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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Primary Night Results; Proposed Ban for British Petroleum; Kids & Race in America

Aired May 18, 2010 - 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, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our continuing 360 election coverage, a very big night, a big upset Arlen Specter, the Republican who became a Democrat losing his primary fight, his long senate career over.

Also a major win for the Tea Party, a big special election House picture for Democrats; in addition two scandals, politicians behaving badly, one of them lying and the other one cheating with a co-star of a video promoting abstinence.

A lot to talk about with the best political team on television: Joe Johns is with us; GOP strategists, Mary Matlin and Alex Castellanos; Erroll Louis of the New York Daily News; author of "Wingnuts" John Avlon; Democratic strategist, Paul Begala; John King, "Digging Deeper".

And correspondents in those three battle ground states: Candy Crowley in Pennsylvania where incumbent party switcher Arlen Specter is out and in western Pennsylvania, the Democrat who won a special elections to succeed the late Congressman John Murtha. Also Jessica Yellin is in Kentucky where the Tea Party won big tonight and Dana Bash in Arkansas, where Senator Blanche Lincoln is fighting for her political life.

Let's check in first with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson thanks very much.

Let's take a close look now at what happened in Pennsylvania. Arlen Specter after so many years, 30 years in the United States Senate, he loses to Joe Sestak, the Democratic Congressman. We have projected Specter is the winner. He has in fact, Specter is the loser, I should say, Sestak has won, Specter has conceded, 75 percent of the vote is in, 53-47. Specter goes down; Sestak will face Republican Pat Toomey, the former Congressman in November.

In Pennsylvania also a special election for the House of Representatives; the Democrat, Mark Critz (ph) has defeated the Republican, Tim Burns. Burns has conceded. Mark Critz holds onto John Murtha's seat in that 12th District in Pennsylvania.

In Arkansas, right now, Blanche Lincoln, the incumbent moderate Democrat slightly ahead with 21 percent of the vote in, 45 percent for her to 41 percent for the Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter who has been challenging her from the left. Remember, if neither of these candidates gets 50 percent, neither gets 50 percent there will have to be a runoff. There were several third and fourth and fifth party candidates. So right now, it doesn't look like either one of them is going to get 50 percent, it could be a runoff.

We're also taking a look at Kentucky right now. Kentucky, Rand Paul, the ophthalmologist, the eye surgeon, he has won that race and Trey Grayson, who is the Kentucky Secretary of State loses on the Democratic side. The winner is Jack Conway, the Attorney General, Dan Mongiardo, the Kentucky Lieutenant Governor has lost. So Conway will face Rand Paul in November -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wolf thanks very much.

Let's check with our own Dana Bash who is in Little Rock for the big Arkansas primary -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you just heard Wolf talk about the fact that Blanche Lincoln has to -- not just win and get the most votes but she has to make over 50 percent in order to actually clinch the Democratic nomination for her party in order to -- to go on to run against whomever the Republican will be in November.

And her aides here simply are not sure if she is going to do that. You're already hearing them say that just having a popular win is enough. And they'll see what happens during the runoff on June 8th. But it's still, because as Wolf pointed out, it's not really clear with so few precincts reporting how things are going to turn out.

But regardless, the dynamic here Anderson is just fascinating because again, you have an incumbent senator who is being challenged from the outside, not just being challenged from the left and that is happening in a big way. Labor has come down here because they think that she's not a good enough Democrat on their issues; liberal groups like MoveOn.org have poured millions of dollars and lots of manpower in here the same way, but it is very much being fueled also by the anti- incumbent, anti-Washington atmosphere that you're seeing across the country.

COOPER: Yes, Dana stay with us. We're going to go back shortly to you with more primary coverage.

Let's bring in our panelists: Joe Johns, Mary Matalin, Alex Castellanos, Errol Louis, John Avlon -- gosh, how many people do we have -- Paul Begala and John King as well.

John, what do you make of this? I mean, is this a losing streak for President Obama? He's now backed a number of losers in a number of states?

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "JOHN KING USA": Well, it's an interesting question. Because yes, Arlen Specter losing is a bit of embarrassment for the President of the United States, he was in the television advertisements, he recorded a Robo-call. This is the deal the Obama White House cut with Arlen Specter when he switched parties, when they needed his vote back in the health care debate. They said, we will be with you; we will get the party establishment behind you. So it is a bit of embarrassment for the incumbent president.

But guess what, most Democrats in Pennsylvania would tell you that Joe Sestak is probably a stronger general elections candidate. It's the liberal base of the party, has no love with Arlen Specter in a year where you would expect Republicans to have more intensity anyway that's just history.

The first mid-term of a president's campaign -- term is usually hard for his party. The base of the party helped Joe Sestak, MoveOn.org, liberal activists; they will be more energized to try to help him more in the general election. It probably gives the Democrats a more competitive candidate in Pennsylvania.

And I'll tell you one more quick point on this. Look, Kentucky is a long shot for the Democrats, but Rand Paul shows the energy is the Tea Party. Some Democrats will tell you at least he has some controversial issues to run against. He's let the other -- more mainstream candidate who lost in the Republican primary tonight would have been almost impossible for the Democrats to beat. If they think they can beat Rand Paul, they wouldn't bet a lot of money out it, at least they have a slightly better chance.

COOPER: Well Mary, how do some of these Tea Party candidates fair in a general election? I mean, primary is one thing.

MARY MATALIN, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: If they stay on the message, which is smaller government, fiscal conservatism that is the message that plays to moderates, to independents which it -- and it -- it transcends health care, it transcends the stimulus, it really goes to -- and he's a great spokesman on this.

What is the role of government? We really are at crossroads, how big? Is it closer to us? All those issues. He is the modern day. When he gave his speech -- his acceptance speech, he talked like Barry Goldwater. He used Goldwaterism, that's a deep strain of Republican Party, deep strain of conservatism in this country. If he stays there, he'll be ok, if he wanders off down the Pacific Coast Highway, then it's going to be a race.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think the message you're going to hear from Republicans wherever they come from, from the Tea Party or anywhere else, they'll (INAUDIBLE) Washington's growing the wrong economy. It's growing Washington's economy, it's not growing ours. We have to get spending down over there and put those dollars in working people's pockets.

ERROLL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Some of these first time candidates like Rand Paul, they do wander off sometimes. He made a statement the other day about wanting to repeal the American Disabilities act, which is literally carved in stone in every jurisdiction of the country. He has to answer some questions. I got calls from all over the country, senior citizens, disabled people; they're saying what is this guy talking about? If you get too many rookie mistakes like that -- and he's a first time candidate -- you can really start to upset the applecart and the Tea Party brand will start to look a little bit strange.

CASTELLANOS: Is it worse to be a rookie who could make a mistake or a proven incumbent who has?

COOPER: We're going to have more with our panel in just a moment. A lot more on this primary night.

Later, new images of the BP oil leak; the company saying that they're making progress but also saying it's kind of impossible to tell about what the overall impact of this is going to be. We'll have that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Hey, we're back with our special 360 election coverage. Big primary defeat for Republican turned Democrat Arlen Specter; he lost the primary to Congressman Joe Sestak.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA: It's been a great privilege to serve the people of Pennsylvania. And it's been a great privilege to be in the United States Senate and I'll be working very, very hard for the people of the Commonwealth in the coming months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Candy Crowley joins us from Philadelphia tonight. Obviously, a very, very difficult night and a very difficult speech for him to make tonight.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": Whoa, it really was. I tell you, this room, you could have heard a pin drop. I mean -- first of all, I've never heard a shorter concession speech, I don't think, in all my years covering politics.

And second of all, he walked in and an aide came running over and asked them to dump the music. And it was almost immediately quiet. This was such a subdued room.

It was also less than half full. You couldn't help but think of that phrase (INAUDIBLE), I mean "glory is fleeting". This was the end of a 30-year career, this is a man who has been re-elected five times, albeit as a Republican to the U.S. Senate.

It's over, as of January of next year, you saw him talk. He was subdued. He choked up a couple times. He had a granddaughter and tears were streaming down her face. It's always hard. Politics on election night is always a zero-sum game. Somebody wins and somebody loses.

Go ahead. Sorry.

COOPER: Let's talk about the winner. What are Sestak's chances now against his Republican opponent, Pat Toomey?

CROWLEY: Well, it will be interesting because now you're going to have a race between two men who really aren't that much of Washington. Sestak, by the way, has been in Washington as a Congressman for four years, but he's not -- he didn't have that kind of Washington taint 30 years brought to Arlen Specter.

There are a number of people -- if you talk to the Democrats, they say Toomey is way too conservative for Pennsylvania but Pennsylvania has been known to elect some very conservative senators, Rick Santorum being one of them. He used to be a senator from Pennsylvania.

There certainly is a broad conservative and certainly socially conservative streak in Pennsylvania and Sestak really is to the left of center. It will be quite a battle, I can tell you that. And both sides can tell you right now why they're going to win. But I think neither candidate at this point has a big edge over the other.

COOPER: Candy, appreciate the reporting.

Let's go to Wolf Blitzer now with a battle that is still going to continue for a while -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Anderson thanks very much.

In Arkansas right new, in order to win this Democratic primary you have to get 50 percent of the vote plus one. And we are now projecting here at CNN that neither Blanche Lincoln, the incumbent Democrat, nor the lieutenant governor Bill Halter, who is challenging her from the left, will get to that 50 percent mark. That means there has to be a runoff between these two candidates.

Right now this other candidate, D.C. Morrison is coming in with about 14 percent of the vote with 50 percent of the precincts reporting already.

So neither is going to get 50 percent. There will be a runoff between the two top candidates. Blanche Lincoln and Bill Halter will have to wait a few more weeks, Anderson, to see who the Democratic nominee in Arkansas is going to be.

COOPER: Fascinating stuff. Paul Begala standing by; Paul, what do you make of that?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it's just the blood letting will continue in Arkansas until June 8th when that run off occurs. It's pretty striking that D.C. Morrison ran to the right of Blanche Lincoln. In other words, there was Senator Lincoln, moderate Democrat, Bill Halter lieutenant-governor on the left and then D.C. Morrison on the right. But when you're down 44 percent, 45 percent in your own party, in your own primary, when you're in a tough state anyway in a tough year, it's going to be a very difficult time for Democrats. This is, I think Dana pointed out in her reporting, she's right, anti-incumbent as much or more as it is ideological. I think my advice to incumbents is going to be don't tell people you've been working in Washington. Tell them you've been in prison or at Goldman Sachs or clubbing baby seals; something more popular than Congress.

COOPER: Or a reporter --

BEGALA: Or a reporter -- good point. Or a pundit, the lowest of all life forms.

COOPER: John King, you've been following that race closely. Does it surprise you now there's going to be a runoff?

KING: Not in the sense that you have a 3rd candidate in the race and you had Senator Lincoln at the end close very strongly. Again, we're looking at primary races tonight. We see who wins tonight and we talk about who's the best candidate in the election come November.

Arkansans are divided on this. Number 1, the Republican will likely be favored in the state of Arkansas, again, just because it's this President's first mid-term -- it's always bad for the president's party. You have near 10 percent unemployment. Only 25 percent, 28 percent of the American people think the country is heading in the right direction.

That spells bad news for the Democrats and Arkansas is a pretty red state; Barack Obama did not carry Arkansas. Most Democrats there believe Senator Lincoln is the better candidate despite the anti- incumbent just because of her political positioning in the middle. They're not terribly confident of carrying that state but they think she would be -- most of them do -- think she will be their best candidate.

But it is a fascinating one to watch. Again, she is down there saying running in a tough campaign here for incumbents saying you need to send me back, I'm the chair woman of a committee. You need to set aside your anti-incumbency and send me back because I help you.

JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR, "WINGNUTS": This race shows the difficulty the centrists are having right now especially centrist Democrats. Here she's getting challenged from the left by a candidate supported by moveon.org, she has the chamber of commerce but she can't hit 50 percent because she's getting primaried also from the right in the Democratic Party.

Now Math would indicate she's probably more likely to pick up that support on the right than Lieutenant-Governor Halter on June 8th. She's won a runoff before, important remember?

But, you know, she's this new Democrat class. A real DLC (ph) Democrat, a Bill Clinton Democrat, is having a very hard time tonight. We're getting hit from the left and the right in the Democratic primary.

COOPER: We're going to take another quick break. We're going to continue to follow late returns throughout the hour. We'll also hear from Tea Party winner Rand Paul tonight.

And a very angry U.S. congressman -- angry at this and the company BP, he's calling a serial offender on safety and the environment. We'll talk to him ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More now from Kentucky, the reason Tea Partiers there are partying tonight. National political correspondent Jessica Yellin is in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- Jessica.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson. Tonight, Rand Paul made his message clear that he plans to ride what he has called a Tea Party tidal wave into Washington D.C. and shake up that town. He is not shy about embracing the Tea Party mantle and saying that his victory tonight is attributable to that growing movement in this country.

And he's very clear. He says it's not just about changing Democratic control to Republican control but changing both parties; cutting spending and cutting the size of government. This race in this state has revealed a real divide between the insurgent Tea Party on the Republican side and the Republican establishment.

So I asked Rand Paul if tonight the Republican establishment should be worried. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Should the Republican establishment be worried tonight?

RAND PAUL, GOP PRIMARY WINNER, KENTUCKY: I mean it in a friendly way when I say, Washington, here we come. I don't mean it in a bellicose way. I think there are a lot of things -- there is a movement, though, and I think they're aware of it. I want to make the Republican Party believable as fiscal conservatives again. That's what I want. I think a lot of them want that too, they may just need a little guidance.

YELLIN: Do you think the people need to change or just the priority?

PAUL: Some of both. Some of both.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YELLIN: Now Anderson, the party does plan to unify this weekend, they're holding a unity rally is what they're calling it because they need to band together in order to win.

Rand Paul is not necessarily a shoo-in in November and the Democrats are already gearing up to sort of portray him as an extremist outside the mainstream. One ad here even portrayed him as a cuckoo next to a cuckoo clock. So expect that to be part of a very vicious campaign or a tough campaign ahead. The Republicans will need to be organized to win this -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Jessica thanks.

What does a Tea Party tidal wave look like when it hits Washington?

AVLON: Probably starts getting serious about spending. I mean that's the message. The conservative populace who formed the Tea Party movement are angry at Republicans for abandoning their commitment of fiscal responsibility under George Bush and the Congress of Tom DeLay. But they're obviously even angrier at what's been going on from the Democratic controlled Congress. That, I think, is the very clear message that runs through the heart of this.

JOHNS: And TARP is a four-letter word around this country in a lot of places. And the thing about this is, this was true really just about the time Barack Obama was being elected. People in this country have been very concerned for a long time about the spending. You sort of had the issue and then you had the Tea Party more than the other way around. A lot of people are very worried about spending.

CASTELLANOS: I think that's the best way to look at the Tea Party. There is a revolt against Washington establishment that's spending Americans fear they will never be able to pay back. The Tea Party is part of that but only part of that. The silent majority is back, concerned they have lost control of Washington.

COOPER: But what is the message to mainstream Republicans, I mean from the Tea Party? Obviously, they would like to co-op the Tea Party get them fully on board with the Republican Party.

MATALIN: This is right. The message is leading the messengers and this is a message that has deep strains in our country. It's not just Republicans, it's Americans, you can go to Ross Perot in 1992, actually taught us what the deficit was. Or you can go all the way back to McCone County (ph) in Michigan in 1979. I may be the only one who worked in those days -- don't start with me you young thing.

But this is where people were not Democrats and Republicans. They were working people who had anxiety because they were at a 21 percent misery index and we had hostages in Iran and people were uncertain, where is our country going. This feels more like that than '94 to me or '06. It feels very fundamental.

LOUIS: They will find, to answer your question -- what they will find is in very short order that, if they're not planning to filibuster every last measure that comes across the transom, they're going to have to start doing some of what Reagan was up to. There's going to be deficit spending; there are going to be deficits for the foreseeable future.

They're going to have to make some kind of accommodation, figure out how to take this very pure rhetoric that you can use on the campaign trail and adjust it to reality.

CASTELLANO: You just lost the Republican nomination over deficit spending.

LOUIS: I tried and I tried.

CASTELLANOS: I think the big question that comes out of tonight though is Barack Obama's power in November to influence these elections. He's now lost three state-wide elections for governor that he was a factor and he's lost Pennsylvania tonight.

The only Democrat who won tonight ran almost as a Republican, pro- life, pro -- saying he was pro gun. That's what we're seeing tonight, Democrats running to the center. Has Obama lost his ability to unite the Democratic Party? He took those Hillary Democrats and united them because everybody hated George Bush. George Bush is now gone. He now has a fractured Democratic party.

AVLON: I think you're going to see people running against Democratic- controlled Congress and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid much more so than Barack Obama. Barack Obama's popularity levels are down from where they were but they're still more than double what Congress is at. And I think that's the locus of the anger.

MATALIN: But here's what they're not doing. His initial strategy was "my personal popularity is going to sell these stinky policies". That's not happening. They don't dislike him as much as they do Pelosi and Reid, that's true. But they might now have Reid to kick around.

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: As long as Obama's pushing them and has Pelosi in Congress -- as long as he's pushing spending without check, do you want to have a brake pedal on the car. He's going to be president for two more years, do you want to give him blank check or is there some check and balance?

COOPER: Paul Begala, do you see Republicans running against President Obama or do you see them running against Nancy Pelosi?

BEGALA: Well, they tried -- that's the thing. They tried today. Tim Burns ran ads that showed a 50 foot cartoon of Nancy Pelosi and ran against Obama and Obama's health care plan and Alex twice has fundamentally misled our viewers what that race was about.

Mark Critz ran attacking the Republican for guess what -- cutting spending. He attacked him for being against Medicare. He attacked him for wanting to privatize social security. He attacked on the very sorts of issues that Democrats generally win on. I think Republicans ought to celebrate because a Republican won a Republican primary in Kentucky, sort of a Republican, really kind of libertarian.

But the only race in America today that where a Democrat was on the ballot against a Republican, where Barack Obama was being attacked without effect where Nancy Pelosi was being attacked without effect was in Pennsylvania, in the 12th Congressional district, in a district that Barack Obama lost when he was popular in '08, in a landslide election in '08. He still lost that district -- COOPER: Are you saying you're happy tonight, Paul, with what you're seeing out there?

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Very. Absolutely, yes. No, seriously, Anderson. I've been hammering the Democrats tonight. I've been hammering President Obama, this and that. Yes, the one place party primaries matter but they define the party; they don't define the country. The one place in America, a conservative district in which a Democrat ran against a Republican the Democrat won and he won pretty big, won on social security, he won on Medicare, he won on those kind of great Democratic issues.

CASTELLANOS: Paul --

COOPER: We have to take a break. Alex I want you to be able to respond.

CASTELLANOS: Real quick, if I told you that a candidate won tonight who said he was pro gun and pro-life and would have voted against Obama-care, would it be a Republican or a Democrat --

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: -- excuse me, Paul, that's what a Democrat had to do to win, he had to reject Obama-care. That was his last and closing message.

BEGALA: It's not true, Alex, I've seen the ad. He said two things. He said, "Yes, I'm not the typical Democrat," because he's in Pennsylvania.

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: Now, we're getting closer.

BEGALA: No, Excuse me, sir, for talking while you're interrupting. He also said, the Republican wants to privatize social security, the Republican wants to put Medicare in the vouchers and the insurance companies run the Medicare program. That's what croaked the Republican. That's how the Democrats win.

(CROSSTALK)

CASTELLANOS: If you dissemble about the Republican intentions and run to the right.

BEHAR: Wait -- did the Republicans not want to privatize social security? Did Bush not propose that? Does Tim Ryan, the ranking Republican in the budget committee not now propose that? The Republicans want to make Medicare a voucher system? Yes, they do. It's in their budget proposal.

CASTELLANOS: It would be better than robbing it blind which the Democratic Congress has already done. (CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: We just tried it out in a conservative district and the Democrat whipped the Republican. So it's good night, honestly, for Barack Obama. It's a good night for Democrats because the only place it really mattered, the Democrat beat a Republican. You can't say that a Republican beat a Democrat anywhere in America tonight.

COOPER: Mary Matalin is both shaking her head and rolling her eyes. We'll talk to her about that when we come back.

Much more on this primary night ahead.

Also later, kids and race; a fascinating research showing how kids see skin color, even the 5-year-old kids. It's kind of an eye opening stuff when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We have more breaking news coming up, coverage of tonight's crucial primaries. But first Brianna Keilar joins us with a "360 Bulletin -- Brianna".

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the senate today slammed the National Counter-Terrorism Center for intelligence flaws in the failed Christmas day airline bombing. The Senate intelligence committee criticized the center for allowing the so-called "Underwear Bomber" to board that Detroit flight with explosives saying it, quote, "failed to carry out its basic missions".

Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad made his first appearance in a Manhattan federal court today invoking his right for legal representation. This after 15 days of questioning in which prosecutors say Faisal has provided valuable intelligence. Shahzad did not enter a plea.

And in New York, a suspected Somali pirate pleaded guilty today to charges that he hijacked a U.S. flag ship and kidnapped its captain. He is facing a minimum of 27 years in prison. The ship was attacked in the Indian Ocean last year -- Anderson.

COOPER: Brianna thanks very much. Prosecutors say that pirate was the ringleader in the kidnapping of the Maersk Alabama captain, Richard Phillips, the American who was, as you remember, held in a lifeboat for nearly four days and then rescued by Navy Seals. He wrote a book about it recently.

But many of the captain's former crew members, 16 of the 19, now say that Phillips led the Alabama into harm's way ignoring a series of e- mail warnings to sail away from the shipping lanes where the pirates were known to operate. And they say that he did not exchange himself for the safety of his crew.

Next week, Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit brings us an exclusive report on these explosive new allegations. Tonight, a preview as he goes one-on-one with the Alabama chief engineer Mike Perry and with Captain Phillips.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PERRY, MAERSK ALABAMA, CHIEF ENGINEER: We vowed we were going to take it to our grave, we weren't going to say anything, then we hear this PR stuff coming out about him giving himself up. He's still a hostage. The whole crew is like, what? Everybody's in shock.

DREW GRIFFIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: To a man, those we talked to feel very slighted by you, sir.

CAPT. RICHARD PHILLIPS, MAERSK ALABAMA: Well, there's not much I can say. I agree with them. The media made everything out to be me, but that's the media. When I came home, I really didn't go and put myself in front of the media. A lot of my crew did. I didn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: We'll have more of that next week on the program.

More of tonight's election results ahead. Also the oil spill and what the chief executive of BP has to say about it now. A lot of folks saying he sounds like a politician talking, well, out of both sides of his mouth. You can judge for yourself tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: More election results coming up.

And more of what kids today think about race, the startling results of our pilot study.

But first, "Keeping Them Honest": the latest on the massive oil spills in the Gulf and new claims by BP that are well, kind of surprising. This is one of the newest photos of the spill and it shows how the oil is coming ashore in Louisiana -- bands of it flowing to the marsh lands. The photo was released by the state just today.

BP today is saying that they are now able to collect about 2,000 barrels of oil a day from the oil that's gushing out into the Gulf. They've been using the estimate that 5,000 barrels of oil a day are gushing into the Gulf, so today they're saying basically they're collecting about two-fifths of the oil that's now coming out of that pipe.

Here's the problem. No one knows how much oil is really gushing out. Independent experts who've analyzed the video of the leak were on the program last week saying it could be as much as 70,000 barrels day. And BP by their own admission says they're not looking to find out how much is leaking. That's not what they're focusing their energies on. So, all these new reports today claiming that they're capturing two- fifths of the oil are unreliable.

Then there's the latest comment from the guy in charge of BP, the chief executive. Here's what he told Sky News. He says, quote, "I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest. It is impossible to say and we will mount, as part of the aftermath, a very detailed environmental assessment as we go forward, we're going to do that with some of the science institutions in the U.S. But everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact will be very, very modest."

All right. He says, it's very, very modest in one breath, the next second he's saying it's impossible to say.

On the House floor today, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez urging BP be forever banned from future oil drill leases from the government. Representative Gutierrez -- I talked to him earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Congressman Gutierrez, I want to ask you. The CEO of BP said today to Sky News that the environmental impact of this is going to be very, very modest. And in the next sentence he said though, of course, impossible to know. What do you make of this guy? Do you believe anything they say?

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: I don't.

They continue to show a complete disregard for safety and environment. And it's time we go, as I asked for in my letter and I'm going to encourage other of my colleagues to join me, to inspect every last place that they're drilling and exploring today.

COOPER: Are you for banning all offshore oil drilling?

GUTIERREZ: I think we need to seriously consider stopping it. This company makes $62 million a day every day of the year y they don't take a day off for Christmas or for thanksgiving; everyday.

And so what have we done? We fine them $200 million; they don't care. That's two or three days worth of profits and we're going to continue to give them the leases so they can do the exploration so then can turn around and show such a disregard for our environment and safety? Not once, Anderson; not twice; three, four, five times.

It's time that we said, doesn't matter who you hire, what powerful influential lobbyists, and how many millions of dollars you pay them. The American people will not tolerate continuing to allow you to explore and to drill when we're giving you the leases.

COOPER: The other thing I don't understand is that BP yesterday was saying, "Well, we're now sucking up 1,000 barrels of oil a day through this rig that we've -- we've set up." Today, they're saying, "Ok, now we're up to 2,000 barrels of oil a day." And it's being reported that that means that two-fifths of the oil that's leaking is being sucked up.

But by BP's own admission, they have no idea how much oil is being sucked up. Independent experts have said it could be as much as 70,000 barrels a day are actually leaking out of this thing. So 2,000 barrels might actually just be a tiny little drop in the bucket. And BP has publicly said they're not interested in trying to find out how much oil is leaking right now. Does that make sense to you?

GUTIERREZ: I think it's outrageous that they will not tell us and confirm from a scientific point of view just what the damage is. People died on that rig. Sometimes we forget. People died. They died in Texas, and we're going allow them to continue to have a license to kill? I think it's time to begin a grand jury and impanel one.

COOPER: They're saying in their statement that we had on the air last night. I mean, they're essentially saying, "Look, we're focused on cleaning this up. You know, there's -- it's going to take away from the response effort if we're busy looking at how much oil is being leaked out."

That doesn't -- that just does not make sense. I mean, they could hire independent scientists. They have enough money. They could hire independent scientists.

It's not as if -- it's like, you know, it's like during Katrina when people -- politicians said, "Look, now is not the time to point fingers." You know, you can point fingers and clean up at the same time.

GUTIERREZ: Absolutely. Look, every day their profits are $62 million a day. Let's remember that. How much could it possibly cost them so that they will know? How do you plan for the future? How do you take -- how do you plan contingencies for the damage if you do not know what is going on today?

Listen, Anderson, you can't believe them. You couldn't believe them in Texas. You couldn't believe them in Ohio. You couldn't believe them in Alaska. You can't believe them today. They have absolutely no credibility.

COOPER: Congressman Gutierrez, appreciate your time tonight.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, we've been inviting BP to come on the program for a bunch of nights now. They've always declined. We did hear from them this evening. They told us they'll be able to speak with one of their executives tomorrow. We look forward to that on the program.

The big primary defeat for Arlen Specter, a huge victory for the Tea Party, the latest in the results and what it means for the Obama administration and for the country ahead.

Plus, how kids, African-American and white, see race, see skin color. What they told researchers about skin color in an eye-opening pilot study. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We all like to think that kids are color-blind; that a little child doesn't see race or have perceptions about skin color. But all this week, we are revealing the results of a carefully designed pilot study conducted by researchers on behalf of 360.

Last night, we showed you some of the results, and they suggest that white kids have a high rate of what researchers call white bias, preferring white skin and attributing negative attributes to darker skin. However, African-American kids also responded with white bias but to a much smaller degree. We showed one African-American parent's reaction to her son's test.

Tonight we want you so see a white parent's reaction.

Soledad O'Brien and I sat down with Po Bronson, author of "NurtureShock" and Angela Burt-Murray, who's editor-in-chief of "Essence" magazine, to dig deeper.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot of parents watching our report no doubt wondered how their child would respond. Soledad and I each spoke to a panel of parents about their child's tests. And we want to play you some clips.

Let's take a look at one mom's reaction to her son's test that I spoke with.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Let's look at Laura Andrew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the dumb child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's really black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the nice child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the nice child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's the whitest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the mean child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Why is he the mean child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's darker than these.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the good child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the good child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's white.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the bad child.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the bad child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's really dark.

COOPER: I saw you shaking your head.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's disappointing. I should be disappointed. I mean, it makes me think I need to be doing a better job at home. I need to teach him -- you know, it's really -- it's upsetting.

I spent 15 years as a teacher trying to teach first graders about all different societies and cultures and races, and then here's my own child. His finger went so quick to the white side, it's fascinating.

COOPER: It surprised you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And we're definitely -- we don't live in a diverse community. So I think he's, you know, very comfortable with children of his own color. That's basically what he's known his whole life. So I just, you know, want to do more, talk about it more openly, definitely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: You gasped when the child first pointed to the dark-skinned child.

ANGELA BURT-MURRAY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "ESSENCE" MAGAZINE: I did. I did. I was really surprised. You know, it's -- you could see the anguish on his mother's face when she saw that her child had made that distinction.

But I think that, you know, it's a clear example of -- while she's never chosen to talk about race, he has clearly internalized some messages that he's gotten through society that indicate that darker skinned children are perhaps not as smart or not as honorable, you know, things like that, those insidious messages that are woven into the fabric of this country.

COOPER: Po, our research found that white kids had a fairly high rate of what researchers called white bias. And you say that's not white kids being taught racism. If it's not that, what is it?

PO BRONSON, AUTHOR, "NURTURESHOCK": Clearly, this is the mom who has not talked to her child about race and skin color. She didn't know if he saw race and skin color or she would know if she taught it to him.

What's going on is essentialism.

COOPER: Essentialism?

BRONSON: Young kids are prone to -- essentialism -- young kids are prone to categorizing the world. And they make a categorical error all the time, which is they assume those who look like them share the same traits that they have. They'll like the same things that they like. And kids use skin color, along with gender and height and shirt color and all the things that are plainly visible, to make these attribution errors.

And what -- the result is that kids, they're not necessarily taught race-based preferences. It's in the absence of messages of tolerance that they will naturally, developmentally be prone to essentialism and develop these skin preferences.

BURT-MURRAY: I think it also goes back to what the mother said about they don't live in a very diverse community. So he's not seeing people that look -- that maybe look a little bit different than he does in his school, in his church, living next door, playing Little League with him. So he has no other influences than the negative stereotypes that he's unconsciously absorbing.

I have no doubt that this mother is a good mother and that she, you know, considers people to all be equal. She's an educator, and she believes that. But her child is internalizing messages that she has to learn how to get a handle on and control.

COOPER: So Po, for a parent watching this, what is the -- what is the message? Talk to your child about race?

BRONSON: From the earliest ages, especially amongst white parents. Imagine how they read a picture book to their 6-month-old, to their 9- month-old. They have that picture book open, and they're saying, "Oh, look, the balloon is red. And look, her shoes are blue." And then -- yet there's one of the child has brownish skin, and one of the child has whitish, pinkish skin, and they completely ignore it. They're missing opportunities to talk about it but more than that, they're passing on a taboo that this is unmentionable and unspeakable.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But another thing I think people have to do, your kids follow what you do. I have never really realized that until I had children. You can talk and talk, but if you do not actually have a wide circle of friends, if you say one thing and preach diversity, and, "Oh, we believe this and we do that," but our circle of friends is this. And we use these kinds of words at home, but we tell you not to, guess what they're going to do? They're going to copy exactly what you do and ignore everything you say.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll have more on this pilot study tomorrow night on 360.

A recap of the election results coming up in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A big night in politics: a long-time senator out, another senator facing a run-off, a Tea Party first timer winning big and a Democrat beating a Republican in a Congressional race that could be a sign of things to come in November, if you listen to Paul Begala.

Wolf Blitzer has got a quick wrap-up -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": All right. Anderson. Thanks very much. Let's start off in Arkansas right now. The two top candidates are going to have to face a June 8th run-off, Blanche Lincoln and Bill Halter; neither got the 50 percent plus one.

It's very, very close, 43 percent for each, slightly ahead for Blanche Lincoln with 60 percent of the precincts in. But that's still not enough. They needed 50 percent. There will be a June 8 runoff.

In Pennsylvania, after 30 years in the United States Senate, Arlen Specter loses his bid as a Democrat. Joe Sestak, the Democratic Congressman captures that Democratic nomination. He'll face Pat Toomey, the Republican in November.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul wallops Trey Grayson, the Kentucky secretary of state, 59 percent to 35 percent. Rand Paul, the Tea Party favorite, the son of Ron Paul, the Republican Congressman from Texas.

All in all, it's going to be lively in the coming weeks and months -- Anderson.

No doubt about that. Let's quickly get a read from our panelists.

Joe Johns -- what do you people make of tonight?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have been trying to keep up with it. I think the thing that hits me is the poll race is all about intensity, at least on the Republican side. Lincoln is about moderates being squeezed, and I think there's some of that also happening in the Specter race as well.

COOPER: Mary Matalin.

MATALIN: It's part of the trajectory that we've been seeing for the last year and it's going to take us into the fall. And I would like to say to all of the viewers that Paul Begala does not know Pamela Anderson.

CASTELLANOS: Only wishes.

COOPER: Paul Begala.

BEGALA: Well, actually, I did have dinner with her one time when she was in town with a big group of people.

The news here is if you look at the geographical (INAUDIBLE) screen, it says Tea Party candidate wins in Kentucky and yes, he did. And that's impressive, congratulations to Dr. Rand Paul, but the Tea Party candidate in the general election in Pennsylvania lost.

Tim Burns (ph) was a Tea Party candidate. He spoke at the Tea Party rallies; he was endorsed by Sarah Palin. Scott Brown, a Tea Party favorite came and campaigned for him. Tea Party candidate lost a couple of months ago in New York.

I think there may be less here than meets the eye with the Tea Party. So far they're 0 for 2 in very conservative districts. COOPER: John King.

KING: The Democrats should be happy tonight. They held on to that Pennsylvania 12th District because Republicans need seats like that if it's going to be a big wave. Still a Republican year, but they need to win seats like that if it's going to be a huge wave.

And as we wonder what's next for the Tea Party, here's one race to keep your eye on, John McCain's primary out in Arizona.

COOPER: Alex.

CASTELLANOS: Congressman Marion Barry was scared a few months ago this was going to be like 1994 for the Democrats where they lose a lot of seats. President Obama reassured him and says no, this is different. This year you've got me.

Well, the Democrats do have him, and they've lost in Virginia, in Massachusetts, and now in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

COOPER: Ten seconds left, Errol.

LOUIS: Unlike the Tea Party which has a lot of marketing around it, you've got challenges to the Democrats on the left. They succeeded tonight. That Sestak win is a big, big deal; and I think we're going to see more like it.

COOPER: John.

AVLON: Joe Sestak summed it up. It's the people versus the establishment tonight. That's the story of the night.

COOPER: I want to thank all our panelists.

Thanks for watching. More 360 tomorrow.

Time now for "LARRY KING LIVE".