely covered with planes; people trying to get to their destinations.
The good news is we got a lot of people to their destinations today. The problem is everybody is going to try to get home on Sunday. And everybody that left on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, everybody is going to try to come back home on one day. That's going to be the clog day.
The good news is at least the weather in the east on that Sunday only looks cold. It doesn't look wet or white.
This is kind of an interesting map. This is for a couple days from now. This is 48 hours. How much rain fills in the weather map all the way from the Ohio valley all the way down into Texas. It's hot, cold, hot, cold, hot cold. And this is going to be the hot day.
You have all this beautiful snow for Santa Claus, and all of a sudden, it's all going to get washed away. So here we go.
Here's some of the snow, though, that came down so fast. People couldn't see the car ahead of them and unfortunately they couldn't see that car ahead of them had already hit something; a 100-car pileup here in Michigan on I-94. Now we know the update today. One man was fatally killed on this fatality as he drove his car under the semi in front of him, Anderson. It's brutal out there.
COOPER: It's been brutal at the airports. I spent three hours in the airport on Saturday, finally never even left and another three hours on Sunday, never even left. So I spent a lot of time in airports just sitting around. So I sympathize with anyone out there who's stuck in an airport right now.
Let's get a quick update on some other top stories right now. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, high winds on Sunday when that Continental Airlines 737 veered off a runway during take-off in Denver and it caught on fire.
Investigators, though, say early indications suggest it was actually a problem with the plane's brakes, tires or landing gear. One hundred fifteen people were on board that flight. Amazingly, no one was killed. Thirty-eight people, though, were hurt.
A federal jury in New Jersey has convicted five Muslim immigrants of conspiring to kill soldiers at Fort Dix. They could get life in prison when they are sentenced in April.
The lawyer for outgoing Senator Ted Stevens says his client's guilty verdict should be thrown out. It seems an unnamed FBI whistleblower has come forward, claiming misconduct by prosecutors in the case. Now, those allegations include hiding information and an inappropriate relationship with a star witness.
And Governor Sarah Palin speaking out. In an interview with "Human Events," the former Republican VP nominee says the biggest mistake of the campaign was that she could have called more shots and talked more with the media.
It's interesting, Anderson. I feel like we've heard a lot of that comment ever since she's been talking more with the media.
COOPER: Yes, exactly.
HILL: Just an observation.
COOPER: It didn't work out so well for her when she did talk to the media. But, you know, whatever. Tomorrow is a new day.
HILL: Thirty-third time's the charm.
Tonight, time for "Beat 360" winners; our daily challenge to our viewers to come up with a caption better than the one that we can come up with for the photo that we put on our blog.
So here's the picture: Dee Snider of Twisted Sister -- remember him? -- rings the opening bell and does a little screaming at the New York Stock Exchange. He's screaming into a phone there; a little hard to see.
Our staff winner tonight, Sean. His caption: "No, we're not going to take it. There's nothing left to take here on Wall Street."
A bit of homage to his big hit song.
HILL: (Inaudible) Sean is on a roll, by the way ever since he got back from vacation. Five weeks off will do that to you.
I think that I'm going to do this next one, because you don't want to sing? Is that what I understand?
COOPER: Yes. I'm not going to.
HILL: OK. So Cy, our viewer winner from Kansas City, Missouri. Cy, I'm going to butcher this, but I'm doing it for you, my friend.
We're not gonna bailout no, we're not gonna bailout.
Come on, Cooper.
We're not bailing Big Three anymore.
HILL: That's why you were intimidated. You didn't want to try to go up against me singing it, huh?
COOPER: I love that. I love that you committed to it. I wouldn't do it. Rock on, Erica Hill. Rock on.
Congratulations, Cy; Your T-shirt is on the way. You can check out all the entries at AC360.com. And please, no more songs.
An unexpected consequence of tough financial times. This is an interesting story. More women are actually selling their eggs for cash. Go up close on the ethics and the economics of egg donors.
And the dogs that brought down NFL superstar Michael Vick. Rescued, rehabilitated, and in happy homes; a nice end to a "Crime & Punishment" report, ahead.
COOPER: Up close tonight: how far would you go to pay your bills if money was tight and debts were piling up? With the economy tanking, it's a question a lot of people are facing. And one answer we've been hearing a lot about, frankly, surprised us.
It might sound extreme to some people, but it's legal and lucrative. It's also big business and involves some medical complications, or potential complications.
We're talking about young women becoming egg donors or surrogates, in large part because they need the money.
Randi Kaye takes an up close look.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The ads are everywhere: college newspapers and Craig's List.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would love to give somebody a chance to have a child. I'm also looking to pay part of my way through school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Compensation for surrogacy would allow me to stay home full time, which otherwise would not be an option.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am a medical student, musician, and am quite athletic. I am charging a significant fee.
KAYE: That is how thousands of women in today's tough economy earn extra cash, and lots of it. They're donating their eggs. It pays as much as $10,000. Women willing to carry a baby as a surrogate mom can rake in even more: $30,000 in some cases.
At 26, Courtney Smith has lots of bills to pay. She's a wine steward at a high-end Manhattan restaurant but says the economy is hurting business and, as a result, her bank account.
She's already cut back on eating out and cab rides. She'd get a second job, but she doesn't have the energy or the time. So she plans to donate her eggs. She first did it two years ago, when money got tight.
So how much were you paid when you donated your eggs?
COURTNEY SMITH, EGG DONOR: I was paid $7,000.
KAYE: And how did that feel?
SMITH: It felt -- it felt good. I mean, it feels good to have money, and I paid off student loans.
KAYE: Courtney provided these baby pictures so recipients can see what their child might look like. Once matched, usually with a couple unable to have their own children, donors like Courtney take hormones for about two weeks to stimulate ovulation. A doctor then removes the eggs from the donor's ovaries. The recipient gets the eggs to fertilize them. The donor gets the money.
Debora Spar, author of "The Baby Business," says she'd never let her daughter donate.
DEBORA SPAR, AUTHOR, "THE BABY BUSINESS": I worry that women are deciding to sell their eggs too quickly, that they're being, perhaps, overly driven by the financial concerns here.
KAYE: Spar is concerned about the women's health. Ovaries can be over-stimulated, which she says can be dangerous.
SPAR: It is one woman giving birth to a child who is genetically the child of another woman. It is sale of our most intimate products.
KAYE: Courtney says sharing her DNA doesn't bother her. She has no emotional connection to her eggs, she says, and she doesn't think she'll have any regrets knowing a child that's a part of her, who she'll never meet, is out there.
Kathy Bernardo started a donor agency in Manhattan.
KATHY BERNARDO, NORTHEAST ASSISTED FERTILITY GROUP INC.: I don't want people to lose sight that this is a treatment for infertility. Infertility is a disease. And this is one of the most effective treatments there are.
KAYE: Courtney was recently anonymously matched with a recipient who will pay her $8,000. The maximum recommended by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine is $10,000, though some recipients place private ads like this one, offering much more.
Bernardo says the number of donor applicants at her agency has doubled in recent months.
BERNARDO: As the news has gotten worse and worse, the interest in that donation has increased.
KAYE: What gets somebody picked?
BERNARDO: Attractiveness is No. 1. That you have to be attractive, and it's a beauty contest to a certain degree. But also education, high test scores, ability in music and sports and things like that.
KAYE: Most women say the money is secondary, that it's really about helping others. Courtney says those women are kidding themselves.
Would you donate your eggs if you weren't getting paid for them?
SMITH: Personally, I don't think that I would if it was for a stranger.
KAYE: Most women who donate are under 30, when their eggs are healthiest. They can donate every three months but no more than six times altogether. Courtney will keep doing it as long as she needs the money, but she does plan to save some eggs to have her own child one day.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Still ahead on 360, a year and a half after being rescued from hell, how are Michael Vick's dogs doing? 2008 was a year of recovery and second chances for the pit bulls. We're going to show you how far they have come; some happy homes ahead.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight about this man, former pro football star, Michael Vick, last month on his way to court in Virginia to plead guilty to state dog fighting charges. He's now serving a federal sentence in Kansas.
It's been almost a year and a half since Vick was busted for running a dog fighting operation out of his Virginia home. The dozens of pit bulls brutalized by his business faced an uncertain future, even after they were rescued. So we've been wondering how they're doing.
Well, "Sports Illustrated" followed up on the story in its issue out this Wednesday. Many of the dogs have new homes, we're happy to say.
Erica Hill has more.
HILL: This is Uba, a 2-year-old pit bull given a second chance in life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's grown a lot and learning a lot. And he's doing a lot better.
HILL: Leddie Delill (ph) is Uba's new owner. She's had him for nearly a year and says, while he is a lovable pet, he's nervous around people and terrified of large groups. This was Uba in August of 2007, inside a shelter after Uba's former master, Michael Vick, was arrested for running a vicious dog-fighting ring. The star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons pleaded guilty in 2007 to a federal dog-fighting conspiracy charge.
MICHAEL VICK, CONVICTED CRIMINAL: Dog fighting is a terrible thing, and I do reject it.
HILL: Uba and 50 other pit bulls were taken from Vick's 15-acre Virginia home. The former NFL star is now serving a 23-month sentence in a federal prison in Kansas. He was also ordered to pay nearly a million dollars to help rehabilitate these former pets.
Usually, pit bulls rescued from dog-fighting rings are considered too vicious and are euthanized. But the media attention surrounding this case led to an outcry for help for these dogs.
JIM GORANT, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": In this case, what helped in particular was Michael Vick. At the beginning, he was sort of the dog's biggest problem. In the end he might have helped save them.
HILL: Jim Gorant with "Sports Illustrated" met with 11 families that adopted Vick's dogs.
GORANT: None of them seemed dangerous at all. Every dog I met was very friendly. There were a couple that seemed scared. I mean, just intimidated. You see their ears go down, their tails go down, and they sort of hunched a little bit.
HILL: The dogs were evaluated after Vick's trial. Two were considered dangerous and put down. Two died of disease. The remaining 47 are thriving according to Gorant. And thanks to various animal rescue groups, they're living happily with new families or in shelters; some even working with children as part of their rehabilitation.
But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the pit bulls should have been euthanized, that the time and money spent treating 47 dogs would have been better spent helping the millions of healthy dogs in shelters today.
DAPHNA NACHMINOVITCH, PETA: Euthanasia may be the kindest thing for these dogs, who have already suffered so much at the hands of cruel dog fighters. You know, the focus must be on moving ahead with the dogs who can be -- who don't need rehabilitation, who just need love.
GORANT: It makes you aware of how far a journey these dogs had and how -- how much the odds were stacked against them. You know, people associate PETA with being, you know, the pinnacle of, you know, animal protection. To say that they were actually in favor these dogs being euthanized, that says a lot.
HILL: And it says a lot for Uba. He's now living happily, a positive legacy from a disturbing, vicious criminal act.
COOPER: How many of the 47 dogs have actually been adopted?
HILL: Twelve of them have been formally adopted. Jim Gorant says 17 of them are pretty much ready.
And I have to tell you, Johnny was the one little dog with the little boy helping him read. He's part of this program, Paws for Tails for kids who aren't comfortable reading.
HILL: There are a total of, I think it's five dogs who are in some sort of therapy program to help people...
HILL: ... which is really a nice ending.
COOPER: That's amazing. Erica, thanks. Appreciate that.
Up next, not something you see every day: Ed Henry channeling Magnum P.I. A big reason why correspondents and anchors are only shown from the waist up; you have no idea what I'm wearing. It's our "Shot of the Day."
COOPER: All right. Time for "The Shot." We just have to show it again, because why not? We can't resist. Check out Ed Henry on assignment in Hawaii. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: On another very important matter, we have received some e- mails about whether you actually are wearing board shorts. I'm wondering if the cameraman could pull back for a second.
HENRY: Oh, come on. You guys, can't do this. You're walking me into this. COOPER: There you go. All right.
HENRY: You know, this is -- I feel like I've been set up.
COOPER: I was asked if you were wearing board shorts. To be honest, I had no idea, but I'm glad you are, because you would look goofy if you were wearing long pants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's a very nice look.
HILL: It is a nice look. You know what it kind of reminds me of?
COOPER: What does it remind you of?
HILL: One of your looks that you often sport here on set and in the pool. I think -- I think we have a look...
COOPER: Again -- OK, there you go. Thank you for that.
HILL: You love it. Come on.
HILL: Not exactly board shorts.
COOPER: My bloomers. I was wearing bloomers.
HILL: Your bloomers, from what, tenth grade?
COOPER: No, it's from the 1920s.
COOPER: I like old-timey swimming shorts.
HILL: Yes. That's when they called them swimming costumes.
COOPER: Swimming costumes, yes. A bathing costume. HILL: I think if you tried again you could totally take Phelps in that pool. Now that you've learned that you shouldn't let him swim underwater.
COOPER: Yes. I didn't realize that underwater he could actually go faster.
HILL: Those golden medals will be yours.
COOPER: I thought if he didn't actually take a stroke it means you couldn't swim, but apparently...
HILL: Just a little tip for you. If you ever get in the pool with him again...
HILL: ... it's Michael Phelps.
COOPER: I know. Exactly. All right.
That does it for "360." Thanks for watching. "Larry King" starts now.