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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Gov. Palin Stepping Down; Diprivan Found in Michael Jackson's Home

Aired July 3, 2009 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER: Welcome to 360 from Los Angeles where there are major new developments in the Michael Jackson story. Memorial plans revealed and reports that police have found Diprivan, a powerful anesthetic, at his home.

But all of that was eclipsed this afternoon by Sarah Palin, at home in Wasilla, Alaska, in a setting fit for backyard barbeques and not political bombshells. John McCain's former running mate set off a blockbuster.

People had expected her to say she wasn't seeking a second term as Alaska's Governor. Instead with 18 months left in her first term she just up and quit effective the end of this month.

What all this means shortly. Though frankly, a lot of good people have not a clue about that. We'll hear from the governor's spokesperson and her first announcement. Let's play you her announcement at length so you can draw your own conclusions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) ALASKA: Some say things changed for me August 29th last year, the day that John McCain tapped me to be his running mate. And it was an honor to stand beside a true American hero.

I say others changed. And let me speak to that for a minute. Political operatives descended on Alaska last August digging for dirt. The ethics law that I championed became their weapon of choice.

Over the past nine months I've been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations such as holding a fish in a photograph or wearing a jacket with a logo on it and answering reporter's questions.

Every one of these, though, all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We have won, but it hasn't been cheap. The state has wasted thousands of hours of your time and shelled-out some $2 million of your dollars to respond to opposition research. And that's money that's not going to fund teachers or troopers or safer roads.

And this political absurdity, the politics of personal destruction, Todd and I, we're looking at more than $500,000 in legal bills just in order to set the record straight.

And what about the people who offer up these silly accusations? It doesn't cost them a dime so they're not going to stop draining the public resources, spending other people's money in this game. They won't stop.

If I've learned one thing it's that life is about choices and one chooses how to react to circumstances. You can choose to engage in things that tear down or that build up. I choose to work very hard on a path for fruitfulness and for productivity. I choose not to tear down and waste precious time but to build up this state and our great country and her industrious and generous and patriotic and free people.

Life is too short to compromise time and resources. And though it may be tempting and more comfortable to just kind of keep your head down and plod along and appease those who are demanding, hey, just sit down and shut up. But that's a worthless easy path out. That's a quitter's way out.

And I think a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just kind of hunker down and go with the flow. We are fishermen. We know that only dead fish go with the flow.

No, productive, fulfilled people determined where to put their effort, choosing too wisely to utilize precious time to build-up. And there is such a need to build-up and fight for our state and our country and I choose to fight for it.

I will not seek re-election as governor.

And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn't run for re-election and what that means for Alaska I thought about, well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state, travel to other states; maybe take their overseas international trade missions.

So many politicians do that and then I thought that's what's wrong. Many just accept that lame duck status and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck and they kind of milk it. And I'm not going to put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiencies and effectiveness.

That's not how I'm wired. I'm not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual. I promised that four years ago and I meant it. That's not what is best for Alaska at this time.

I'm determined to take the right path for Alaska even though it is unconventional and it's not so comfortable. With this announcement that I'm not seeking re-election I'm determined its best to transfer the authority of governor to Lieutenant Governor Parnell.

So let me go back quickly to a comfortable analogy for me in sports, basketball. And I use it because you are naive if you don't see a full-court press from the national level picking away right now a good point guard. Here's what she does. She drives through a full-court press, protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And that is what I'm doing, keeping our eye on the ball. They represent sound priorities, remember they include energy independence and smaller government and national security and freedom. And I know when it's time to pass the ball for victory.

And I've given my reasons now. Very candidly, truthfully and my last day won't be for another few weeks. So the transition will be very smooth. I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time go to waste just so that I can hold the title of governor.

And I don't know if my children are going to allow it anyway. Some are going to question the timing of this. And let me just say that this decision has been in the works for a while. In fact, this decision comes after much consideration; prayer and consideration.

And finally I polled the most important people in my life, my kids where the count was unanimous. Well, in response to asking, "Hey, do you want me to make a positive difference and fight for all our children's future from outside the governor's office." It was four yeses and one "hell, yes." And the "hell yes" sealed it. And someday I'll talk about the details of that.

I think though much of it for the kids had to do with recently seeing their baby brother Trig mocked and ridiculed by some pretty mean- spirited adults recently. And by the way, I sure wish folks could ever understand all that we can learn, all of us, from someone like Trig.

I know he needs me, but I know that I need him even more and what a child can offer to set priorities right and know that time is precious. The world needs more Trigs not, fewer.

I love my job and I love Alaska. And it hurts to make this choice but I'm doing what's best for Alaska and I have explained why. So I think of a saying on my parents' refrigerator; a little magnet that says "don't explain, your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway."

Remember, Alaska, America is now more than ever looking north to the future. It'll be good. So God bless you. And from me and from my family to all Alaska, you have my heart.

And we're going to be in really great hands, the capable hands of our Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell. And Lieutenant General Craig Campbell then will assume the role of Lieutenant Governor.

And it's my promise to you that I will always be standing by ready to assist. We have a good positive agenda for Alaska.

Take the words of General McArthur, he said, "We are not retreating we are advancing in another direction."

So with that, I'm going to hand this over to our good Lieutenant Governor. And again, I say, thank you and God bless you, Alaska.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was Sarah Palin earlier today.

With us now by phone from upstate New York, Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton who is down on vacation as all this unfolds.

Meg, pretty much everyone was caught off-guard by this announcement. Where did it come from? The governor said it had been in the works for quite some time. Were you aware of it?

MEG STAPLETON, PALIN SPOKEWOMAN (via telephone): I was, Anderson. And thanks for having me on. And if you hear some loud explosions it's the fireworks of my neighbors.

But I was aware of it. We had been discussing it for a while. And again, this is -- I think a lot of people today are having a hard time understanding and finding it shocking.

But if you know her and for those who do know her it's not shocking because she always puts Alaska first and this is just one more time that she says, you know what, "I know what's best for Alaska and I know what's best for the United States. And it's for me to focus on my values and my goals from outside of this seat."

COOPER: Did you know she was going to make the announcement today? Because you're her spokeswoman and you're in New York the announcement was in Alaska. If there was a lot of preparation, you would think you would be in Alaska where the statement was made.

STAPLETON: Anderson, you use Blackberries, too. Technology is beautiful. And I'm here with my family and family comes first as well. So it's all about using the technology that's there today to help her in any way that I can as I do right now from my home when I'm in Alaska.

COOPER: So when it comes to those ethics complaints Governor Palin said that -- she said and I quote, "It is pretty insane. My staff and I spend most of our day dealing with this stuff instead of progressing our state now. I know that I promised no more politics as usual. But this isn't what anyone had in mind for Alaska."

Is it really true that she spends most of her day dealing with this stuff? And if so, isn't that what a leader is supposed to do even in the face of frivolous charges, you know, leading?

STAPLETON: I think she is leading right now by saying "I'm not going to do the same old thing." I mean, you know her by now, Anderson. And you know that she is a very independent person, a very spirited person. She is not wired just to say, "Ok, I know that my sitting here is causing millions of dollars to go down the drain. And I know that I've got certain values and ideals that I want to progress and I've got to spend time behind the desk so I'll just keep doing that."

What she's saying is, "Ok, I'm not going to let anymore of Alaska's dollars be wasted, anymore of Alaska's time wasted, I know I'm not running for re-election. I know my Lieutenant Governor and I have the same exact goals." So...

COOPER: But what if every governor made that decision? I mean, if every politician who decided, "Well, I'm not going to run for re- election so I'm just going to resign," I mean, that's not leadership.

STAPLETON: It is leadership, Anderson. Because she can effect greater change, far greater change in the United States, for the United States and for Alaska away from that governor's seat. Right now there are enough people who say...

COOPER: How? What is she going to do?

STAPLETON: There are plenty of things that have already been offered her just today alone. But there are...

COOPER: Like what? TV shows?

STAPLETON: What's that?

COOPER: Like what? Like a TV show. Or I mean, what are you talking about?

STAPLETON: Everything under the sun that you can possibly think of. And what she has said and what she did said in her speech was "just alone getting out there and working with candidates and for candidates to get the right people in office who have those same ideas and ideals and energy independence that will work for stronger national security and...

COOPER: So is she going to continue to raise money for her PAC? I mean, you put out a statement and I think it was just a couple days ago asking for money for her Political Action Committee.

Does that continue? Is she going to continue to raise money? Does she want to -- I mean, there are plenty of people who say look, she is looking at 2012 for a Presidential run. Do you think she has a career in politics still?

STAPLETON: I think she has a career in whatever she wants to do. She is and those who meet her and those who are around her and those who worked with her see her leadership skills. See her as a leader. She is an incredible person who's got a servant's heart. And she can do whatever she wants.

The world is literally her oyster. And she will do whatever it takes to make sure that she finds and can execute upon those, again, finding that energy independence and national security and making sure that her ideals and what she sees as a vision for Alaska is met, just not from behind the governor's desk.

COOPER: How though, I mean, you say this is leadership. But how is leading not leading. I mean, you are saying she is leading by not leading. She is quitting her job as a leader to do, what, I don't know speeches, television show, whatever she chooses to do. But, I mean, you can't really call that political leadership. STAPLETON: Sure. Do you stay then that a point guard charging down a basketball court is not leading when he passes the ball? Or she passes the ball? She used the analogy...

COOPER: Honestly, I know nothing about basketball. All I know about is politics.

STAPLETON: Well, let me tell you, when someone is driving down a basketball court -- which is her analogy and I think it speaks well to where she is -- and that is, "I can't effect change right now because of the political climate that's there. I'm going to pass the ball. I'm going around it. And we still all have the common hoop. But I'm going around the block and I'm passing the ball at this time because it's best for Alaska."

COOPER: I'm sorry, I don't know who the hoop is or I don't know who the ball is. Or I'm confused by the analogy. But I'll let it go because I don't know anything about sports.

But do you think -- is she planning to run for President in 2012?

STAPLETON: She has no plans for anything in particular at this point in time. What she has is and that hoop represents fighting for everything that she feels the direction we're not going right now, which is smaller government, which is energy independence, which is national security, which is more support for our troops. That's what she's fighting for.

Whatever pass ultimately gets through there, we don't know yet. She made the decision in what I will call a vacuum in terms of what's best for Alaska. This is best for Alaska, ok. Decision made, announced.

Now we will go on and determine the best path for her to achieve her goals. She doesn't need a title, which is what she said earlier today. She doesn't need a title to get her where she wants or ultimately in life either.

COOPER: All right, Meg Stapleton, I appreciate you calling in. And I wish you a good Fourth of July weekend.

STAPLETON: You, too. Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: All right take care.

And let us know what you think of Governor Palin's decision and why you think she's stepping down. Join the live chat at AC360.com.

Up next, will ask our political panel: Candy Crowley, David Gergen and Ed Rollins; Ed Rollins the former campaign manager of Mike Huckabee mentioned as the potential Palin opponent for 2012 that of course is if she is running and still in politics. There are some reports she is getting out of politics entirely. We'll talk about that also.

Later, the report of drug discovery at Michael Jackson's home, Diprivan, powerful IV medicine, we've been hearing a lot about it the last couple of weeks or last couple of days -- I should say -- now reportedly found by investigators in the home.

Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us for that.

A lot of news tonight, we'll bring you all of it. We're live from Los Angeles.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're back on a day that normally generates so little news that most of the coverage focuses on holiday traffic and keeping safe around fireworks.

Instead tonight, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is dominating the headlines saying she is stepping down with a year and a half to go on her first term. She called the decision a tough one but the right one. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: I think the problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just kind of hunker down and go with the flow. We're fishermen we know that only dead fish go with the flow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, the question of course, is why now? And also where as in where does this get her within the Republican Party or her wider public future?

Joining us is Candy Crowley, senior political analyst, David Gergen and political contributor, Ed Rollins who managed Mike Huckabee in the '08 campaign.

Ed, is she paving the way for a 2012 Presidential run?

ED ROLLINS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: If she is, it was a very stupid methodology to go forward. She added another controversy to -- and no one has defended her more than I have on this show and other shows. I like her. I think she was an interesting choice. Not a great choice.

I think at this point in time, she didn't have strong enough credentials to run for Vice President. She now has added one more demerit by quitting. And I think to a certain extent there are a lot of governors with very tough sledding right now and the ones who's going to succeed are the ones that are going to stay in there and finish the job.

The only thing that may be practical is she said this is what's best for Alaska. If you don't want to do the job, maybe it is.

David and I worked for a man, Richard Nixon who used to say, "You are never done in politics until you say you quit." She said today she quits as far as I'm concerned. COOPER: David, is that your reading of it as well?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there is an old adage in politics and that's "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." And now, she is trying to persuade us of a new adage and that is, "When the going gets tough, the tough quit."

That dog won't hunt. And it leaves all of us sort of looking for other explanations, other motives. There are three to come to mind. One, is this is a very unusual route to try to get to political power, get to the Republican nomination, perhaps it will work.

The second one is money. Anderson, she talked about the fact that several hundred thousand dollars of bills have now come in. She and her husband were worth about $1.2 million including their property in the last campaign as listed by their records.

This gives her a chance if she has got a book in the works it'll come out next year. She'll hit the lecture circuit. She could be worth several million dollars by the end of next year, whatever happens in politics.

And third, Anderson, is the question of were the law closing in with the various investigations in Alaska starting to close in on her and by getting out now did she essentially escape from some further damage?

I don't think we know for sure, but those to me strike me as the three most compelling possibilities for her motives.

COOPER: Candy did anyone in Washington see this coming and the timing, I mean, it's one of those things, a Friday right before a holiday weekend. That's usually when, you know, documents are dumped that you don't want anybody to see.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But if her whole point was not to have anyone notice, I think that was probably the first failure of the strategy because obviously, we did and all of Washington did.

I do think it wasn't even so much that it was on a holiday Friday, but that it was so hastily arranged. You've got this feeling that they've just said let's go quit. And she said, of course, that wasn't the case. That she had been thinking about it for a long time.

I still think it's a little peculiar even if it is a holiday weekend that her main spokesman who's been with her for so long is not there with her. And it was so hastily called that we are told from our affiliates that a number of journalists didn't even make it in time. So there was something about the rush of it rather than the exact day.

COOPER: Ed, a conservative strategist, Mary Matlin said and I quote, that "Palin addressed the issues of why she is stepping down quite well." Do you agree? I mean, the actually delivery of the information, what did you think of it? ROLLINS: No. First of all, you don't raise questions in a press conference. You go out in a press conference and you answer questions. Everyone now has questions. Why did she do this? She stepped all over her own story that she was quitting. And I totally disagree with Mary, who I have great respect for.

But in this particular thing I think, the bottom line here, is -- if she wanted to quit and not run for re-election that's one thing, she could have done that a year from now, she could have done that four months before the end of this term and still run for president.

Mike Huckabee ran for president, didn't finish up until January, won the Iowa caucus. Romney was governor, right up to the end and he ran a year later. There's plenty of time if you're going to ran for president.

I think she didn't like the game. I think she got beat up. It is a very tough game. It is like saying, if you go to sports analogy, she basically talked about basketball. She quit halfway. It would be like Kobe Bryant half way through the season and says, "I pass the ball, I don't like it. They are too playing too rough."

I think she has basically added one more quirky side to her and I think she's now becoming more of a kook than a serious candidate. And I think that's a detriment to any candidate.

COOPER: David, she also did work in some of -- of attack on the media that people are attacking her. She made a claim that people are attacking her child, Trig, which I've never heard anybody do that. Have you?

GERGEN: I have not. We're not living in her shoes. I'm sympathetic with the -- she has faced tough scrutiny. This was a woman who was unprepared for the national spotlight. It can be very harsh. We all know that. Every little fault can be made into a mountain. And I think she had to bear with that.

But I mean, she asked the voters of Alaska to give her four years. She quit after two and a half. She asked the voters of the country to vote for her for Vice President because she was a great governor and was fighting for the people of Alaska.

Here she is now and she quits. So it is -- I think Ed Rollins has pegged it right. I'm sure he'll get some heat for it. But I think -- I think he's -- he said it exactly right.

And this is bizarre. The statement, you showed enough, other people can make their own judgments. If there is logic to it, I couldn't figure it out. It seemed to me illogical and incoherent.

And all of this adds up to a story where there are some pieces missing. There is something here that does not make sense on its face. And we need to know more before I think we render more complete judgments.

COOPER: So Candy, do you think -- is it possible she just doesn't want to be involved in politics anymore? That she's going to pop-up with a cable news show?

CROWLEY: Well, I do think with Governor Palin that all things are possible here. But listen, I think first of all that she may, in fact, if you read sort of between the lines, I agree with David, it was a little hard to follow this. That it's exactly what Ed suggested and that is, that she was getting beat-up pretty badly.

I also think that there is -- there is an element of family here and her remarks about Trig. She talked about priorities and how he taught her priorities. And I think that it's quite possible that she, in fact, does want to fade in the woodwork although I don't think for very long.

I think that maybe the immediate feeling -- we do have a source...

GERGEN: Yes.

CROWLEY: ...that is close to the family who said she is done. She is over it. I don't think that will last that long. She doesn't strike me as a person that fades into the woodwork.

GERGEN: Anderson, the story you have tonight is just before this happened she was emailing the Republican Governors Association saying she wanted to come in and start supporting various gubernatorial Republican candidates.

COOPER: Yes.

GERGEN: She wanted to travel the country. So it's clear she's not leaving politics.

ROLLINS: She also raised a lot of money to pay off her legal fees. She's got a big PAC going. She was a very serious candidate for president and a lot of conservatives would have been supportive of her. I think this basically just makes people take a second look.

COOPER: She's going to certainly going to remain in the public eye.

Candy Crowley, Ed Rollins and David Gergen, I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Straight ahead tonight: the drug Diprivan reportedly found in Michael Jackson's home. Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us about that.

Also ex-wife Debbie Rowe, birth mother of the two eldest Jackson kids; we're exploring the multimillion dollar relationship between Michael Jackson and her over the years and how it may play into any potential custody battle.

We're live from Los Angeles, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Here in Los Angeles the investigation into Michael Jackson's death has taken a dramatic turn. There are reports that police found Diprivan, a powerful anesthetic, in Michael Jackson's house. Now, the revelation adds some new traction to the possibility -- and it is just a possibility at this point -- that prescription drugs might have been a factor in the pop star's sudden death a week ago.

We are still waiting for the final autopsy results with the toxicology report which we're told won't be ready for several weeks. But much of the toxicology report may already be known to the Jackson family.

Over the last few days, Diprivan also known by its generic name Propofol has taken center stage in the story.

Drew Griffin has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT, SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: It was reportedly found inside the house. The question now was it inside the singer? Diprivan is administered by a steady drip usually through an IV. Stop the drip, the medication almost immediately loses its effect. But when in use produces an almost comatose state that his nurse Cherilyn Lee said Michael Jackson craved.

CHERILYN LEE, REGISTERED NURSE & NUTRITIONIST: I said this medication is not good. He said I want to sleep. And I looked at him and that was the first time I got this chill through my body. And I said, "Michael, if you take that medicine you might not wake up."

GRIFFIN: What was his response?

LEE: He said, "I need to have somebody here to just monitor me."

GRIFFIN: That conversation she says took place in April. The physician hired to monitor Michael Jackson during his tour was hired in May. And while Dr. Conrad Murray's attorney insists his client is not a suspect in any crime, has fully cooperated with police and treated Michael Jackson properly.

Attorney Matthew Alford said of today's Diprivan news, "We are treating all unnamed sources as rumors and as we have stated before we will not be responding to rumors or innuendo. We are awaiting the facts to come out and will respond at that time."

Since his death a week ago, friends and former confidantes have described addiction issues, even at times warning Jackson to stop abusing pills.

Sources tell CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that in the mid '90s the singer traveled with a mini-clinic which included IV stands. One of Jackson's doctors during that time was Dr. Neil Ratner, living now in Woodstock, New York.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We just wanted to come to the source, you and here and find out if that had happened.

DR. NEIL RATNER, FORMER DOCTOR OF MICHAEL JACKSON: I'm very upset. I'm distraught. Michael was a good person. I can't talk about it right now. It's really something I don't want to talk about right now. I lost a friend and I feel very badly about that.

GRIFFIN: Officially there is still no cause, no definitive medication, no answers from the LAPD or the coroner's office, and why Michael Jackson seemingly healthy during rehearsals last week suddenly died Thursday morning.

The official results of this death investigation not expected for several more weeks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Joining us now is Dr. -- oh, I'm sorry, Drew. Sorry.

Drew we don't know for several more weeks. We won't know exactly because of the toxicology reports. But authorities do know so far what's in the toxicology report. Is that right?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They know Anderson. They most likely know what killed Michael Jackson as well. And the family, most likely knows. In fact, we're pretty sure they do know. The family's under no obligation to release their report ever. The coroner's office says we can't expect it until late July before they officially announce those results.

COOPER: All right. Drew Griffin, appreciate it.

The doctors we've talked to over the last few days, including our own chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, have all told us that Diprivan or Propofol is meant to be used only in a hospital setting where patients can be closely monitored. We haven't found any medical professional who says it is ok to use Diprivan at your home.

Joining me now: Dr. Drew Pinsky, he's an addiction specialist; and also Jim Moret, chief correspondent at "Inside Edition" who is also an attorney.

What do you make of the fact that Diprivan was found in the home? I mean, any doctor we talk to is just shocked by it.

DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: It is shocking. It is bizarre. It's medication that's used to keeps people immobilized, in a coma, induction for anesthesia, or on a ventilator. It is not something that really is ever designed to be used outside a hospital.

COOPER: The nurse, who had said that Jackson came to her three months ago asking for Diprivan, said that he wanted it for insomnia. I have a source I have talked to who was involved with Jackson in the '90s who said that he liked taking anesthetics for -- I want to make sure I have the wording on this right -- for the feeling of it. He enjoyed the feeling of it. Is that something, I mean, is Diprivan something people can get...

PINSKY: Addicted to? It absolutely is.

In fact, it has only been reported previously in anesthesiologists because those are the only people who come in contact with that medication and will be really aware of that medication and its potential.

COOPER: So some anesthesiologists have actually abused it because they like the feeling of going under with it?

PINSKY: Exactly. Like with most addictions, it is about escaping certain painful feeling states and that's when another disorder is triggered; that's the addictive disorder.

COOPER: Jim Moret, what are you making of this?

JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": I think we're seeing a change in the investigation now. It almost doesn't matter what the toxicology report says if Diprivan was found in the home. You have a separate track now and you could have a separate criminal investigation. I think that the net is really spread wide now to look at what prescription drugs were being given to Michael Jackson, under what names, and how many doctors were involved.

COOPER: And the DEA, we now know, is involved in the investigation; federal drug authorities. They bring with them their own expertise and their own ability to look at medical records and prescription records. The California attorney general is also involved. They will actually track down any doctor, I guess, that was known to have been involved with Michael Jackson.

PINSKY: Yes, they will sort this out. These investigations have a broad sweep. They usually can figure this out. What is going to make it difficult is all the various names these medications he may have been put under. I'll bet they'll figure this out.

MORET: And the important thing also is this can take months and that is ok. There's no rush now.

We saw with the Anna Nicole case that there were not indictments, no charges filed until a year later. It is ok because they want to get this thing right.

COOPER: In terms of custody issues, Debbie Rowe kind of contradictory information. She had given an interview saying she would pursue the custody of the kids -- at least two of the kids who she is the biological mother of. Maybe even get a restraining order against Joe Jackson.

Her attorney kind of said no definite decision has been made.

MORET: And what do we see happening? We see now a delay in the hearing that was set for Monday. It is now delayed by a week which indicates perhaps they are talking. Maybe there is going to be a settlement of some kind.

COOPER: Drew, if medication wasn't actually prescribed to Michael Jackson, is it possible some shady doctor would have prescribed it to himself or someone else in the Jackson camp?

PINSKY: Certainly, that is a possibility. They really don't know how far off really ethical standards this thing went. One of the things I find curious, though, is people look at the video of him the night before he died and think he looked so great. But you have to remember that a lot of musicians go out on medication intoxicated. Throughout this country -- the rock musician industry has a long heritage of doing this -- of people intoxicated performing, looking great but really being strung out on something.

COOPER: What do you make of the information that Dr. Sanjay Gupta found that this Dr. Ratner an anesthesiologist went on tour with Michael Jackson?

PINSKY: It is extraordinary. That is just extraordinary.

The fact is when people get special care they usually end up getting substandard care. I was just amazed and astonished as Sanjay Gupta was. I felt his sort of confusion like how is this even possible?

COOPER: There was another doctor apparently on the tour but an anesthesiologist has one purpose only.

PINSKY: That's right. And really anesthesiologists should not be the only person taking care of a patient who has such complex issues as this.

MORET: And all of these things are really consistent. When you talk to the nurse that you talked to the other day; you listen to the charges, the claim that a pharmacy was owed $100,000. Now this report that there was a mini clinic traveling with him, another report that Diprivan may have been found. They all kind of dove-tail and make up a story that is bizarre but...

COOPER: And I believe, if I'm not mistaken, that the pharmacy is in the lobby of the building that Dr. Arnie Klein is in which Jackson often went to.

MORET: And think about this, $100,000 over -- what -- a couple year period?

PINSKY: For a 50-year-old man that's well enough to perform in front of an audience.

COOPER: How do you take $100,000 worth of medication in a year?

PINSKY: It's not easy. It's not easy. That is not easy. It's not your cholesterol and your blood pressure medicine. That's a lot of other stuff.

COOPER: Yes, I take Lipitor. It's not that much.

PINSKY: That's not that much.

COOPER: It's just a tragedy. And it's still unfolding. We'll try to figure out more in the days ahead.

Drew Pinsky, Jim Moret, appreciate it. Thank you very much. Still ahead, we talked a lot about -- a little bit about Debbie Rowe tonight. Next, the long and winding money trail that links Michael Jackson to her. He allegedly gave her millions over the years. The question is where has it all gone?

Plus, the latest from Afghanistan where U.S. Marines have launched their biggest offensive in eight years; is the Taliban fighting back? We'll have details from the front lines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The lawyer for Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and mother of his two oldest kids, says she still has not decided whether to seek custody of the kids. Now, over the years, she reportedly has received millions from Jackson. But where did all that money go?

Just ahead, we'll follow the money trail.

First, though Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, there is late word tonight that North Korea has fired two more Scud-type missiles off its eastern coast; that, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. Now the missiles have an estimated range of about 500 kilometers; that's just over 300 miles. Yesterday North Korea fired four similar missiles off the same coast.

U.S. Marines pushing farther into southern Afghanistan on day two of their bold offensive against the Taliban. Military officials say the 4,000 troops engaged in sporadic fighting as they fan down into the most dangerous region of the country.

South Carolina police has released this sketch of a suspected serial killer believed to be responsible for four deaths in a town 50 miles south of Charlotte. The killings happened over the last six days, and the suspect, a white male with salt and pepper hair, is about 6'2" tall, weighing about 250 pounds. He is believed to be driving a 1991 to 1994 Ford Explorer sport model SUV.

A cell phone camera capturing this scene in Honduras, which shows soldiers apparently shooting out the tires of buses headed to a demonstration in support of ousted president Jose Manuel Zelaya. CNN obtained the recording from a supporter. The new government is under international pressure to restore Zelaya to power, but so far, it's resisting those calls.

And a Coney Island eating contest with a little twist; three people versus three pachyderms. Really no surprise, Anderson, the elephants crushed the competition, packing away 505 hotdog buns in six minutes. The humans only managed to gulp down 143.

COOPER: Oy.

HILL: Nothing like an eating contest.

COOPER: Yes. I don't quite get the whole eating contest phenomenon, but...

HILL: I don't get it either. I also don't get that it's called a sport but, hey, more power to them.

COOPER: Exactly.

As always, we want to hear from you. Join the live chat, happening now at AC360.com. Let us know what you think about, I don't know, eating contests.

Coming up next, paying to get pregnant; Debbie Rowe's deal with Michael Jackson. The $1 million she got up front and the cash that followed. We'll tell you about the money and whether she may seek custody of the kids.

And later, a few laughs over our report on Bubbles, Michael Jackson's former chimp. Steven Colbert saw our story and has a few pointers. It's tonight's "Shot."

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Right now we want to take you to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans where Beyonce, John Legend, and other artists are honoring Michael Jackson. Here is Ne-Yo singing "Off the Wall."

(NE-YO SINGING "OFF THE WALL")

COOPER: That's Ne-Yo at the Essence Music Festival tonight in New Orleans.

Back here in Los Angeles the Jackson family may be bracing for a bitter custody battle over two of the singer's children.

Debbie Rowe gave birth to Michael Jr. and Paris. She gave away parental rights, though, but then tried to get them back. We don't know what her intentions will be in the next few days, but we do know the singer paid her millions of dollars in the past.

Randi Kaye reports on Rowe and the money.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the start their marriage seemed more like a business deal. Michael Jackson wanted children; Debbie Rowe wanted to provide them. In the end, Jackson got his kids, and Rowe became a very rich woman.

How rich? Eight and a half million dollars rich; that was the deal the couple cut after their brief marriage ended and after Rowe agreed to give up parental rights to the children, seen here in photos from TMZ.

(on camera) Where did that money go?

MORET: That's -- that's the $64,000 question, I suppose.

KAYE: Court documents show Rowe was to be paid $1 million up front, then another million dollars paid over three years; on top of that, payments of $750,000 for the next six years.

(voice-over) But in 2006 Rowe went back to court, describing herself as deep in debt, and claiming Jackson had missed payments.

MORET: Jackson is notorious for going into a deal and then cheating the person out of whatever they're owed.

KAYE: The same document shows Rowe received $265,000 from Jackson in 2005 and used part of it to pay off -- get this -- a $168,000 American Express bill. As she put it, "By the end of 2005 the entire $265,000 was long gone."

This man says he and Rowe were friends for about seven years. He showed us pictures of them together.

(on camera) Did she spend a lot of money?

LUKA CAMBIO, DEBBIE ROWE'S FRIEND: Well, I could tell you this much. It did -- it sure looked like there were no restraints on any spending, and you know, so that's for certain.

KAYE (voice-over): Rowe's attorney says she hasn't decided whether to seek custody of the two children. If she does, some speculate money may be her motivation.

MORET: The kids will ultimately get 80 percent of Michael Jackson's estate. And there will be child support. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake here. So there is a great temptation to say it's all for the money.

KAYE: After Rowe and Jackson split, he set her up in an expensive Beverly Hills home. CBS filmed her dogs swimming in the backyard pool.

Today, with money tight, she lives in a modest ranch house on a farm outside Los Angeles, where she breeds horses.

MORET: Debbie Rowe doesn't lead a life that suggests opulence. She lives in a community that's moderate to low income. She leads what should be a very humble lifestyle.

KAYE: Certainly not the lifestyle she enjoyed at Neverland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Randi, what do her lawyers say about all this talk about money?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, we called them. We e-mailed them today. We wanted to know what her motivation may be, if she does look to seek custody. And we never heard back from them. But one thing I want to point out. In our interview with Jim Moret today -- he was also just on the show a few moments ago -- he said that, you know what? Debbie Rowe is the mother of these children, and she has every right to be concerned about their well being and how they're going to be provided for.

Sure, she might not have been around in recent years. She would tell you that that's because Michael Jackson made it difficult for her. She had to call ten days in advance before a visit. She had to meet them in supervised situations in hotel rooms. And that's why she didn't see them.

Is this about the money? Could this be about the money? We're going to have to wait and see and even see if she files for custody.

COOPER: All right. Randi, appreciate it. Randi Kaye.

Up next, managing the Jackson media spotlight; a day in the life of Reverend Al Sharpton as he led a memorial this week at New York's Apollo Theater. We took our camera behind the scenes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, as Michael Jackson's family plans the massive public memorial set for Tuesday here in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, they hired a public relations firm for help. But others are still speaking out on behalf of the family such as Reverend Al Sharpton. He gave us unprecedented access to his so-called "war room" this week as he led a memorial for Jackson in New York's Apollo Theater.

Again, here's Erica Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL (voice-over): This is a day in the life of the REVEREND AL SHARPTON; just one ringmaster in the Michael Jackson media circus. Tons of interviews.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Longtime and close family friend Reverend Al Sharpton.

REV. AL SHARPTON, JACKSON FAMILY FRIEND: Michael had his own way of being black, but he was black. Michael Jackson was not some freak. Michael Jackson was a genius.

HILL: Constantly working the phone.

SHARPTON: Hello? Hello?

Yes, what's up?

I just got a text from Spike Lee.

HILL: All in an effort, he says, to secure Jackson's legacy as both a music icon and the man who shattered racial barriers for a new generation of black entertainers and video stars. A goal that means Sharpton is in a unique, strategic position. Not unlike that of a campaign manager. This office -- his "war room."

SHARPTON: I think that ought to be some of what you -- how you handle that in interviews.

HILL: Sharpton speaking with Jackson family attorney Londell McMillan. Managing the message when you can't control the players vying for the spotlight -- daunting to say the least.

SHARPTON: I think when you put out overriding tones, people that start talking, particularly those that have known him, sort of adopt the tone.

HILL: His critics call Sharpton an opportunist for even being involved.

SHARPTON: If I didn't do anything, there would be those same critics say, look at what they're doing to Michael Jackson and guys like Al Sharpton is not saying a word.

HILL: Tough to ignore that while the reverend is working for Jackson's legacy, he's also well aware of his own.

It's Tuesday at the Apollo Theater; crowds are swelling into the thousands for the Michael Jackson tribute. Sharpton warns things could get dangerous.

SHARPTON: Going to walk around again and welcome, say hello to people and try to keep them calm.

HILL: Claiming to play the role as peace keeper, but his appearance breeds mayhem. He runs the victory lap a second time with Spike Lee causing even greater pandemonium.

The day ends peacefully, a moment of silence for Jackson observed.

SHARPTON: And send our strongest members. The "King of Pop," the "Prince of Hope," our brother, Michael Jackson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Hallelujah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hallelujah.

SHARPTON: Amen.

AUDIENCE: Amen.

HILL: An evening for the late "King of Pop," but tough to ignore the other men sharing the spotlight.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Erica, for tonight's "Shot," Stephen Colbert takes aim at me. Yes, me.

HILL: No.

COOPER: That's right.

HILL: I thought that was my job.

COOPER: That's right. He had a little fun with our report. You probably gave him a call. He had a little fun with our report on Bubbles the Chimp. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, COMEDY CENTRAL'S "THE DAILY SHOW": I was raised to admit when I had been bested. And last night Anderson Cooper didn't just scoop me, he spooned me; all night long. With the one Michael Jackson exclusive every newsman wanted.

Jimmy, crank up the AC.

COOPER: Tonight connecting with one of Michael Jackson's old friends and perhaps one of his oddest: Bubbles the Chimp.

COLBERT: He got the chimp exclusive. Of course. It's so obvious. I'm so mad I could throw my own feces. For the last four days I've been wasting my time trying to get an interview out of a bottle of Demerol.

CNN found Bubbles living in a nature preserve in Florida and uncovered this shocking news.

JOHN ZARELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He likes cucumbers for lunch and, of course, bananas. He likes making faces.

COLBERT: Now, that's a lot to process, I know. But John King broke it down with his touch screen.

Anyway, congratulations, Anderson. This is even bigger than your 2006 sit down with Saddam Hussein's beloved pet Khalid Sheikh Mu-Hamster.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Very funny and well deserved, no doubt.

HILL: Yes. And nice work by John Zarrella, as well there.

COOPER: Yes, John Zarrella.

You can see all the most recent "Shots" at our Web site, AC360.com.

Hey, that does it for 360. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" starts now.