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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Mammogram Controversy; Killings at the Canal; Fact-checking Sarah Palin; Major Hasan's Motive?
Aired November 17, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, first up, the firestorm over mammograms. New guidelines that have many women understandably confused and angry and many doctors say they will ignore the new guidance. So who came up with these new recommendations? And how could they be so out of sync with what doctors have been telling women for years? We're "Digging Deeper" tonight.
Also in this hour a "360 Special Investigation" months in the making, "Killings at the Canal, the Army Tapes". A story about the difficult choices soldiers are forced to make in war. Three U.S. sergeants convicted of murdering men they had in custody on the battlefield.
But was it murder or battlefield justice? You'll see the interrogation tapes and you can decide for yourself.
And later, Sarah Palin on the offensive, a new interview with Barbara Walters and new allegations about her version of events. We're "Keeping them Honest."
First up tonight: the life and death controversy over mammograms and new guidelines for breast cancer screening. Now, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force now says that most women in their 40s should not get routine mammograms. Now as you know, that flies in the face of what women have been told for years now. And the new guidelines are being challenged by a number of groups including the American Cancer Society.
A woman came up to me on the street today angry, confused about what to do. A lot of people are wondering is this some kind of excuse that insurance companies are now going to be using to deny paying for mammograms for women in their 40s.
So, we want to try to clear up the confusion tonight and "Dig Deeper" and get the facts.
Joining us now is Dr. Kimberly Gregory, who is a member of the task force that issued the new guidelines and Dr. Daniel Kopans, who's a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kopans, you say these new guidelines are outrageous. Why?
DR. DANIEL KOPANS, PROF. DEPT. OF RADIOLOGY, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, to begin with, Anderson, just to tell you my credentials, I'm also one of the world's leading experts on mammography screening. The credentials are outrageous -- the -- sorry. The task force guidelines are outrageous. Because they admit that there is a decrease in cancer deaths when you screen women in their 40s. But then they go ahead and tell women that we don't think you should be screened.
COOPER: So why do you think they're doing that?
KOPANS: You have to ask them. I can't interpret what their motivation is. They claim scientific evidence. The evidence as they admit clearly shows that you decrease deaths from breast cancer if you begin screening at age 40.
One of the concerns that I have in the way they analyzed the data where instead of looking at direct data that show what happens when you introduce screening into the population, in the United States the death rate from breast cancer has decreased by 30 percent since we introduced mammography screening in the mid-1980s.
The task force acknowledges that actually, the maximum benefit was seen in women in their 40s. And yet, they then go ahead and use computer models and ignore direct data from...
KOPANS: ... the United States and from Sweden and Netherlands.
COOPER: Dr. Gregory, you're on the task force. How do you respond? I mean, the fact that many major cancer organizations, American Cancer Society, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, The Komen Foundation have come out strongly against your panel's recommendations. Are they wrong?
DR. KIMBERLY GREGORY, MEMBER OF U.S. PREVENTIVE SERVICES TASK FORCE: What we're recommending is -- we're not recommending against mammography in this age group. What we're saying is we're recommending against routine screening in this age-group and that the net benefit is small and that there are some harm.
COOPER: Well, what does that mean? So a 40-year-old woman, should she get a mammogram in your opinion Dr. Gregory?
GREGORY: I think she should talk to her doctor about her individual risks and what her personal issues are and they should make a decision together.
COOPER: Dr. Gregory, what does that sound like to you?
KOPANS: Anderson, the problem -- one of the problems is that no one on the task force has any experience in mammography screening. The benefits from mammography come from screening. They don't come from waiting until a woman has a lump and then you use mammograms. The task force said they did a scientific analysis.
We just heard that they suggested maybe women who are high risk should be screened. There is no scientific evidence that screening women at high risk will save any lives. None of the randomized control trials divided women up based on risk. So there's no science to support that recommendation.
Furthermore, if you only screen based on increased risk, you'll miss the vast majority of cancers. 75 percent to 90 percent of women who develop breast cancer are not at increased risk. So the guidelines just don't make any sense.
COOPER: Dr. Gregory why wasn't there somebody who is a cancer specialist on the panel? And also, I mean, I read the recommendation. And it seems to me like the biggest thing you guys are coming up with for why they should -- there shouldn't be routine screenings is that it causes anxiety. And that seems like kind of minor.
GREGORY: We're actually recommending --- it's a grade B recommendation for routine screening in women between 50 and 75 and a grade C between 40 and -- between 40 and 49.
KOPANS: Anderson, there are absolutely no data to show that anything changes at the age of 50. These recommendations have no basis and science if you look at the data when mammography screening is directly introduced into the population and not use the computer models that these folks relied on, there is a 40 percent decrease in deaths when you screen women in their 40s.
COOPER: Dr. Gregory?
KOPANS: It's outrageous to say they shouldn't be seen.
GREGORY: Actually the evidence -- the body of evidence was based on randomized control trials. And we know for a fact that the incidents of breast cancer goes up after age 40. So the net benefit and the magnitude of the benefit goes -- I mean at age 50 -- so the magnitude of the benefit was -- is easily appreciated at age 50 and above. And the...
COOPER: But Dr. Gregory, doesn't it -- I mean, if it catches some women who otherwise -- who otherwise they wouldn't catch, I mean, isn't it a benefit? I mean, if it saves, you know, a handful of women's lives, isn't it still a good thing?
GREGORY: Well, but there's a significant number of women who will experience false positive tests and undergo additional tests and biopsies and some complications. So, there is some harm.
KOPANS: Anderson, we're not talking about a small benefit here. We're talking about a reduction in deaths of 40 percent. Prior to 1990, the death rate from breast cancer was unchanged over 50 years in the United States. Mammography screening began in the mid-1980s. And soon after, the death rate began to fall.
The task force admits on page 720 if you want to go look it up that the benefit was -- the decrease in deaths that's we've seen in the United States is highest among women in their 40s. Data in Sweden and the Netherlands confirm that women should be screened beginning at age 40.
COOPER: Dr. Gregory, a lot of folks I've talked to today literally came up to me on the street concerned about this feel that maybe now insurance companies are going to use your recommendations to not pay for a screening for women in their 40s. Are you concerned about that at all?
GREGORY: We, that's beyond the scope of what our recommendations are involved. We do not make recommendations for insurance coverage.
KOPANS: You know, that's -- that's just ignoring what the fallout is going to be. What your guidelines are suggesting is that women in their 40s will not get to be screened unless they pay for it themselves. And that means poor women won't be screened and they won't benefit from mortality reductions.
COOPER: We've got to go. But just bottom line from both of you. Dr. Gregory, a 40-year-old woman sitting in our audience tonight watching, would you recommend she get screened? And get a mammogram?
GREGORY: I think that she should talk to her doctor and talk about her individual risks and what her concerns are and they should make a decision for her.
COOPER: And Dr. Kopans?
GREGORY: ... to be individualized.
KOPANS: Yes, I completely agree that we should all be talking about these issues and women should talk to their doctors. But they should be allowed to make the decision. The task force supports informed decision making, and they've already decided they're taking the ability to make the decision away from women in their 40s. The American Cancer Society guidelines, I think, are the wisest guidelines.
COOPER: All right, Dr. Gregory, I appreciate your time today, and Dr. Kopans as well.
By the way, there's more information at AC360.com about breast cancer and mortality rates by age. Let us know what you think about these new guidelines. Join the live chat now underway at AC360.com. I'm about to logon.
Just ahead, a "360 Special Investigation: Killings at the Canal, The Army Tapes". Why three experienced sergeants killed four Iraqi men they held in custody.
Now they've been jailed for premeditated murder. But the case raises tough questions about what can happen in a war. You're going to hear and see Army interrogation tapes obtained exclusively by CNN. And we'll leave it up to you to decide if what these soldiers did was justifiable or not.
Later, Sarah Palin in a new interview with Barbara Walters yield some surprising answers; we'll show you that. And the magazine cover with her photo that she says is sexist. You can judge for yourself.
We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Tonight, a story about what can happen in war and the difficult decisions soldiers are forced to make every single day. It's a story about three decorated Army sergeant who killed four Iraqis execution style on the battlefield. They were convicted of premeditated murder and they are all serving long sentences at Fort Leavenworth.
But as you're going to see tonight, in war, nothing is cut and dry.
Opinions vary widely on what these soldiers did, why did they did it and whether the price they are paying for it is fair. Over the next four nights you'll have a chance to decide for yourself; was this a case of battlefield justice or cold blooded murder?
CNN exclusively obtained 23-and-a-half hours of Army interrogation videotapes with the confession and details of the killings.
Here is Abbie Boudreau our special investigation unit correspondent with part one of our report. "Killings at the Canal: The Army Tapes."
ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Army does not want you to see this...
MICHAEL LEAHY, U.S. ARMY: I know when I shot the first guy, I turned.
BOUDREAU: ... in hours and hours of videotape obtained by CNN. You'll see how Army interrogators carefully coax out a confession. The tapes, part of the case that convicted three Army sergeants of murder on the battlefield.
Private First Class Joshua Hartson was there that day. He was not charged with a crime. The Army only prosecuted the three sergeants for murder though Hartson believes their actions were justified.
JOSHUA HARTSON, FORMER PRIVATE FIRST CLASS: Nobody knows what we've all been through. Watching people die. I think people should show respect to these guys. To everybody that serves over there. Just they are American heroes. And nobody will ever understand it unless they've been there with them.
BOUDREAU: This is the canal in Baghdad where it all happened. And nine months later, this is part of Sergeant Michael Leahy's confession.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where did you shoot him?
LEAHY: It was in the back of the head? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times did you fire?
LEAHY: I fired twice.
BOUDREAU: It was March, 2007 in Iraq; 1st Sergeant John Hatly was the trusted leader of Alpha Company 118. It was his third combat deployment. On this particular day, Sergeant First Class Joseph Mayo and Sergeant Michael Leahy, both now 28, were helping lead what began as a routine mission.
HARTSON: Clear sky. No clouds. Sun was right on top of everybody.
BOUDREAU: Joshua Hartson was 19 when he served under First Sergeant Hatly whom he considered a father figure. That day, he says, they were on patrol here when someone started shooting at them.
(on camera): That's when they found four suspects, four Iraqi men. Nearby they found a small cache of weapons.
HARTSON: There were sniper rifles, machine guns, AK-47s, binoculars, night vision binoculars, night vision goggles. Duffel bags filled with ammunition and a lot.
BOUDREAU: And did you think these were the men that were firing upon you?
BOUDREAU (voice-over): By all accounts, the soldiers blindfolded the Iraqis, zip-tied their hands and loaded them into the back of a Bradley fighting vehicle.
(on camera): It was just you and them?
BOUDREAU: And did any of them speak English?
HARTSON: The one on my right did.
BOUDREAU: So did you try talking to him?
HARTSON: I talked to him.
BOUDREAU: What did he say?
HARTSON: I asked him if he killed Americans, made bombs and he laughed about the questions.
BOUDREAU: What did that tell you?
HARTSON: Yes, he did. And apparently it's funny. He enjoys it.
BOUDREAU: The Army has a strict policy on detainees. At the time, the rules called for soldiers to drop off detainees at the Detainee Housing Area or the DEHA. But that didn't happen.
HARTSON: My First Sergeant comes up to me and pulls me away from everybody. Then he asks me if we take them to the detainee facility, the DEHA, that they're going to be right back on the streets doing the same thing in a matter of weeks. He asked if we had a problem if we took care of them and I told him no.
BOUDREAU: And what do you think he meant by that?
HARTSON: To kill them.
BOUDREAU: How could you be ok with that?
HARTSON: They were bad guys. If we were to let them go or take them in, and we risked the chance of them getting out and killing us, killing other people.
BOUDREAU (voice-over): So in a convoy of three vehicles, 13 soldiers holding four Iraqi detainees headed down this dusty road, leading to the canal. First Sergeant John Hatly was in charge. At the edge of this canal, the soldiers lined up the men in their custody. The three leaders, Sergeants Hatly, Mayo and Leahy put their 9 millimeter pistols at the back of the detainees heads, shot and killed them.
They left their bodies in the canal.
A year later, divers could not find the bodies. For nine months, the soldiers kept the murders a secret. But in time, the truth came out.
Earlier this year First Sergeant Hatly, Sergeant First Class Mayo and Sergeant Leahy would be convicted of pre-meditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder. All three are in prison at Fort Leavenworth.
This is part of Sergeant Michael Leahy's taped confession.
LEAHY: I fired twice, I fired and like, this other guy fell back on me. And when he fell back on me, I don't know why I fire again.
BOUDREAU: The tapes also show the Army knew this could become a PR nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a hell of a lot of pretty damn concerned high-level people, way the hell above my pay grade that are grabbing their ankles and bracing for what's bound to be an ugly damn mess if this becomes a big drawn out, public knife fight.
BOUDREAU: The murders at the canal also shine a light on that Army policy on what to do with detainees. Some say it led to the murders.
Months after the conviction, Private First Class Joshua Hartson left the Army, still certain they did the right thing. But he remains haunted. Few people really understand. HARTSON: Family doesn't really know about it. I would -- I would like to explain to them, like, why it happened. But nobody can understand unless you were actually there.
BOUDREAU (on camera): Would your mom -- does your dad know about this?
HARTSON: My dad has served in Vietnam. And I'm sure he experienced his own stuff. And when everything first started happening was a week after I think maybe a week or two weeks after he passed away. That's when I was first approached for it. It would have been nice to have him to fall back on. But...
BOUDREAU: The support.
BOUDREAU: He would have understood.
HARTSON: He would have.
COOPER: Yes, Abbie you hate to see soldiers accused and convicted of a crime like this. A lot of people can certainly sympathize with the situation that they found themselves in, even if they violated military law. The story has been online for a while today. What kind of reaction is it getting?
BOUDREAU: We're getting so much reaction. Already hundreds of responses and people seem to have opinions all across the board.
I mean, some people are saying there is absolutely no justification for this incident. Other people are saying, "I can -- I can empathize. I can understand why this might be happening. And why they might have made that decision." And then there's also some people who are saying that these men don't even belong in prison. These men should be freed.
So, we're hearing from people all across the world with all sorts of opinions.
COOPER: It's interesting. I've never seen an Army interrogation video like this.
BOUDREAU: Right. No and no one really has, to tell you the truth. I mean, that's what makes this -- it's so interesting and fascinating. But at the same time, what they say is what makes it so important. Because they not only say why the crime unfolded the way that it did, but they explain the details of the crime and the why is the most important part of this whole interrogation tape. Why they did what they did.
BOUDREAU: And that's what we're going to be looking into this whole week.
COOPER: Yes, we're going to have more on this each night this week. We're going to have more with Abbie in a moment along with our panel including a former soldier who fought in Battle of Fallujah, an incredibly tough fight. He talks about the difficult situation these soldiers and others find themselves in.
Plus, Sarah Palin complaining that "Newsweek's" new cover featuring her is sexist. We'll show it to you, you can decide for yourself. Palin is also talking foreign policy to Barbara Walters. We'll play that for you and what statements she's making now that contradict things she said before. We're "Keeping Her Honest."
COOPER: Before the break, special investigations correspondent Abbie Boudreau brought us the first part of our 360 report, "Killings at the Canal: The Army Tapes." Now, it's about three decorated Army sergeants who shot four Iraqi men execution style and were convicted of premeditated murder.
We heard from a young soldier who was there and who considers the sergeants heroes. We've had details about the story up on our Web site all day. And as Abbie mentioned before the break, it's clear a lot of folks see and frame what happened in very different ways.
Many think prison is too harsh for the sergeants. Many think they deserve what they got. And many say the story shines a bright light on the Army's policy for detaining battlefield suspects.
Let's "Dig Deeper." Abbie joins me again, along with Scott Silliman, a law professor at Duke and a former Air Force Attorney and David Bellavia, a former Army Staff Sergeant who was in the thick of the Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. He wrote about the experience in his memoir, "House-to-House."
David, I want to start with you, I mean, unless one's fought in battle, and I haven't, I think one should be very careful before critiquing those who have. But with that in mind, these soldiers did violate military rule. But at the same time, the military rules on detainees also could be said to have put them in almost impossible situation.
DAVID BELLAVIA, FORMER U.S. ARMY STAFF SERGEANT: Well, you know, Anderson, actually I have friends that were in this battalion. And I've lost friends that were in this battalion. And I could tell you that the detention facility that these detainees, insurgents that were executed would have gone to, this detention facility took a very strict interpretation of the memorandum that came out in January of 2005. And they were routinely rejecting detainees that were solely given American depositions, sworn statements by only Americans. This detention facility had a reputation of turning them away.
So the perception was that this was a catch and release program for terrorists. I've been in that situation. What these men did was criminal and they should go to jail. I have a hard problem with giving a life sentence to someone, though, and not having any culpability with the people that were interpreting that memorandum from this detention facility.
COOPER: Scott, what does the law actually say about treatment of detainees?
SCOTT SILLIMAN, PROFESSOR, DUKE LAW SCHOOL: Anderson, the Geneva Conventions, military law, even the Army's own regulations are crystal clear. When you capture someone on the battlefield and you take them out of the fight, you handcuff them, you blindfold them, as happened with these detainees. They must be treated detainee -- humanely. You cannot kill them. That is a total violation of law.
And, of course, they were convicted. They were charged with premeditated murder. I don't disagree with what David said. Because in the sentencing and how you deal with the punishment then a jury should consider all the factors including the frustration and the confusion concerning that particular detention facility.
COOPER: And Abbie, I mean, soldiers needed a huge amount of evidence in order to basically be able to lock up a detainee.
BOUDREAU: They needed a huge amount of evidence. You're exactly right. They needed photographs of the detainee with the weapons. They needed photographs of the actual crime scene. They needed to have these firsthand witness statements which is probably the most incredibly difficult thing for them to obtain because they actually needed an Iraqi witness statements were preferred, so as opposed to American soldiers.
So these kinds of things made it incredibly hard.
BOUDREAU: And these soldiers were being asked to be police officers as opposed to just being soldiers. And that's not the kind of training that they were getting.
And if I can just add, the one thing that's so incredibly fascinating by our reporting was that we found out that of the 87,000 detainees or the people that were detained during the Iraq war, 77,000 of them were released.
BOUDREAU: And not because they were innocent, but because there was lack of evidence.
COOPER: And David, I guess some of these new -- this detainee policy that evolved was a result of what happened at Abu Ghraib. I mean, in some ways this is fallout from that situation.
BELLAVIA: And once again, you're seeing the mass of soldiers that are doing good things, you know, punished for a few horrendous acts at Abu Ghraib.
But I've got to tell you, Anderson, I've been in this situation. And every time you see -- this is an enemy without a face. You're listening to music one moment, you wake up in Landstuhl and your legs are gone. You very rarely have the opportunity to meet the enemy face-to-face.
And when you do see the enemy, when they are taunting you, when you have the evidence that they are going to hurt you and you've had to bury so many good men that thought process does come into your head.
However, discipline also is something that usually rules the day. And this is a first sergeant who is asking a private first class what he should do; a tremendous breakdown in the chain of command to place here.
But it's foolish to say that infantrymen don't think about taking these matters into their own hands. We do every day. But obviously our military and our infantry, we are at higher standards. And this...
BELLAVIA: ... shouldn't happen.
COOPER: ... it is remarkable when you hear that number, the tens of thousands of detainees who were just ultimately released. I mean, is there something essentially wrong with the policy or the way it's being executed?
SILLIMAN: I think they were asking for too much, Anderson.
It seems with the type of information that they wanted gathered, by the soldiers in a battlefield; that they were almost saying we need enough evidence to convict of a crime in a court. That's not what the detention facilities are for.
They're not to prosecute any of these detainees. They're to take them off the battlefield. So it seems as if more was being gathered or required of soldiers to gather than was necessary. And that's what's created that atmosphere of frustration...
SILLIMAN: ... on the soldiers that Dave is talking about.
COOPER: Well an impossible situation for so many. David Bellavia, I appreciate you being with us, Scott Sullivan as well and Abbie Boudreau as well.
Up next, though, tonight, the new Sarah Palin interview on the Middle East and how President Obama is doing. She told Barbara Walters what grade she'll give the president on the scale of one to ten. We'll tell you that. Plus, we'll show you the photos she pose for that she now says is sexist; it was used for a magazine cover. You can judge for yourself.
COOPER: Still ahead, what Sarah Palin just said to Barbara Walters that has her critics scratching their head and the picture of her on the cover of "Newsweek" that she is calling sexist.
First up, Erica Hill has the "360 bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, new details about the investigations into the deadly shooting rampage at Fort Hood. The Army will look to see if signs were missed before Major Nidal Hasan allegedly killed 13 people. Meantime, there is stunning new information about Hasan himself including how he may have wanted to have soldiers be counseled, investigated for war crimes.
We'll have more details ahead in tonight's "Crime and Punishment" report.
There is some agreement tonight after a two-hour meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. The leaders vowing to work together on climate change at the summit next month in Copenhagen. But the Chinese president stopped far short of enforcing sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.
A new report from the Agriculture Department finds more than 1 in 7 American households struggle to put enough food on the table in 2008. Now that's about 49 million people. And it's a sharp increase from 2007. It is also the highest number since the agency began tracking food levels in 1995.
And if you still need proof that Facebook is popular. Try this. The word of the year according to the new Oxford-American dictionary is "unfriend". Defined as, quote, "to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site such as Facebook." Although I have to say, Anderson, if you talk to the kids these days, typically the term that's used is de-friend, not un-friend.
COOPER: I didn't know that.
HILL: It's a little hipper.
COOPER: I don't talk much.
HILL: Come on, you are such a Facebook junky. Admit it.
COOPER: Yes. How does one unfriend somebody?
HILL: You just defriend them.
HILL: Yes, you just take them off your friend list.
HILL: I'll show in during the break.
COOPER: OK. I don't have a friend list. I don't have friends.
COOPER: Up next, Sarah Palin's take on peace efforts in the Middle East. What she said today and why has so many people talking. We'll also have a fact check on her book, "Keeping them Honest". And Bill Bennett, Donna Brazile weigh in as well.
Also tonight, an incredible story about Major Nidal Hasan; Erica was just talking about it. What he reportedly said soldiers who were his patients told him when he was treating them and why he may have tried to get them charged with war crimes.
You can text your questions about Major Hasan to our military law expert at AC360 or 22360. That's AC360 or 22360 ; standard rates apply.
COOPER: Tonight: the new Sarah Palin interview. Palin spoke to Barbara Walters of ABC News who peppered her on foreign policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: Let's talk about some issues -- the Middle East. The Obama administration does not want Israel to build any more settlements on what they consider Palestinian territory. What is your view on this?
SARAH PALIN, AUTHOR, "GOING ROGUE: AN AMERICAN LIFE": I disagree with the Obama administration on that. I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon. Because that population of Israel going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don't think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand.
WALTERS: Even if it's Palestinian area?
PALIN: I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to expand.
WALTERS: What should the U.S. goal in Afghanistan be?
PALIN: To listen to McChrystal. To listen to the appointee that President Obama asked for the advice from. McChrystal gave the president the advice and said we need essentially a surge strategy in Afghanistan so we can win in Afghanistan. That means more resources, more troops there.
It frustrates me and frightens me and many Americans that President Obama is dithering around with the decision in Afghanistan.
WALTERS: With what goal? What should be our ultimate goal?
PALIN: Afghanistan, the people there, the government there should be able to take over and to have a more peaceful existence there for the people who live there without American interference, if you will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Walters also asked her what she thought of President Obama. Here's her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: Let's talk about President Obama. On a scale of 1 to 10 -- 10 being the best -- where do you rate him?
PALIN: A 4; there are a lot of decisions being made that I and probably the majority of Americans are not impressed with right now.
I think our economy is not being put on the right track because we're strained too far from fundamentally from free enterprise principles that built our country. And I question, too, some of the dithering and hesitation with our national security questions that have got to be answered for our country. So a 4.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A 4.
The interview came as part of Palin's media blitz obviously for her new book "Going Rogue" in case you haven't heard about it.
In the book and during her media tour, Palin takes some shots at her critics, the media, McCain campaign advisers; but how does what she's saying jive with what she said in the past?
Tom Foreman tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."
PALIN: Thank you so much.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a puzzling part of the effort to push Sarah Palin's book. Why is she contradicting things she said during her campaign? This apparent example is lighting up the blogs.
Listen to what Palin says when Oprah asked her about making the decision to run for vice president.
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": Was there a family vote or discussion?
PALIN: This time, there wasn't a family vote. Other steps in my political life I've told the kids and I have abided by some of the results of the polls that the kids have partaken. This time, no.
WINFREY: This is a "Mommy rules."
PALIN: This was -- yes. Yes. This was -- I'm going to make the decision. Todd and I would make the decision together.
FOREMAN: But in September of 2008, less than a month after making that decision, Fox News asked essentially the same question.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: What was your family's reaction? Was that time to huddle and have a hockey team meeting?
PALIN: It was a time of asking the girls to vote on it anyway. And they voted unanimously yes. I asked the girls what they thought. And they're like, "Absolutely. Let's do this, mom."
FOREMAN: Other examples are not so much contradictions as curious. She's always painted herself as staunchly against a woman getting an abortion.
PALIN: We believe in the goodness and the potential of every human life.
FOREMAN: But to Oprah, she sounded more conciliatory.
PALIN: It was easy to understand why a woman would feel that it's easier to just do away with some less than ideal circumstances, to do away with the problem. I can certainly understand why a woman would feel that way.
FOREMAN (on camera): It's not just what Miss Palin is saying to promote her book that is raising eyebrows, it is the book itself. In it, Palin defends her rationale for turning down some stimulus money for Alaska, saying it came with a hook. Universal building codes mandated by the feds to save energy.
Politifact.com a Pulitzer-prize winning journalism site, says not true. The federal requirements for energy savings did exist but they didn't include an inflexible building code.
But Palin did get some things right. For example, she said Katie Couric was much rougher on her than Joe Biden. Disagree? Listen when Couric asked Senator Biden about the Great Depression.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, "Look, here's what happened."
FOREMAN: As Palin points out, Roosevelt was not even president when the Depression began. And America was not yet watching TV.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: All right.
Let's talk "Raw Politics" now. With me: Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Donna Brazile and national radio talk show host and CNN political contributor, Bill Bennett, who, by the way, has a new book out called "The True St. Nicholas: Why he matters to Christmas." Welcome to you both.
Bill, Sarah Palin has obviously -- her memoir has obviously gotten a huge amount of attention. The AP devoted a lot of time to fact checking it. We've done fact checks as well. Is that fair?
BILL BENNETT, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't know. I don't know. There is so much tension to it. Seems to me -- isn't it true now this is a day of launch that there may be less there than meets the eye? That is people are expecting either some outrageously stupid comments or provocative comments or some large set of issues or controversies? And there seems to be fair amount of score settling with the McCain campaign and a lot personal history.
But there may not -- what did the poet say of Oakland? Not much there, there?
COOPER: It's interesting Donna because a lot of the points are being made, for instance, one, the discrepancy she said on Oprah Winfrey that she didn't ask her kids about whether or not she should accept John McCain's offer to be vice president. A year ago she had a very elaborate story about asking all the girls in her family to vote on whether she should.
Clearly, some sort of discrepancy. Either she was mistaken then or she's mistaken now. Do these details matter?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: no I don't think so, Anderson.
Look, this book is already a best seller and Sarah Palin is about to embark on historic bus tour; one that I've never seen before.
COOPER: But, I mean, it's interesting Donna. You don't think it matters whether she is inconsistent on what she is saying and whether she says one thing one time and then something completely different another?
BRAZILE: You know, Anderson, Bill is more of a prolific author and writer than I am. But when I wrote my own memoirs, I was very careful to check my facts. A little Nexus Lexus is good for all of us in terms of making sure that what you say today is consistent to what you said yesterday.
But that said, she had a ghostwriter so we don't know how much of this is attributed to her or some of the problems that she might have had in translation with a ghostwriter. COOPER: There is a photo of Sarah Palin, I think it initially ran in "Runner's World" magazine and is now been put on the cover of "Newsweek." Here is the photo; we're showing it to our viewers.
She was asked about this by Barbara Walters. I want to show you her answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: I think it is so cheesy. Had I known then that a picture of me in shorts would end up on the cover of "Newsweek," I would not have allowed "Runner's World" to profile me. I think that that's -- for me personally, it's a wee bit degrading. "Newsweek" should be more -- more policy-oriented, more substance-oriented than showing some gal in shorts on the cover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Bill, I don't know if you have a thought of whether it's degrading or not.
BENNETT: This is a very difficult thing or a nasty thing in politics which is the double standard as it applies to women. You know, JFK was handsome. A lot of people think our Paul Ryan is this great looking guy and shows to advantage and they have pictures of him, you know, working out.
But Sarah Palin has this very attractive picture. She's a wee bit embarrassed because people will look at it and say, "Oh well, she's trying to get everybody to look at her sex and not her brain."
I think it's a very attractive picture. Obviously it was intended for "Runner's World" and not "Newsweek." But one of the things about Sarah Palin that's attractive is that attractive and she's dynamic and she's interesting. It shouldn't be held against her.
It's not a qualification for president. But it sure shouldn't be held against her.
COOPER: And what do you see her role -- I mean, obviously the question of 2012, it is unknowable at this point. A lot will depend on what happens to midterm elections. But what do you see as her role or her importance in the Republican Party as it is right now?
BENNETT: Well, she's very popular. She can raise a lot of money not only for herself but for causes and for the party. And I think there needs to be a second stage. If this book was "Going Rogue," I think the next stage needs to be going substantive, going policy.
COOPER: Because that's what's interesting is that, you know, some have compared her to Ronald Reagan. But Bill as you well know, Reagan had many, many years as a commentator. He wrote, you know, he wrote radio commentary. He wrote -- he really thought out positions for himself for a long, long time before national office. Donna? BRAZILE: Anderson, I don't think Sarah Palin should try to be Hillary Clinton or Ronald Reagan. Sarah Palin should be Sarah Palin, whatever that means in terms of the substance that she will bring to the debate. How would she reduce the deficit? What strategy would she give to the Republican Party to create jobs?
You know this is a very important political year 2010: 37 gubernatorial seats; 4 out of 5 Americans will be selecting a governor. We have 36 senatorial races and of course the entire House of Representatives up for re-election. Sarah Palin can be a polarizing figure or she can be a unifying figure inside the Republican Party.
We know what happened up in New York in the 23rd district that you covered, Anderson. Let's see just how Sarah Palin will launch herself with this new book tour and to see if she will be called upon to help Republicans try to regain the majority.
COOPER: Bill Bennett and Donna Brazile, thanks.
COOPER: It was a good discussion.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, some new chilling details about Major Hasan's actions days before the Fort Hood massacre. He reportedly went -- where he went and what he told colleagues; all clues that could point to a motive.
You can text your questions about the case to AC360 or 22360; standard rates apply.
Also, pleading guilty to kidnapping Elizabeth Smart. The terms of Wanda Barzee's plea deal. That's what she looks like now; a lot different than when they found her. What it means for the case against her husband ahead.
COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight, new information on Major Nidal Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood. Now according to media reports, just two days before the shooting, Hasan went to a firing range, shot off 200 rounds at ten separate targets.
According to the same media reports, the suspect Major Hasan also made repeated requests to have soldiers he counseled investigated for possible war crime charges. The reports say Hasan believed the soldiers who had sought treatment after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan may have committed atrocities.
Hasan reportedly e-mailed military investigators about his concerns but was rebuffed by his superiors. His last contact to investigators was three days before the Fort Hood rampage. With us now is Eugene Fidell, a Military law attorney and president of the National Institute of Military Justice. Thanks for being with us.
If these reports about Hasan reporting his clients for possible war crimes investigations are true, was he not breaking doctor-patient privilege or confidentiality or does that not exist in the military?
EUGENE FIDELL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MILITARY JUSTICE: Well, there is a psychotherapist-patient privilege under the manual for courts-martial but it was written in a way that has an exception if there's a requirement under state law, federal law or service regulation, to disclose matters that are learned in the course of the interaction.
And it turns out that under the Department of Defense Law of War Program, and I'm actually looking at the instruction right now, that possible suspected or alleged violations of the law of war do have to be reported. So it looks like there's at least the plausible argument that he was under an obligation to report.
COOPER: That's interesting because I mean, you could argue that without that strong patient confidentiality it undermines the military effort to help soldiers with PTSD. If I'm a soldier, why would I go to a psychiatrist and tell things I did or may have done or may have seen if that information is going to go up the chain of command?
FIDELL: Right. So you would think. Except on the other side of the scales, Anderson, is the really, really important concern that countries have about enforcing the law of war, reporting crimes and punishing them. So there is a reasonable basis for carving an exception out of the normal privilege that attaches to these communications.
COOPER: We've got a Text 360 question from a viewer in California who wants to know, "Is it not prudent for the military to follow up on Hasan's patients? Who knows what he counseled or sold them to do?" Would that be part of the military's investigation?
FIDELL: Well, there is a concern, even so, about invading the sacred sphere between a physician and the patient. I'm sure that is going to be on the government's mind.
On the other hand, I think this case is going to be investigated like crazy for a long time.
COOPER: In the civilian world, is there a similar loophole in the patient confidentiality thing? Obviously war crimes probably would not be in that but murder or imminent threat or is there a loophole?
FIDELL: There's a difference, as I understand it, between disclosures by a patient to a physician or to a therapist about past conduct and disclosures about threatened, imminent violence. And there, I believe, the professional ethics codes indicate that there is a duty on the part of the therapist to disclose to the law enforcement authorities if there's a threat of imminent grave harm to another individual.
COOPER: Eugene Fidell, appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being with us.
FIDELL: My privilege.
COOPER: Coming up next, a new twist in the Elizabeth Smart case; a guilty plea from one defendant. What does it mean for the other accused abductor?
And consequences for co-ed college living; new findings might make you think twice about dorm life in America.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: All right.
Let's get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, a plea deal and an apology in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case; Wanda Barzee pleading guilty today and also agreeing to a 15-year prison sentence. Now in exchange she will testify against her husband who is also facing charges in the 2002 case. Barzee also asked for forgiveness from Smart and her family.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, two men granted a marriage license today are planning what would be the first legal same-sex marriage in Latin America. It comes after a judge ruled a ban on such marriages violate the country's constitution.
College students living in co-ed dorms more likely to drink alcohol regularly; they're also more likely to have a sexual partner than those in single-sex dorms. That's according to a new study in the Journal of American College Health.
And Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi seems to be on a -- another special mission during his visit to Rome to the U.N. Food Summit. According to Italian media, 200 attractive women showed up at his villa in response to an ad promising money and gifts. Instead, they got a lesson from Gadhafi on Islam; they each received a copy of the Koran. One woman says it was not exactly the VIP treatment she expected. But the Libyan ambassador actually tells the Italian News Agency that they have three more of these shindigs planned.
COOPER: What did they expect? 200 women showed up like, at night? At Gadhafi's house?
HILL: And very specifically, like, 18 to 35; 5'7" or taller.
COOPER: He put out like a modeling call.
HILL: He did. The skirts were not to be too short nor the tops too low cut. COOPER: All right. Interesting.
Doesn't he have like an all-female bodyguard or something? I remember reading that long ago.
HILL: Initially I thought maybe it was for the bodyguards but...
COOPER: Maybe so. Who knows?
Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow night.
"LARRY KING" starts now.